Hey! It’s July! Why aren’t you traveling?
One of the reasons that I write this blog is that it gives me an excuse every day to peruse the web for exciting stuff. And over the years, I have become somewhat of a connoisseur of web content. I dive into a bevy of blogs. I explore with experts. I nibble on news from newspapers around the world. I love it.
And I love it much more when I find good writing. The problem is that there isn’t that much good writing on the web. And there is a hell of a lot of not so great writing. So I end up wading through bogs of bull to experience a few moments of bliss. An example - I zealously follow Paul Krugman. Why? It’s the crisp writing style as much as his provocative messaging.
My sensitivities about writing style are at their highest when it comes to writing about life style. Let’s take travel writing. If an alien landed on the planet and only read web travel writing from glossy magazines, he might get the impression that earth is a paradise without any real people in it. Just tourist destinations run by well coiffed zombies. Ok, I exaggerate. Some travel writing has a lower key human dimension that tries to connect you rather than just steer you towards profiled destinations.
And this is turning into a people based business model. To get started, first check out some travel writing that has this flavor. Harris Salat did a good job writing about his tour of Japan questing for great Japanese cooking. This NYT article about visiting kopitiams in Singapore works for me too. BTW, it has a nice touch - it links you to a local food blog. Using the same style, Saveur did a pretty good job of getting me interested in western Sweden. And BTW, Tony Bourdain’s TV show has a good people focus. There are least two common themes - the writing brings out something about a local scene that only is attractive if it stays local. And that scene is populated with real people who are really good at something (no celebrities allowed). So can you sell local expertise and real people? Well, a few web businesses are trying to do that.
This NYT piece gives an overview of web based programs that can help you organize the information on the web about your destination. And here is a sampling of web resources to connect with local experts for off beat niche tours (canaryhop, Gidsy. sidetour, and vayble)
Nice. Now let’s see if any good travel writing comes out of it.