Bloody Good Travel Writing is a recurring series highlighting inspiring, informative, and provocative travel writing in line with the Traveling Savage Philosophy.
Yes, there was good travel writing in September. Too much, in fact. Staying on top of the torrent of new posts in my RSS reader is like trying to catch Niagara Falls in a cup. Luckily, my futile attempts still yield some excellent travel reading. This month I’d like to present three stories from authors who consistently publish engaging and thought-provoking articles. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!
Starting the Journey to Ithica by Raam Dev
Raam’s post are always motivating and insightful, and I particularly liked the characterization of his six-month journey that recently ended. This particular post and the poem it quotes use Ithica as a compelling device to represent that thing you are living toward. Raam imparts empowering words to help jar loose those stuck in port, failing to make their way to “Ithica.” This post really resonated with me. I felt a little proud that I had already begun my journey, though I have a long, long way to go. Ultimately, I read Raam’s words as an optimistic and hopeful call to live with purpose.
Death Ride for Buddha by Johnny Vagabond
I have to hand it to Wes of Johnny Vagabond: he tells some of the funniest, most well-crafted travel stories on the Web. Now, it could just be that he’s got a penchant for ridiculous hijinks, but I’m willing to bet we have a future author here. In the vein of stories like singing karaoke in a Vietnamese brothel and nearly getting gutted in a Saigon poker scam, Death Ride for Buddha continues the string with a harrowing tale of motorbiking into the Vietnamese countryside to get a look at some Buddha reliefs. I’ve noticed that if things can go wrong for Wes, they almost do before his ingenuity saves him. It’s almost like reading a sitcom, and I mean that as a compliment. Keep it up Johnny Vagabond!
What Defines a Culture? by Kaleidoscopic Wandering
I appreciate the depth of JoAnna Haugen’s blog, Kaleidoscopic Wandering. This particular post raises a thorny question (at least for me): What defines culture? JoAnna relates her experience in Jamaica and her struggle to find the “real” culture outside of the resorts and tourist traps. Culture is a very squishy term and this post calls into question many activities we typical think of as “cultural experiences.” If you’re a regular reader of Traveling Savage, you know this is a topic I’ve wrestled with in the past. I mentioned to JoAnna that I simply try to accept experience at face value without over-thinking it (by the way, I’m really really good at over-thinking). Over-analyzing a travel experience is often a futile attempt to find or recreate an idea of culture that doesn’t exist now and may never have existed. Go read, and be sure to read the insightful comments, too!
October is already upon us and – shock – my RSS reader is full again. Until next month, enjoy some bloody good travel writing!