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.