Writing on Travel Writing

What do I tell you, my anxious reader, of my travels?

I know not what you seek. Perhaps tips and tricks of dealing with the shopkeepers? Of how to navigate the streets? Or of best places to stay? There’s an app for that. Or at least a website. Perhaps I could tell you my experience. Yes that would be nice. But other than being an interesting read, it wouldn’t amount to much. There is no way that you would ever have the same experience, when you go there. But, if my experience motivates you to travel there, or any other place, for that matter, it is worth writing about.

Food, monuments, and peculiarities have become the mainstay of travel writing, and I have developed a distaste, over time, for this kind of writing. All the writing is review-like — this is good, that isn’t; do this, but don’t do this. The experience is laid out for you. I’ve (very few times, thankfully) travelled with people who template-travel. Most of the times I have been on journeys with people who permit an unknown experience to occur and relish it. The other few, however, want to recreate someone else’s experience, because it is popular. Once, Mahendra, talked of how how people come and tell us how they did a place. An example, would be, “We did all the major European cities.” I think somewhere in their head there is a green check-mark being applied against place names. I’ve never had a bucket list, I think I never will; which doesn’t mean I don’t wish for things. A bucket list is a constraint, in a way, it forces you to see in the bucket. Which means that if a wonderful experience that’s not on your list, presents itself, there’s a good chance that you’ll miss it.


Apart from having heard of Kazakhstan in Geography textbooks, when we were learning about steppes, I’ll admit, I didn’t know much about the country. I got the opportunity to travel to Kazakhstan because of work, but I feel blessed to have been there and known that country and its people, even if slightly. You can perhaps, by now, realise that I have very little to tell you in terms of touristy spots and such (which any travel site will tell you). But in that very short, one week, that I spent there, my personal experiences have been plenty. They’ll surface in the days to come, in the various posts in the days to come.

17.49.36: A Cloud Flare

I’ll leave you with this: the clouds and the skies in Astana, Kazakhstan had me mesmerised for the entire week. I know I have said it in the previous post. But that one theme recurred, from when I landed in the country, right up to the moment I left the country.


4 thoughts on “Writing on Travel Writing

  1. “A bucket list is a constraint, in a way, it forces you to see in the bucket”
    – Most people I know *live* in buckets as far as travel is concerned.

    I have written about my travel once (my Spiti Travelogue) and wonder if it was insipid in describing food, monuments, and peculiarities. I hope not.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha! @ Buckets! 🙂 I think you know what I mean, when I talk of insipid travelogues. They are read like encyclopaedic entries with facts strung together. They are bereft of a personal touch, emotionless and essentially prescriptive. They create the template that people pick-up when they travel.

      *Clearly*, your Spiti travelogue is none of the above. Even you know that! 🙂


  2. I don’t do a bucket list either… Social media has made “lists” wildly popular (why read a book?) – Top 10 this or Top ten that or Best places to— I feel the bucket list is a corporate encouraged thing to get us to spend money for supposedly authentic experiences. Where is the motivation to be at peace with ourselves as we are in the moments of daily life?

    Liked by 1 person

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