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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Road Warriors: Bloggers in Motion - travel challenges revealed at Enduring Wanderlust

"Blogging has exploded over the past few years, opening the door to endless opportun-ities. A number of bloggers have been able to have professional writing careers, quit their desk jobs to travel the world, or prolong that backpacking trip indefinitely," writes Gennaro at Enduring Wanderlust in his latest post Road Warriors: Bloggers in Motion, looking at the travelling lives of 'digital nomads'. Through interviews with four globetrotters (including myself), Gennaro explores the challenges of blogging from the road. It's a revealing post that compares the experiences of the four of us, written in a journalistic style, rather than straight Q&A, which is nice to see. I might clarify though that travel blogging didn't lead me to my career as a travel writer. I began travel writing first, co-authoring with husband Terry The Sydneyside Guide, a compact city guide within Gregory's street directories, almost 14 years ago. Terry took up full-time travel writing around six years ago, while I began to dabble in it again (I had a full-time academic job at the time), and we both threw our heart and soul into it, taking to the road to travel continuously, bouncing from one assignment to another, just over three years ago. For me, blogging came in 2007 as a creative release and space to reflect. I don't get paid to blog at Cool Travel Guide. I wish I did! But I'd hate aspiring travel writers to think that travel blogging is an easy way to establish a successful travel writing career. The two are mutually compatible, but professional travel writing is a different kettle of fish with its own set of challenges and involving the development of a huge skill set - which can partly be developed through blogging of course. What I found interesting in Gennaro's post was how people manage the tech side of things, and I might expand on that in another post. Do check out Gennaro's post. He poses the question at the end "How has running a blog influenced your life?" I can't wait to hear what travel bloggers say...

Pictured? Terry making tea at the side of our road warrior, one of several vehicles that took us around Australia on our most recent 4-month research trip. I just wished I would have been able to blog from the thing! But it's a bit hard when you don't even have cell phone access for most of the day!

5 comments:

viajarenlouquece said...

Nice blog..
Congratulation..
☆ Martinha ☆
=)
http://travelandtrips.wordpress.com/

Lara Dunston said...

Why thank you, Martinha! :)

I'll drop by and check yours out!

Sandy O'Sullivan said...

Yeah, I think that the process of writing a blog can be interesting on any subject, but I still prefer reading it from someone who is both a good writer and knows what they are talking about. Look, I can go and do a bit of research on brain surgery, probably whack a site together on it, but it doesn't make me a brain surgeon. And HAVING brain surgery (no I haven't, no matter how much of a mess this comment sounds) doesn't make me an expert either.


I guess this is the same problem that I have with TripAdvisor and Expedia and all of the other sites that have user-written responses, I want professional views on the process, and I think we rarely get that in a blog. Because, basically any old bugger can come along and decide to be a travel writer. It's for this reason that I'm so picky about travel writers that I follow, I do want them to have some resonances with me... and while I read travel writing voraciously, I'm not terribly interested in

I'm working on a project at the moment that will result in a website on Indigenous higher degrees (PhD and Masters - see link below), and I had someone challenge me on it a little bit, saying basically anyone can put together a website on the topic... which is true... but um, it IS about content, not about whacking a site together. I get that it's not the same as saying anyone can pick up a pen, because the real difference is the process of dissemination - it's wider, no doubt, but look... I've read thousands of travel blogs and yours and Terry's are two of the few that I come back to... because it's not just about saying what you like, it's about having good research AND focusing on the reader, not on the writer. And honestly that's the difference between a professional and an amateur travel blogger, I reckon maybe it's the difference between a professional and an amateur in any field.
(that link about the project, totally un-travel related here: http://www.altc.edu.au/carrick/go/home/fellowships/pid/631 )

Sandy O'Sullivan said...

Yeah, I think that the process of writing a blog can be interesting on any subject, but I still prefer reading it from someone who is both a good writer and knows what they are talking about. Look, I can go and do a bit of research on brain surgery, probably whack a site together on it, but it doesn't make me a brain surgeon. And HAVING brain surgery (no I haven't, no matter how much of a mess this comment sounds) doesn't make me an expert either.


I guess this is the same problem that I have with TripAdvisor and Expedia and all of the other sites that have user-written responses, I want professional views on the process, and I think we rarely get that in a blog. Because, basically any old bugger can come along and decide to be a travel writer. It's for this reason that I'm so picky about travel writers that I follow, I do want them to have some resonances with me... and while I read travel writing voraciously, I'm not terribly interested in

I'm working on a project at the moment that will result in a website on Indigenous higher degrees (PhD and Masters - see link below), and I had someone challenge me on it a little bit, saying basically anyone can put together a website on the topic... which is true... but um, it IS about content, not about whacking a site together. I get that it's not the same as saying anyone can pick up a pen, because the real difference is the process of dissemination - it's wider, no doubt, but look... I've read thousands of travel blogs and yours and Terry's are two of the few that I come back to... because it's not just about saying what you like, it's about having good research AND focusing on the reader, not on the writer. And honestly that's the difference between a professional and an amateur travel blogger, I reckon maybe it's the difference between a professional and an amateur in any field.
(that link about the project, totally un-travel related here: http://www.altc.edu.au/carrick/go/home/fellowships/pid/631 )

Lara Dunston said...

Hi Sandy

Once again, thanks for such an insightful and provocative response. Your comments always inspire me to write other posts.

I totally agree with you re blogs. There is a whole genre of travel blog out there written by aspiring travellers or travel writers who seem to enjoy collating information about places they've never been to. For some reason, this kind of blogging seems to be more prevalent in travel than other areas... maybe I'm wrong... I guess not every movie blogger has a film degree or has made films... so I take it all back... but perhaps they've accumulated an epic amount of knowledge in a Quentin Tarantino-esque 'worked' in a video store way.

People do underestimate the content though, you're right... and I love your own project as an example... doesn't it remind you of the HCT? How hard we tried to convince people that film/video/multimedia/audio whatever were 'forms', the technology was merely 'tools' (they always thought those two things were *enough*) and that it was the ideas/story that was important.

I took a quick look at your project. How intriguing!!! Indigenous education (and culture and training) is something Terry and I are very interested in. I can see we're going to have long conversations late into the night when we eventually catch up in person.

In the meantime, thanks so much for reading and commenting, Sandy. It's readers like you that make the process so much more stimulating! Thanks!