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Jan 23rd 2011 5:07PM Travel writing is many things to many people: some writers are advertising where to stay and eat - I don't write guides like that (but many papers want all that info)
What I write is what I see and what is different or interesting to me, and hopefully other readers. It is the different, unusual jumps out to the traveller, especially in the first few days, and that's where we point our camera and attention. Unfortunately that leads to stereotypes and this is exacerbated when so-called writers interview their computers - regurgitating others written stereotypes. ( My birthplace, Christchurch New Zealand, is particularity vulnerable to being classified as English - and when I see the UK I wonder exactly what part my city is like!)
I try to only read stories from people who have actually been to places ... but even then they (and, we and I ) can get it wrong! I read travel guides to New Zealand and see many mistakes of history and place so I just assume that those mistakes are made about places I'm reading about too.
So, don't think everything you read, ( or that I have written) is the the whole truth --- we can only write 400, 800, or 1000 words about a topic that needs a book! all i can do is present my view of a place, sometimes using those very stereotypes to prove the opposite - just as I did in my book about the so-called 'uncaring' nature of New Yorkers that other Americans had warned me about.
I present travel writing workshops and tell participants "millions see the Taj Mahal, only you can write about your version, your truth, of the day" and that's what good writers do, write about their experience ... unless they are paid for by PR companies.
now I must check out the link about "travel writing sucks"!!!
Jun 16th 2009 10:42PM great site and will be using bits and pieces on my blogs (http://kiwitravelwriter.wordpress.com ) Attributing and linking back to you of course!
cheers, heather AKA the passionate nomad &/or kiwitravelwriter