As I toil enthusiastically towards the end of this most curious of adventures, I’ve begun to allow myself the odd brush stroke of possibility, across the canvass that awaits me on the other side. Epic dis-ease + grateful survival = priceless opportunity to examine, reinvent and marry life, with purpose and passion.
Travel and writing might – and I do stress might – represent such a marriage.
So I’ve been pondering the art of Travel Writing. Or to be more ‘now’, Travel Content Curation. Gathering clues on what makes a ‘good’ Travel Writer, or perhaps more accurately, ‘good’ Travel Writing.
Like all the arts, (reading) writing is hugely subjective. What inflames one may dampen another. What tightly grips me may not even touch the sides of you. And so on and so on… But when it comes to travel, I believe it’s very nature supports the argument for a more objective set of do’s and don’ts when recounting tales of far-flung adventures.
Here’s an opening quartet:
1. Do observe and embellish the entire Journey.
Don’t just accurately detail the Destination. The latter is corporate copywriting. The former, far more intimate and individual, and as such, engaging and useful.
2. Do inflame our imaginations.
Don’t just write what it says on the Arrivals screen. Travel has and always will be one of our most poetic and exciting human indulgences. Tap into our innate nomadic tendencies, challenge our perceptions, inspire us to embrace the experience; book, pack and head off into the wilderness of the ‘unhome.’
3. Do make us smile, laugh even.
Don’t be corporate. As a wise man once said, “beware the humourless, for they seek only solutions on the level of coercion”. When we laugh our spirits rise, and along with them our scope for inspiration and thirst for adventure.
4. Do write from principles of Power.
Don’t deploy those of Force. By way example; support us to ‘choose’ to, rather than instruct us to ‘have’ to; be authoritative, but never dogmatic; know the difference between educating and persuading, holistic and analytical; and always err on the side of honesty, impartiality, inspiration, inventiveness, modesty, responsibility, and truthfulness.
Good Travel Writing, as I read it, is a simultaneous confluence of intimate, passionate cultural observation, and clever, factual detailing. Writing that picks us up by our bootstraps, inspires and stimulates us; triggers our own innate sense of adventure and reminds us how much we need to appreciate, respect and love this impossibly random and magnificent planet we have been given, to explore.
Peace and calm