October 2009 Issue
Everyone dreams of seeing the world, but few can claim they’ve been on a whirlwind tour of Australia, Asia and Africa. After visiting 52 zoos in 52 weeks, Marla Taviano is entitled to do just that.
An avid blogger who’s also penned four books tackling subjects ranging from marriage to new motherhood, the Columbus resident decided she wanted to write something that everyone –– no matter what age or stage of life they’re in –– would enjoy reading. An animal lover who likes nothing better than spending a day at the Columbus Zoo, Taviano decided she wanted to get a glimpse of animals residing in the next best thing to their natural habitats –– in zoos from New York to Dallas to San Diego.
With her husband, Gabe, a professional photographer and Web designer, and children Olivia, 8, Ava, 7, and Nina, 3, in tow, Taviano set forth in the family minivan.
“It was,” she says humbly, “a huge leap of faith.”
Taviano’s original idea was to get a book advance before leaving on the trip so the bills back home would be paid, and the family could stay in motels along the way.
“By the time we reached zoo No. 11, we found out there would be no book advance,” she explains.
But things do have a way of working out.
While on the trip, Taviano updated her blog and Facebook daily, sharing her experiences. When they found out the funds were running low, many of her readers stepped forward to lend a hand: 31 families across the United States welcomed the Tavianos into their homes for the night.
“With their help, I accomplished my dream,” she says, about her book, which is scheduled for publication next year.