Bloody Good Travel Writing from October 2010

by Keith Savage · 18 comments


Bloody Good Travel Writing is a recurring series highlighting inspiring, informative, and provocative travel writing in line with the Traveling Savage philosophy.

In the midst of a stressful October, I found a batch of articles that lifted my spirits with their levity and reached me from far-flung destinations around the world. England, Bolivia, Syria: the adventurous spirit of travel writers always makes me smile. Whether you’re interested in following in their footsteps or enjoying a laugh from the comfort of your armchair, these posts will satisfy the travel itch.

The North York Moors: A Birthday Challenge by Fevered Mutterings

Mike Sowden’s self-proclaimed niche is “unfortunate travel,” and he stays true to his course with a dolorous outlook and the biting wit of a north Englishman. For his birthday, Mike somewhat irrationally decided to hike alone through the North York Moors. What follows is a hilarious tale (which I’m sure was awful in the flesh) of a man coming to terms with his own mortality in the midst of a day-long rainstorm. There’s sodden equipment, clammy skin, blinding panic – everything a good comedy needs. Throughout the piece Mike recounts his birthday insights and ultimately sees the value in the self-imposed hardship. Mike’s take on the experience reminded me that character development and understanding are often their most prolific in those difficult yet fertile times.

Bolivian Bus Hell – An Illustrated Guide by Never Ending Voyage

Simon of Never Ending Voyage is one hell of a character. He and Erin have been traveling through South American and this post recounts a harrowing (at least for Simon) tale of a bus ride through the mountains of Bolivia. The story, replete with illustrations, takes you on a journey not only through Bolivian bus hell, but through Simon’s mind as well, which is itself a trip. I loved the creativity and humor of this post. It serves as another example of the idiom “it’s either a good time or good story,” and shows that people who love travel always find the positive in otherwise negative experiences. But really, Simon, jalapeño Pringles on a twisty bus ride? Ugh.

Welcome to Syria My Friend! by Wandering Earl

Derek Earl Baron has been on the road continuously for more than a decade. He gets around, and this time he’s dropped into Syria of all places. Upon arriving in Aleppo, Earl is overcome by a blinding moment of sheer happiness. The welcoming people, exotic architecture and customs, and freedom to explore have all conspired to take Earl to new places within himself. Talk about a revelation. Most Americans think of Syria as part of the so-called “Axis of Evil,” but Earl’s observations cast an important, unique light on daily life in Syria at the ground level. There’s no substitute for this kind of “reporting.” Earl’s posts from Syria have been an important reminder to take media coverage and news stories of foreign countries with a big ol’ cup of salt.

*****

The next Bloody Good Travel Writing segment will be coming to you from sunny Argentina! Until then, enjoy this month’s selections and follow these writers while you’re at it.


Chuck ClaytonNo Gravatar November 14, 2010 at 5:11 PM

Observing what goes on in the mind of a traveler is interesting and fun. There is so much of the world to see…but like anything, it takes time.

Best,

Chuck

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EricaNo Gravatar November 9, 2010 at 12:41 AM

Haven’t read Fevered Mutterings yet – glad you introduced me to a new one!

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malaysia luxury hotelsNo Gravatar November 6, 2010 at 12:07 AM

you have to round at many place on argentina, I am really excited to read it

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AbbyNo Gravatar November 5, 2010 at 9:22 AM

Keith, you have a great eye for humor and adventure. I’m excited for YOUR trip to start!!

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar November 5, 2010 at 9:54 AM

Hey Abby, that makes two of us! I fly out Tuesday!

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AndiNo Gravatar November 5, 2010 at 9:15 AM

I loved Earl’s post! 🙂

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar November 5, 2010 at 9:53 AM

He’s a class act.

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MikeachimNo Gravatar November 5, 2010 at 5:32 AM

Exceptionally nice of you, sir. Thank you. 🙂

And…all true, unfortunately. Hopefully that’s my mid-life crisis over and done with.

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar November 5, 2010 at 9:55 AM

My pleasure, Mike. Excellent writing deserves some recognition.

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Tom VolpeNo Gravatar November 4, 2010 at 2:44 PM

This is a great collection of travelling writing, I thoroughly enjoyed all of them and will look forward to the next installment!

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar November 5, 2010 at 9:54 AM

Good, glad you liked it Tom. Some great authors here.

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Colleen FriesenNo Gravatar November 4, 2010 at 1:17 PM

Thanks for some great travel writing links. I especially liked the comment about Syria. I have visited over 45 countries now and Syria ranks as one of the friendliest places in the world. I’ve been telling people for years to ignore the usual spin about Syria. Thanks for helping the ’cause’.
Cheers
Colleen Friesen

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar November 5, 2010 at 9:56 AM

Hi Colleen, very interesting to hear another person say how friendly Syria is. I think we can agree that most media-fueled perceptions are rooted in small groups of political or military figures and rarely accurately characterize the citizens of a country.

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EarlNo Gravatar November 4, 2010 at 10:50 AM

Thank you for the inclusion and great summary Keith!

And to be honest, I’m eager to read about your upcoming travels as I have no doubt that you’ll be offering a unique perspective on the destinations you visit…similar to the unique perspective you currently offer through your posts already.

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar November 5, 2010 at 9:53 AM

No problem, Earl. Going to Syria appears to be well worth it, and an adventure to boot. How was it getting all of the necessary documentation and entry requirements in order?

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EarlNo Gravatar November 5, 2010 at 9:57 AM

It was quite easy. The only catch is that US Citizens can only obtain a Syrian visa from either the Syrian Embassy in Washington D.C. or the Syrian Consulate in LA. But I sent in my application along with a self-addressed overnight envelope and I had my passport and visa within five days and without any issues at all.

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