What is the difference between writing travel and travel writing ? While it can seem like a bit of a grey area, travel writing is the name given to a form of journalism or reportage that describes the (usually exotic) place, experiences had there and information about where to eat, sleep, party, shop. Most travel writers aspire to (and some do) write for a living, via commissions from newpapers, magazines, airlines, travel agents, hotels, tourism boards and so on, but it is not as easy as it once was. Travel blogging has taken centre stage with bloggers (especially in Asia) becoming superstar celebrities with millions of followers on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook. While doing some prep for our Writing Your Travels workshop I found some interesting people. Pretraveller has listed the best in Oz and NZ and if you have nothing to do in a moment of your day, and are dreaming of escape, have a browse and be amazed. There’s a new geneartion of travel writers thinking up all sorts of ways to make a living from their travels.
However I’m more interested in writing travel, the form of creative non fiction that brings all the best literary techniques into a factual genre. Yes, you did travel to that place and yes, you had extraordinary moments and meetings there, revelations and life changing experiences, but it is how you bring those stories to life that interests me. Our Writing Your Travels workshop at WEA last weekend was full of truly wonderful stories of travels in Egypt, Tibet, Morocco, South America and more. No-one wanted to become a travel writer per se, most wanted to find a way to put their stories on the page for others to enjoy as much as they enjoyed having the experience. We spent the day enthralled and energised by the tiny moments of each other’s adventures. The art of writing travel is simply to bring these moments together with evocative descriptive detail and a clear narrator voice, to be true to the joy of being a stranger in a strange land and the openness of the travellers mind. We hope to have some of these stories collected in our online magazine: High Season – Low Season, for you to read soon.