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Travel Stories That Don’t Get Told – Little Notes from the Road

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Travel stories that don't get told

I used to love telling stories about travel. I’d sit on buses and trains and hostel beds, hunched over a notebook, scribbling away and filling it with stories from the road. Capturing encounters with new people, little kindnesses from strangers, or funny things that someone said. Or just trying to capture the spirit of a place: the sights and sounds and smells. On a trip I’d write down every single thing that happened to me, because all of it seemed new and exciting and special.

But then I became a blogger, and that’s very different from a writer. In many ways its better, especially because I get to make my living doing little more – in base terms at least – than being unequivocally, unabashedly myself. I post photos of myself and tweet whatever silly thing I’m thinking, and somehow that’s turned itself into a sort of pseudo job that allows me to keep on travelling as much as I want to.

Travel stories that don't get told

But the writing that comes with this different to the writing I like. It’s about traffic – about getting people to read. It’s about clickbait titles and SEO. The thing I love about blogging is that I can be useful – by sharing advice and guides and budget tips – and maybe even sometimes inspirational. That I get emails and comments from people telling me I’ve helped them, or inspired them to book a trip. The thing I don’t love about blogging is that more often than not, the post that will get read is a guide or a top ten or something else that is useful or interesting or funny but that doesn’t quite capture the spirit of travel or the reality of a destination or just the warmth and joy and thrill of being on the road.

For the longest time, I’ve been complaining about that, but not really doing anything about it. I continue to focus all my energy on creating either the posts that a client is paying me to produce, or on the ones that might please the all-knowing, impossible to-please Internet God that is Google. I have a finite amount of energy and a lot of clients to make happy.

Travel stories that don't get told

It’s been on my mind for a while that I wanted to start a series of the stories that never get told. These are the things that don’t fit with the brand-message of press trips, or simply might never get read because they’re not really about anything. They’re just short stories about the little joys and quirks of travelling. About the kindnesses of random strangers or the weird things people say. Stories that try to capture what a place or a scene or a moment was really like – the good and the bad of it. They are simply short little stories from the road – stories that meant something to me and that I want to tell, regardless of whether or not they get read.

Because what’s the point of being a writer with no boss or editor or agent, if you can’t write exactly what you want to every once in a while?

Travel stories that don't get told

So every now and then (let’s not try to stick to a schedule)… I thought I’d try to publish one of my untold stories. Funny things that happened on a press trip. Interesting people I met. Chaotic nights of drunkenness. Moments that were special simply “because”. Things that show why I truly travel – for the people and the special moments, not just for the blog traffic. Just little notes from the road that mean something to me, and let me practice the kind of writing I like. I hope you’ll read them…

Untold Travel Stories

That Time I Went on an Accidental Date in Nicaragua

An Ode to Señor Frog – the Worst Car on Cozumel

Dim Sum, New Friends, and Chicken Feet in George Town

A Cowboy, a Shepherd, and a Proposal in Uzbekistan

Staying in a Favela in Rio

4 thoughts on “Travel Stories That Don’t Get Told – Little Notes from the Road”

  1. Great idea!

    Every week I post a photo on my Facebook page, and with it a couple of paragraphs that the photo makes me think of. Sometimes it’s just stuff about what’s in the picture, but sometimes it’s a personal anecdote about how or why I took the picture, or what was happening around me. The personal anecdotes are my favourite.

    What you’re proposing sounds pretty similar – a tiny snippet of real life. Not enough to justify a full post by itself, or to worry about SEO or page hits. Just a bit of reality. I’m looking forward to it.

    1. Thanks so much Chadwick!! I love the idea of a little anecdote on Facebook. I did that while I was in India after a particularly touching encounter and I was really happy with the way it turned out, and with the response I got. I just feel like otherwise I get so consumed in the technical side of things, and in pleasing clients, that I never really write from the heart anymore. Trying to give myself a little bit of balance :)

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