Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Does travel writing style rule over travel writing substance? Check these out

As a follow up to my previous post Travelling without a safety net, I really wanted to talk about the online and offline writing that informs and inspires this travel sandwagon.

It's quality travel ponderings that are wonderfully written and illustrated, rather than bandwagon factual content, that gets me excited. Endless lists of predictable restaurant reviews are surplus to requirements when you trust your eyes, ears and instincts to lead you around a new destination.

And as for the important details, including police station addresses, transport hubs and opening hours, I still trust the traditional travel publishers to get it right. A copy of a guidebook or a quick surf on Lonely Planet gives me instant information gratification. If that fails then I'm happy to head to the tourist information office once I'm in situ. Does anyone actually believe that ploughing through 1001 user generated comments on Milan's dialing code is good use of their pre-travel research time? It's worth accepting that sometimes travel information can come as easily as trusting a paid travel writer.

So, on with the Sandwagon travel writing roll of honour. Check out these sources of travel inspiration:

Online inspiration

My Marrakesh {a place for lifestyle and design} and the bemused tales of an American family's quest to build a guest house in Marrakesh.

Road Junky ... written to make you think, laugh and get a rough feel for a country. For the inspired, independent traveler. The person who can just get up and go. The person who is moved by what he/she sees. The dreamers.

Itchy Feet Magazine an online travel magazine published six times a year, committed to sharing travel tales and experiences from all over the globe.

Miss Expatria 'The Internet’s leading enabler of travel addiction,' comes to you from the other side of her dreams, and she is telling you it is worth it.

A Good Man in India An honestly written, insightful Travelogue.

Fully Booked Events with an edge in New York. Parties, press events, launches, shopping events. For those who are not invited...get invited for free.

Best in print


Le Cool Changed My Life Guidebooks Hardback beauties, refreshingly free of generic guidebook pagination. In their own words, 'LE COOL works with local editors, writers, photographers, illustrators and designers to create unique books that truly reflect the experience of each city.' Just brilliant.

H.V. Morton's classic journeys Respect to Methuen for re-releasing these travel gems. Morton introduced me to a new age of travel - a bygone age. Trust me; wandering cities with an appreciation of the past is far more rewarding than clinging to your internet connection and reading another inarticulate, subjective s user generated review.

Do you agree that travel writing style does rule over substance?

This post is all about inspiration, not information - so which sites, books and magazines inspire your travels?

4 comments:

Ben Colclough said...

Don't know if it counts, but Songlines by Bruce Chatwin is far and away the most inspiring piece of travel writing I have ever read (and in my humble opinion far superior to In Patagonia).
Not only does it give you an extreme case of itchy feet, but it also shares a wonderful insight into the aboriginal culture. I learnt far more from reading this than I did spending over a year and a half in the country on two separate occasions. Boy did it make me regret climbing Uluru.....

Wayne's Mom said...

How about Black Lamb and Grey Falcon, Rebecca West's historic classic about her travels in Yugoslavia in the 1930s?

Heather Hapeta said...

Great site which I've just found! I so agree about substance being better than infomation. That's why I read travel writers not travel guides!

For a book that doesn't tell you where to stay or eat etc check out Naked in Budapest: travels with a passionate nomad (by me, Heather Hapeta)http://kiwitravelwriter.com

sonja said...

That's exactly how I feel, Sandwagon! Though I admit I'm sometimes guilty of resorting to simple facts on my blog, just to submit a post for the day.