Why do we travel? Even as a kid I was drawn to stories of far-off places and of lucky kids running away to adventure and intrigue. Arthur Ransome’s Swallows & Amazons can take some of the blame – the thought that as a kid you could pack a blanket, some food, jump in a sailing dinghy with your best friend and camp out on the nearest island was almost more than I could bear. Growing up on the wild west coast with the surf pounding in on rough days and the seagulls wheeling in the gusts above did nothing to rest my wanderlust. And it wasn’t good for sailing dinghies either.
Over time I began to travel and my bookshelves began to fill with travel books – the usuals like Paul Theroux, Bill Bryson and Jonathan Raban, later to Nick Danziger, Freya Stark, Eric Newby, Sara Wheeler and then, my all-time favourite, Bruce Chatwin. Slowly the light armchair travel reading turned to deeper literary travel and the plot thickened.
I’ve worked as a travel writer for a long time. I’m happy with what I write and I’ve been published a lot, although it’s not the wonderful, prosaic, stream of consciousness writing I’d like it to be. And now I sell travel – I make other people’s travel dreams a reality, which is a huge privilege. And, for the first time in my life I’m now writing without the need to make a living from it – a very liberating, but unsettling, concept.
Through this blog I hope to take you on a journey of sorts, looking at how others travel, where they go and why. I’ll discuss places that I, and others I know, have been and look at why a particular place is so appealing, or not. Local foods, the local people, experiences, places to stay, adventures, trends, highlights – all the things that show the heart of a place, or how to get there. And there will be some industry talk, some hotel reviews, recommended tours and, hopefully, a few travellers’ tales as well.
I’ll start out slowly, till I find my new blog voice, and see where we end up. A Journey Without Maps maybe – it’s a great idea and a compelling book. Thank you Graham Greene for the inspiration.