Friday, September 09, 2005

Travel Weariness

For the last few months I have neglected my blog disgracefully. This is because I took on a writing project for a travel website. I had to produce twenty guides to twenty places I have never been, from Baja to Zanzibar. For some deep-seated psychological reason, I took this job far too seriously, shunning stock phrases like “vibrant culture,” “land of contrasts,” "a friendly race," and “rich history." Instead, I filled my guides with local detail. How did I do this? Through assiduous research on the Internet. OK, maybe my imagination occasionally came in handy too. (Writing about places I have never visited may seem a trifle unethical, but if the number of errors in other online guides is any indication, it is commoner than you might think.)

In between completing these guides, I took a couple of vacations of my own. But now I look back on the summer, I realize that the places where I didn’t go remain most vivid: the jaundiced face of Ho Chi Minh’s embalmed corpse in his Hanoi mausoleum, the scent of cardamom and cloves drifting from the spice plantations of Zanzibar, the tumbledown pavilions of Wat Phou in Laos, the guinea-piggish dassies scuffling on the slopes of Cape Town’s Table Mountain. I feel almost as exhausted as if I had actually visited all those places, but I’ve earned myself a couple of months to write what I want to write. It feels good to be home.


Post a Comment

<< Home