Category Archives: Books

Virtual Travel

A friend just alerted to a delicious blog called the Thinkmap Visual Thesaurus and its “Language Lounge,” which describes itself as “A Monthly Column for Word Lovers.” The topic of the latest Lounge is ‘Paper Wanderlust.’ It is an ode to great travel writing in classic books.

“Good travel writing is in many ways superior to actual travel; you get the benefit of fascinating or exotic experience without hassle, expense, hefty carbon footprint, and inevitable nasty surprises, ” wrote columnist Orin Hargraves. “A good travel writer is often superior to an actual travel companion: you get refined sensibility, creative perception, and thoughtfully digested experience without belches, snores, and adventitious prima donna outbursts. But the really great thing about travel writing is that it is a portrait, drawn only with words, of a place you can never go yourself: places changes irrevocably.”

I can’t pretend that I am in the league of the erudite, intellectual travel scribes mentioned in the column — Robert Cunninghame-Graham, Sybille Bedford, Moritz Thomsen, all of whom sound very British, but none of whom I recall ever reading and barely hearing of — but I love Hargraves’ premise that reading is in may ways superior to the experience. I, as a travel writer, hope that if nothing else, my observtions, experiences and advice ocasionally improve readers’ own travel experiences.