Integrity in Travel Writing
As a writer, I believe that all the things that we, as traveler-writers, put in our blogs may not be entirely honest to the spirit of travel blogging. Travel is never perfect as we try to depict it, with our snapshots of beach sunsets & icecream sundaes in flower gardens. Travel is more-often-than-not messy, even unpredictable at times & not all experiences are good, like the Instagram accounts related to travel would have you believe.
Often, unknowingly, there is an idea miscommunicated : that one can get to roam around the world, without much effort, living out all travel fantasies possible. Consequently another misconception that occurs in the minds of readers is that the life of the author is living, is so unbelievably amazing that any other lifestyle one chooses; is just a waste of time, a waste of life.
It disturbs me deeply whenever I come across such unrealistic displays of a travel job; which tempt young educated minds with decent jobs, making them consider quitting their jobs & travelling the world to become “cool”.
Travel and blogging, while it’s usually incredibly enjoyable for me, is not always as easy owing to deadlines & other commitments; and I have no problem in stating that. Long-term travel is really just another lifestyle. Blogging is really just another job.
There are idyllic days when I sound more like a ‘local’ than the locals themselves or at others I just whizz by the popular places & write about them using the photos I have taken. But there are also days when I spend endless hours hunched over a laptop trying to find a semblance of a good write, or trying to plan my next trip.
We can never be prepared for what curve ball life throws at us, especially when on the side of an unknown street, in a new city; or the next turn of the trail in a jungle. Although travel in itself is an experience worth having, we often glorify the idea of being a traveller over being a tourist to such extents, through our writings; that we fail to account for the hardships behind the scenes, for our readers. Travel blogging especially about wildlife requires a lot of photos & well documented flow of travel which at times cramps up the ease of travelling & hampers with soaking up the locale.
We talk about the patience & effort invested to get that one perfect snapshot, but rarely do we show our misfortunes/ failed attempts before making the click. Sightings may or may not happen (for the big cats, occasionally) & it’s usually not as rewarding (by the online viewers) if I write about not seeing a tiger in a tiger reserve; but that transparency is much required lest it leads to unrealistic expectations about travel.
It surely is an exciting time to be a part of the digital age where more & more blogs get published every day & there are a lot of genuine writers who wish to help others achieve their dream travel; but as they say with great power comes great responsibility.
I am a travel blogger. Or just a blogger, who happens to be travelling a lot of the time so I write about travel mostly.
Published by Aniket Gupta