Once upon a time...

Audrey set off on 15th June this year with an emotional farewell. She was about to embark on an unpredictable journey fraught with danger. Her safety left in the hands of complete strangers.

I’d absolutely no idea where she was headed or who would take care of her. Whether she could survive a single night alone. An overwhelming sense of trepidation seemed befitting of what Audrey was putting on the line.

I took comfort from a faint whisper of intuition that tickled my heart - reassuring me she would be okay… ‘I would hear from her sooner or later’. The softly spoken voice channelled some sound logic. Audrey’s smart - streetwise. Left to her own devices she loves to roam. And she feeds off genuine connection.

They seem to me like an ideal set of components for a solo traveller.

I should explain. Audrey is a ‘phone’. With a difference. Well several actually. In fact, it’s rather a disservice to call her that. Your brain downloads a bunch of stereotypes.

A ‘phone book’ is perhaps a more apt description. Literally. But even then I’m not quite sure it conjures up the right mental model. So here’s a real one!

Audrey’s handset has just one button you can press. A single feature. One number to call. But boy is that one button special… If you press it, a real human being (that’s me!) answers and reads you a short story. Anyone who serendipitously stumbles across Audrey can press the button. Enjoy a short story. And then set her free, anywhere, to wander and enjoy another chance encounter.

Is this beginning to make any sense?

Why read stories to people you’ve never met?

Well, something magical takes place when one stranger reads to another. They share a fleeting yet profound moment of humanity. A genuine emotional connection. It’s a beautiful interruption of the daily routine. Plus it sparks some surprisingly wholesome conversations.

On 18th March Audrey was left all by herself in a Tesco’s supermarket trolley - aisle No. 7 to be precise – between the Weetabix and McDougall’s self-raising flour.

That’s it. That’s the premise ;) Audrey comes with no fixed plans. Only unlimited possibilities.

What would happen to Audrey? Who would take care of her? Where would she go? Would anyone press the button?

Well, here’s where you’ll find out. This diary charts Audrey’s big adventure. The challenges, the mishaps, the unforgettable moments along the way. We celebrate the whole journey. We count the miles and the friendships. The chance encounters. The faraway places she visits. The stories of the strangers she talks to. And of course the stories they read together.

Happy reading!

You can follow Audrey’s adventure on twitter @readwithaudrey

Guava
June 16, 2019

If you were to be reincarnated as a nonhuman, what would your best option look like? It’s 10:45 in the evening and I’ve just asked Juan, who I only meet 10 minutes ago, ‘if you were to be reincarnated as a nonhuman, what would your best option look like?' Juan is thinking. I like silences. They have a sound. 'He who does not understand your silence will probably not understand your words…

The Race of the Patient Motorcyclists
June 15, 2019

Audrey's journey gets under way - the first call. After only a couple of hours I received my first call. It was Jenny. She’d decided to pick up the Audrey phone in the supermarket. Having just completed her Tesco weekly shop, she was now sitting in her car in the car park making the call. Pressing the ‘Read me a Story’ button. I was a little caught out because I was cycling home from work on my…