The lowdown on the latest and greatest in travel literature from National Geographic Traveler’s #TripLit guru, Don George.
There are more ways than ever to make money writing about travel—from writing for third-party outlets (publications, websites) to working with travel-related companies such as luggage and clothing manufacturers, hotels, airlines, and tourism boards. The issue this ever-broadening spectrum has raised for me is a thorny one that has been around for a long time in one guise or another, but that seems even more central now. Namely: Who controls the content?
The taxi driver hoisted my suitcase on his shoulder, stepped gingerly around the puddles and slopped through the mud on the earthen path to my homestay family’s stilt house. He had just driven me three and a half hours north of Siem Reap, into the bucolic rice-fields-and-palm-trees wilds of northern Cambodia, a half hour from the Thai border.
It’s one thing to stand in a place where a historic event transpired a thousand years ago. It’s entirely different to stand in a spot where history was made during your own lifetime. This lesson resonated for me recently on a mind-expanding trip to Berlin.
When summer arrives, I think of road trips. This is partly because the summer road trip is one of those life-defining rites of passage, at least for Americans, and partly because it’s the season in which my most memorable road trips have taken place. But the journey that comes back to me most poignantly each time the weather turns warm is a road trip I made though France the summer after I graduated from college.
Food and travel go together like, well, forks and knives. If you love good #TripLit as much as you enjoy good food, here are five delectable reads from around the world to add to your list.
They say you can’t go home again, but after a recent trip to Connecticut, I’ve concluded that it’s not that simple.
It’s the end of a glorious two-week immersion in Old Japan. When I arrived, Kyoto seemed to have erupted overnight into a sea of brilliant blossoms, fluffy pink clouds massing over canals and rivers. On my first night I wandered in a jet-lagged haze through the Higashiyama-Gion neighborhood that I love, all closet-sized shops, tiny winding lanes, and timeless temples and shrines. Lost in the hushed, lantern-lit passageways, I wasn’t sure what century I’d landed in.
Those of us who follow the way of wanderlust are wild romantics. When we encounter the pheromone of the unfamiliar, we feel, see, touch, taste, and smell more keenly. Our minds are on high alert, noticing and processing everything–from the geometry of cobbled paths and thatched roofs to the tones of stray dogs and wild birds to the smell of new flowers and old dust. We fall in love with the world.
Last fall I attended the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival on the Indonesian island of Bali. I had fallen in love with the artful atmosphere and fervent grace of Ubud at the same festival the year before, so I had arrived in the city full of expectations. Yet on my first day there, as I walked down the main street, I found my senses pummeled by a noxious non-stop stream of cars and motorbikes, exhaust fumes, chaos, and noise. Had that other Ubud been just a dream?
Crafting a travel story that truly succeeds rests on four pillars of engagement: with your subject, with yourself, with your audience, and with your writing. How do I go about trying to achieve this? I think the best way to explicate that is to trace my own journey when I work on a story: before, during, and after the trip. Here’s Part III: Re-Creating the Stepping Stones of Your Journey.
Crafting a travel story that truly succeeds rests on four pillars of engagement: with your subject, with yourself, with your audience, and with your writing. How do I go about trying to achieve this? I think the best way to explicate that is to trace my own journey when I work on a story: before, during, and after the trip. Here’s Part II: Finding and Focusing Your Story on the Road.
Crafting a travel story that truly succeeds rests on four pillars of engagement: with your subject, with yourself, with your audience, and with your writing. How do I go about trying to achieve this? I think the best way to explicate that is to trace my own journey when I work on a story: before, during, and after the trip. Here’s Part I: Plotting Your Story Before You Go.
Forgo the generic gift card this holiday season and wrap up a new travel-inspiring book instead with these five #TripLit recommendations from Don George.
Last month Don George had the opportunity to participate for the second year in a row in the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival on the Indonesian island of Bali. Here’s his account of the experience.
In many cultures, doors to the underworld creak open in October, so it’d be criminal not to sink your teeth right now into these transporting thrillers.
While I’ve met a few modern-day nomads in my travels, most of us can’t be on the road all the time. So how can we keep our wanderlust satiated in those stretches between journeys? We can escape into a really good book that brings a far-off place to us. Here are three extraordinary travel narratives that deserve to be counted among the classics.
My #TripLit pick for August: Headhunters on My Doorstep, by J. Maarten Troost. Read on to find out why.
My #TripLit pick for July? “The Longest Road: Overland in Search of America, from Key West to the Arctic Ocean,” by Pulitzer Prize winner Philip Caputo. Here’s why.
My #TripLit Pick for June? “The World Is a Carpet: Four Seasons in an Afghan Village” by award-winning journalist Anna Badkhen. Here’s why…
“As a twenty-two-year-old teacher at a small school in rural Africa I had spent some of the happiest years of my life,” writes legendary travel writer Paul Theroux in his new book. Africa seeped into Theroux’s soul on that first visit, so much so that he has regularly returned to it as a kind of touchstone throughout his 50-year career.
While Greece may be in the headlines these days for its economic woes and social unrest, when I think of Greece, I picture crystalline sunlight on a landscape of rock, sea, sand, and tree; bone-white ruins of layered history; and bright-eyed, big-living people. That’s the Greece Christopher Bakken brings to life in his delightful new book.
In recent years the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela, Spain, has gained a certain cachet. Books have been written on it; movies have been made about it. Almost invariably, the focus of these accounts has been the Spanish portion of the pilgrimage, culminating with arrival at the cathedral in Santiago itself. David Downie offers a different take on an ancient legend.
Legendary writer and editor Don George introduces readers to the latest and greatest travel literature out there in the world. Do you have any recommendations for great travel reads? Share them with @NatGeoTraveler on Twitter by using the #TripLit hashtag.