Sunday, May 2, 2010

A pen, paper and a back-pack

Some of us, rather most of us are waiting to find a job that pays us to do what we love. It is rather rare, but it does happen.

There is one thing common between travelling and writing: they both require a sort of free spiritedness. Most great people, saints and other learned men, travelled extensively and wrote with great fervour about their travels. On reading such a book of experiences, what comes through is not an itinerary of their travels, but something much more subtle: A glimpse into the soul of the writer and into the places visited.

Here’s welcoming you to the never static, ever-dynamic journey that is the life of a travel writer.

Travel literature today is much more commercially viable than it perhaps was just a decade ago as tourism reaches new heights. People are going places, and writers are telling people where to go.

However, the art of travel writing is more spiritual than anything else. A writer can bring in a third dimension depending on his ability to capture the pulse of the space he is in, whether it is a five star hotel or a village hut, the travel writer is first a traveller, ever ready to explore.

The three-fold mantra:


You don’t need to save money to take a trip to a resort in Singapore or a haveli in Udaipur to be inspired to write. Start simple, perhaps a trip to a local monument or a nearby town. Remember, travelling and writing have much to do with exploration within and without. While exploring a place, its nooks and corners, conversing with the locals, is an ideal way to capture its pulse, writing requires a different kind of exploration, a journey within. A good travel write up is thus, a perfect balance between exploration and introspection.

Travel is not just the movement of the body but also of the soul. Simply put, a travel journalist must take all he can from the outside, mix it with what’s on the inside to produce something extraordinary.

Words of caution: All tourists are not travellers, all travellers are not tourists.

"A good traveller has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving." - Lao Tzu


Research always makes for good writing. But if I wanted just information, I would google it and toss your write up in the bin.

While research can get you only so far, a unique style of writing can get you further. Add to that a unique perspective and you’ve got an article with personality.

A good write up is not only informative but should also have the ingredients to inspire the reader to travel.

Point to remember: It’s not the place that makes a man, but the man who makes the place.


There is good and then there is great. An extraordinary article is made of not three but four dimensions, one which comes only with experience and exposure. Fortunately, a travel writer’s job is all about exposure.

A person who has an adventurous spirit and a polite independence is born to travel. Blend it with a passion for writing and you’ve got a travel writer good to go. An experienced traveller has that extra zing in his writing, which makes for a write up hard to forget.

Few words of wisdom: A seasoned traveller finds the excitement in the journey, not just the destination.

Travel often; getting lost will help you find yourself.

Institutes offering a course in travel writing:
The college of the world

Qualifications required:
A mandatory degree in free-spirited-ness
Must own or (have the ability to borrow) a bagpack
A sturdy pair of walking shoes
And a flair for writing

When and where can you start:
Here and Now.

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