Traval Literature Debate

So we all read travel literature of some description. Before, during or after an expedition of any kind. I have been rather skeptical towards travel books that elaborate the travel 'mindset'. I don't really understand this. What is the travel 'mindset', and should we bother to read these tales of travel in search for inspiration.

I have been really interested recently why we read about other people's experiences. For me, I can barely bring myself to look through people's photo's of their travels let alone read their online blogs or via any other medium.

Since Rusja Foster's STA WTI application video in which she mentions books by Alexander Supertramp and alike which have really inspired her to get out there and experience new and exciting things and really get out of her comfort zone. I wondered if a book or blog has ever inspired me in this way. I like to think its better to do something first. Jump before you look if you will.

My first trip two years ago to S.E.Asia I had cuttings from half a dozen Lonely Planet guide books all carefully cut out and placed in order according to my itinerary, so that every town and country I visited I could read up on and be ready for where ever the next destination may be. Looking back I can only cringe at this mindset, but hey, I was young, naive and a bit scared.

When planning a trip nowadays I just book the flight, talk to a few people and try and get the gist of a place before I go. That way, everything will be a surprise, and hopefully even the bad times will be just as memorable. After all, planning a trip is fun, doing it is up and down, and reflecting and remembering is just as good.

What I want to try and achieve, is to spark off a little debate which will hopefully educate me in what people think to travel literature. Can it really inspire you? Am I missing out on something great? And the traveler 'mindset', what is this?

Cheers x


rusjafoster said...

Like i said in reply to your twitter, it's not so much that i read the books and was inspired to travel, it's more that i had already traveled and wanted to explore how other people did it. In 'Into The Wild' (which i did read before the film came out btw), Chris McCandless (aka Alexander Supertramp) did things his own way, just upped and left and didn't really seems to have much of a plan, which I love. Jack Kerouac, in 'On The Road' is just as spontaneous.
Those are really the only travel books I've ever read (aside from the obvious 'plan your trip' ones) and to be honest I like them more for the honest characters they portray and the stories they tell about they people they met and what they did, than the traveling itself.

Oops, sorry for the essay!

SoMiraculous said...

To avoid an essay on here I shall write you a response on my blog but as a wannabe travel writer I can tell you I am pro travel literature and find it very inspiring, when it's good of course.

Patrick Doyle said...

Hey that would be great to read. I really want to be get my head round travel Lit. I think ill be buying one of those books you mentioned and try and open my brain up a bit. At the moment I'm more of a get your hands dirty kinda guy, but i feel i might be missing out. x x

Sparky said...

For me, books are escapism. Isn't travel just the same? Michael Palin is my hero. I don't read his books intending to replicate his journey to the last detail, his words transport me anyway. I follow him on his journey and feel the excitement, the buzz of anticipation similar to the feelings I'm getting with this STA application. I don't think it's boring or unimaginative to read this kind of material, it shows a real enthusiasm to consume as much information you can about the world when it is impractical to actually be out there yourself. So are indeed missing out. I guess you'd have to find a style you like, there's loads out there!