Saturday, 28 September 2013

The Art of Travel Blogging

Tweet me this! (source -

As a relative newbie to travel blogging, having only written the posts for The Rough Guide to a Lonely Planet (TRGTALP) for just over a year, I am truly fascinated by the different styles of blogs that exists and what piques the interest of those who love to read about travel.  I am also confused at what some travel bloggers constitute of interest to the reading public.  The aim of TRGTALP has always, and always will be, a blog aimed at inspiring people to travel as well as offering advice to the hearty (mostly budget) traveller.

As a traveller myself, I really enjoy reading blogs and websites that provide their readers with useful hints on where to travel, how to travel and information on successfully navigating the tricky elements of soon to be explored destinations.  I am therefore, confused to find a large section of travel blogging community offering their readers posts that merely act as an extended, detailed itinerary-based report of their trip to a particular destination.  These self-indulgent 'trip report' style posts often follow a particular theme such as an experience of the writer's morning watching a local folk dance in Turkey or a mundane day-to-day run through of every aspect of their year exploring the world.  They are also usually accompanied by the writer posting several photos, on Twitter and Instagram, of their latest cocktail or a glass of vino in their said destination.  I am led to believe, from reading the comments attached to such posts and seeing the following many of these bloggers receive on Twitter and Facebook that they are very popular with readers.

Personally, I do not get it!  What benefit is this kind of travel literature to the readers other than a chance to ram it in their face by saying, 'I travel lots!  My life is fabulous!'  Do the readers perhaps enjoy travelling vicariously with the writer?  For me, it borders on insulting.  Harsh, I know.  But to assume that people want to read about YOUR holiday is just odd!  The bland minutiae found within these 'trip report' posts, I find mind-numbingly dull; bringing me to the key point of this post...I DO NOT WANT TO READ ABOUT YOUR HOLIDAY!  I am thrilled you had a fabulous trip to Munich, but I could not care less about all the things you visited, the copious beer steins you drunk and the amount of sausage you ate on your visit.  Aside from the literary merits of these banal posts and blogs, I do not get the point of them.  As a traveller, I believe people want help and advice to allow them to create their own experiences and I enjoy my travel largely for my own sake; not because it will make an 'interesting' blog post.  In addition to this, reading about someone else's trip acts as a spoiler to your own visit there and could possibly ruin any surprises you might have otherwise enjoyed.  The trips I take are often referred to in blog posts, here at TRGTALP, but only to root any help, advice and inspiration I want to offer my readers, not help them to create a carbon copy of my trip.

Of course, from time to time, I (or my wonderful guest posters) may write about destinations that have impressed, but I can assure you I will not be boring you with my 3 day blow-by-blow trip to Valencia or with posts that write at great length about days 1-6, 7-12 and 13-15 of my backpacking adventure around Vietnam.  What The Rough Guide to a Lonely Planet will provide you with is inspiration and help to give YOU the opportunity to explore destinations YOURSELF as part of YOUR own adventure.

One thing, before I go...just remember to include @TRGTALP in your Tweeted picture of that holiday cocktail!

Happy and safe travels!

Saturday, 7 September 2013

The Feel Good Factor!

MikeW and The FeelGoodGuy (David) cycling the French countryside! (source - author)

One of my favourite reasons for travelling are the positive experiences I have that essentially make me feel good.  For me, there are many great things that travel offers.  Firstly, I look forward and feel good about going on my trip...the packing, the preparation and excitement that comes with the journey to the airport and flight to the destination are something I really enjoy.  I love the journey itself, particularly when the sights out of the plane, train or bus window are new and interesting.  I also love to return, so I can look back at the great times that I have had and how much better I feel for it.  I see travel as a kind of pick me up...a chance (especially after a busy term or year of school) to relax and revive myself, ready for the 'onslaught' of the new school term!  Travel just makes me FEEL GOOD!

I believe one of the best things about travel has to be how it provides you with wonderful opportunities to meet people.  And, it is these friendships that create such a brilliant feel good factor for any traveller.  I have written before about the friends I have made through travel and all the fantastic experiences I have had following these trips in these peoples' home countries.  In mid-August, I visited a good friend of mine, Kate, in Paris.  Like any good visitor to the French capital, I made sure I indulged in the usual Parisian treats such as crepes, a wander through the Jardin du Luxembourg and an obligatory photograph in front of the Eiffel Tower!  Despite all of these fantastic Francophile treats, the best part of the whole weekend (apart from catching up with a great friend) involved meeting Kate's friends.  The friends comprised mostly of Kate's work colleagues who had meticulously organised a cycling trip, in the countryside, around the beautiful French town of Troyes.  The group had an excellent dynamic meaning that the day was filled with laughter, jokes, some energetic cycling and top notch food and wine.

One of the group, David, and I got talking about a number of different things and we discovered a shared feeling good!  I spoke of my love for travel and how much it makes me feel good.  David talked about how he has begun a blogging journey where he aims to document experiences (and not just those related to travel) that make him feel good.  The blog aims to inspire readers to take up new activities and get involved in experiences that will hopefully make you feel good too.  And, in David you have a very willing and humorous companion on this journey to feeling good!  You can find his blog at...