At a certain season of our life we are accustomed to consider every spot
as the possible site of a house
(Henry David Thoreau, Walden)
Back in the days when music was touched rather than clicked on we had vinyl records: LPs, EPs and SPs or singles featuring an A-side hit and a B-side. And while the A-side was both meant to and assumed to be the better song, B-sides sometimes acquired a cult status among music connoisseurs and band fans. Think Hey Jude / Revolution by The Beatles for an image of just what I mean.
This blog is an attempt at coming up with a B-side to travel writing that is worth your time, dear reader. The A-sides of travel writing are out there, easy to find with their glossy Instagram photos, bucket lists and links to online hotel platforms and insurance providers. They can be good and helpful, but feel somewhat repetitive after a while. There are more tourists than ever, everybody seems to be going to the same places and so discoveries and new “adventures” are incremental at best.
So what is left for the traveler who, harking back to the etymology of the term, adventure, gets out there with the deep hope that things will indeed happen?
I’m sure there are as many answers to this question as there are travelers, and mine has to do with traveling slow, listening to people and, whenever possible, writing. So, admittedly, this blog is about the words – the poor quality images that accompany them being little more than a teaser for what will come and, perhaps, an unintentional parody of the A-sides, where images are everything.
You’ll notice that there is a lot of writing about Thailand in particular and SE Asia in general. This owes to a simple yet powerful reason. In Summer 2016, the so called Land of Smiles made me rediscover the pleasures of independent travel after many years of holiday travel that, while efficient, was far from memorable. And on the way I became addicted to its food, the sound of its language, and, in short, the Thai way of going about this ultimate backpacking adventure called life.
More recently, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, with all the subsequent restrictions on international travel, has led to more writing about local destinations and, especially, the joys of spending time in the mountains.
Feel free to comment, share, and, why not, send me some of your own writings for publication here. Just don’t show off too much – you’re in for the B-side, after all!