Some days I want to be a travel writer, and some days I just want to travel and then write about it. I think they’re different things.
When you are a writer, you are always writing for someone. And that means, you’ve got to think about writing something that someone will want to read. That in turn, changes what you might write about.
When I travel, it’s not so I can tell other people about it. It’s for me. It’s entirely selfish. I want to see as much of the world as I can, I want to feel it, experience it, know what it’s like, for me. So that I won’t regret it. It’s not so I can tell people back home, or my mum, or my grandkids what such and such a place was like. It’s so that I’ll know.
I think that’s why I don’t read a huge amount of travel writing. That and the fact I’d probably end up raging with jealousy, wishing I could just sack off my life and move to Brazil. But if I read someone else’s account, that isn’t real enough. That’s their opinion. That was their thoughts and feelings. That isn’t what it’s like. It’s them telling you about it.
Maybe it’s because I am a writer. I communicate for a living, and communication is all construct. Even writing a novel, something creative. It’s all been constructed, written that way on purpose, and I can’t help myself but read between the lines.
Maybe it’s because I’m a bit of a cynic too. I can’t help but think, “I wonder if that hotel has paid to be mentioned here?”. l might be on the bright side of PR (these days at least), but you can’t have light without the dark.
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being a bit selfish. We only get one life, and that life is ours alone. It’s perfectly valid to write something just because we want to write it . Even when we’re writing it on the internet.
I sometimes feel like everything has to be a moment, an opportunity, a chance to turn your life into your brand. And what do you do with moments? You capture them. You step back from them. Why can’t we just enjoy them?
So, when I’m travelling, and when I’m writing, it’s not to capture anything, to prepare and preserve and present it to anyone. It’s just because I love those moments. And I want to keep them for me.