Saturday, December 10, 2011

What is a travel writer?

This photo of the week was inspired by one of the writing prompts from November's 30 Day Indie Travel Project.  The prompt was about a favourite travel quote.  

I found a list of inspiring travel quotes on the Matador Network website, which has a department called MatadorU where I am currently doing a travel writing course.  (I am on Chapter 9 of 12!)  Here is the quote:

"Too often...I would hear men boast of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen." by Louis L'Amour

Mr. L'Amour is not an author that I normally quote.  I haven't even read any of his work.  Western fiction is not my chosen genre - it's a guy thing I figure.  When I did a search, I found out that when he died in 1988, he had 105 published books.  He definitely had a lot to say, even delving into travel writing with his quote.  

Which brings me to the quote and how it relates to me.  As I have been moving through my travel writing course, I have been introduced to many ideas and people writing in the field.  People travelling in the field.  Some people have logged the number of countries where they have travelled.  Travelling to every country is one blogger's goal.  

I am in kindergarten compared to them.  The number of countries in the world is tricky to count because there is some discrepancy but it is between 193 and 196.  One blogger has been to 70.  

I have been to 3.  Unless I count the time the motor fell off the boat in the Usumacinta River.   We rowed to the closest shore while the helmsman tied the motor onto the back of the boat with a rope.  That shore belonged to Guatemala.  We were there for about 20 minutes.  I am thinking that when the travel blogger said he had been to 70 countries, he didn't mean stepping inside the border for less than half an hour.  So I don't count Guatemala. 

I don't count Belize either.  Technically I was there for one hour.  I didn't get off the plane.  And I can't remember why.  What I do remember is sitting on a tarmac in a Central American country is very uncomfortable.  

When I thought of the 70-country blogger and myself, I wondered what makes a travel writer.  Louis L'Amour helped.  So did my friend Katherine who said it isn't how many countries that you have been to but how those travels have changed you.  

This photo, taken at Kaslo's May Days, captured the sentiment:

What is a travel writer, really?

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