Travel Writing

Important news! An early draft of my new book, European Odyssey, is online for your perusal and commentary. I'd love to get any feedback, so feel free to let me know what you think. There are about 92k words, and I'm in the process of putting photos on it too, since what could be better than an online book about a family traveling around Europe that shows you the goods?

Travel writing is something I've been getting into more and more recently, both in terms of reading and doing. I've become more interested in writing about somewhere I've been than in something I've done in web development.

Why? Well, I've managed to do a small amount of travel over the last 20 years and feel that for the amount that I read it's worth trying to write something myself given the interesting raw material I've accumulated. And because my grandmother always insisted that I'd be a writer, and I didn't want to let her down. To that end I've been stocking up on travel literature - books by the likes of Patrick Leigh Fermor, Tim Cahill, Eric Newby, etc.


Pura Jati, Danau Batur, Bali

One thing you find out when you start to read travel writing is that good travel writing is just good writing. In fact, I'd go further and say that many books that you wouldn't on the face of it consider 'travel literature', like Mezzofanti's Gift or Moonwalking with Einstein, popular science-type of books, incorporate elements of travel writing. The writer sets off on a quest overseas to meet the subject of his enquiry, and gives us an on-the-ground report of what it's like to be in India, or the countryside of England, etc., in a way that would have been unnecessary a few years ago, not to mention ruinously expensive. Cheap flights is the reason, I imagine. You see the same thing with TV documentaries where the presenter will jet off around the world to interview someone when a few years earlier they would have made do without all the travel.

If there was no other reason to do it, travel writing is worth doing for the simple fact that you get great pleasure in writing about your trips. In writing about them you relive them. Now I'm back home and leaving the house at 7:45 in the morning for work everyday, spending an hour in the evening writing about our recent time in Greece isn't a bad way to end the day. I recommend it even if you're never going to show your writing anywhere, though of course you should. To write about Santorini I fire up Wikipedia to get the names of the places right, then I might pick out a Flickr photo, and I'm right back in there again, reliving the memories of a sundowner at the Oia windmill café, joining in the applause as the sun sets in the Aegean.


McPherson Range, Lost World Valley, QLD.

So if, like me, you want to slowly insinuate yourself into society as a travel writer, where do you publish your articles? Obviously, some sort of print publication would be nice. I wrote my first (free, of course) piece for the (sadly now defunct - I hope it wasn't anything I wrote) Irish Queenslander, which appeared in the Feb/March 2014 edition, but that's been it so far, at least as print is concerned. Anyway, here are a couple of articles I've written recently that are in the 'travel writing' vein:
Tina and I have our own travel blog called Koukla House where we write about driving along the Danube, seeing all the Mayan ruins in the Mexico's Yucatan peninsula, New Year's in Seville, and, most recently, our big New Year's road trip to Sydney.

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