I cringe when I see them; those headlines that say “Ten Best Places to Eat”, “Ten Bucket List Ideas”, “Fifty Best Beaches in the World” and the several dozen more articles and stories that come out what seems like daily where some travel expert is telling others where to go, what to see, what to do, what to eat and more.
Travel bloggers are so desperate to churn out content they are constantly writing, some about nothing. So many people think that they have to post an article daily or they will fade from the public mind. If you are skating on such thin ice posting constantly is not the way to build an audience.
I do not read any of these lists. I do not compare how I travel and where I want to go to someone else. Maybe it’s because I’ve been traveling so long on my own and been to so many places that I’m not inclined to think that someone else’s idea of what I should see interests me. I have been able to decide for myself where I want to go and when and even how to get there.
Travel writers and bloggers are not going to someplace that others have not been. We are not pioneers who are exploring unknown territories. Others have been there before us and more will come after. I will not tell someone the top ten beach’s to visit or the best places to buy wine or the best hotels to stay at. I will give you my shakedown on the service I received and the tours that I can go on and take photos of the things I have seen. It is not my job as a travel writer to tell you what to do and where to go and what to see. It is my job to give you information to make your travel easier and to give you my advice on what to expect and perhaps even what pitfalls to look out for. What you do with the information after that is up to you.
To me the sign of a good travel writer or blogger is someone who makes the reader react to a story or their writing makes others want to travel someplace new. Telling someone what the 10 Ten Restaurants in Rome are certainly won’t make me want to travel to those 10 Restaurants. Who do we think we are anyway?
I have been traveling for over 30 years. I know how to travel and pack my suitcase and buy airplane tickets and how to book hotels; hostels and resorts. Stop trying to prove you are an expert in travel by telling me where to go and how to do things.
If you want to prove to me that you are a great travel writer or blogger then tell me a compelling story about your travels. Tell me about meeting a local and sharing dinner with them. Tell me about working or building an orphanage in a country not your own. Tell me how the locals deal with rising costs of living and what they think of us. Tell me how the economy meltdown has affected people in a place you love dearly. That’s what a good travel writer or blogger should be doing. So stop the lists and the how-to’s and show me what makes you a great travel writer. Tell me the stories that set you apart from everyone else out there.
Creating lists only gets you a one line post on a search engine. Creating a compelling story or blog post gets you noticed and an audience of loyal followers. That’s why I’m writing and posting; to share my life’s travel adventures with others. Not to tell someone how to pack their suitcase or rent a car or where to get the 10 best hamburgers in the world.
Join me, I dare you. Let’s give travel blog readers what they really want; compelling stories about travel and about the real people in the world around us. Let’s join the Walter Winchell’s, Edward R. Murrow’s, Ernest Hemingway, H. L. Mencken, Bob Woodward’s, John Steinbeck and others and leave a legacy of travel writing we can be proud of.