As a travel writer, I’m acutely aware of the different connotations of travel versus tourism.
The word “tourist” conjures up visions of harried and camera-bedecked list-tickers, scrambling on and off buses, madly snapping self/friend/partner in front of The Famous Sight before rushing to the next stop on the itinerary.
Travel, by contrast, is not about the tales you tell and the pictures you show when you’re safely back home. It’s about bringing your whole self to a place – who you are, the sum total of your experiences so far – and being willing to be changed by this journey. Embracing the place with all your senses, not just registering the photogenic surface. And being conscious of how your presence changes the place too: in a small way or a large one, temporarily or for good.
The demands of travel writing, however, don’t always include personal reflection, consideration of the bigger picture, or a real communication between writer and reader about the experience – beyond what the accommodation’s like, what the food’s like, and what activities are on offer.
So I’ve decided to embark on a series of posts about my recent travel experiences, from a more personal perspective than my published articles generally allow. I hope these posts will be interesting and enjoyable for readers, and that you’ll feel free to comment and share your experiences – of the same places, geographically speaking, and of similar experiences in different places.