I’ve never been on a real adventure. Sure, I’ve done some risky things, been on some ‘left-field’ trips, but most of my real journeys have been on a page. It’s time to change that.
I’m Ivan. I’m an author, podcaster and teacher residing in London, and my latest book, ‘The Floor is Lava’, a collection of 100 games that bring people together, comes out in America on May 28th. To celebrate the event, my fiancee Amy and I plan to rent out our house, find a temporary home for our cat and cycle the entire breadth of the USA, coast to coast, playing games with everyone we meet.
The idea emerged towards the end of a week spent cycling around The Netherlands. After over 300 miles of dunes, dijks and perfect cycle paths, we were left with one overriding sensation: the trip had been gruelling, yes, and tedious at times, and tiring, and windy. God, was it windy. But more than any other adjective, our trip had been...playful.
We’d played memory games as we rode the long miles up the wrong side of the north sea, told stories over good cheese and terrible isotonic drinks, made up puzzles beneath lazy, creaking windmills. We’d played with our route, finding the shortest path, the flattest path, avoiding wind, heading for villages with stupid names. We’d shared games with the people we met, our hosts, our new friends; play emerging as a more crucial currency than the euros in our pocket. In fact, thanks to various online cycling networks and favours from friends, we spent next to no real money over the entire week. We dealt in play, mainly. Play and sweat.
We did go home, of course, despite the urge to not return. My book had its UK release only two weeks later and the months that followed were a mad flurry of promotion. The riptide of real life had dragged us back under, but that persistent tug made us emerge for air every so often. We couldn’t forget it. Our saddle sores were itching.
Since that point, I began to hone my craft for what would be the ultimate plan. I started a podcast, bringing the games on the page to life by playing them with interesting and talented people. At this point, it has over 20,000 total downloads. I’ve also recently released my first YouTube videos, playing games with total strangers on the street. However, all of these are in preparation for what is to come…
So here’s the plan. In June 2019 we will fly to New York, our beloved bikes in cargo. From there we’ll follow a handpicked hybrid of various cycling trails that will lead us, eventually, across to the Pacific Coast, in Oregon. Then we’ll cycle south, ending in Los Angeles, to finish our journey before the end of the year. Our aim will be to meet as many people as we can, and play. Our mission is to share our games and learn new ones, to give folk a reason to get off their phones, to connect with the people we meet. We’ll collect our experiences into regular videos, podcasts and blogs, the last of which I will mould into a book after the whole trip is over. We’ll also have the support of my American publisher, Gallery Books (Simon and Schuster), in arranging book events along the way, but we’ll need your help too. We need your recommendations for ‘playful’ situations to drop ourselves in, we’re looking for hosts to stay with along the way and we’re also seeking sponsors for equipment and provisions, all of which we’ll promote on our videos and podcasts. If you think you can help with any of the above, please get in touch via the contact page on this website, or on Twitter. We’d be so grateful!
We want to bring YOU: our family and friends, the readers of my books, and the general public, along on the trip with us via audio, video and the written word, spreading the message of The Floor is Lava to the USA and playing games wherever we go. So here’s my offer: join us. Subscribe to my new YouTube channel, subscribe to my podcast, follow me on Twitter and Instagram and finally bookmark ivanbrett.com for all the latest updates. (The links will open in new tabs. Do all five and tell me in the comments below and I’ll write you a limerick.) The whole adventure begins in May, and you’re invited on every pedal of the journey. Are you ready?