Travel Writing? and a Short Encounter with Flip Byrnes

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(photo courtesy of Flip’s homepage: http://goflip.homestead.com/REAL.html)

After talking with Australian travel writer Flip Byrnes, I knew that I wanted to take the same difficult route she had chosen. I listened through the phone as she described her career in a bubbly, and enthusiastic voice.
When asking her how she had become a freelance travel journalist, she didn’t try to hide the harsh truth; struggling with money, only achieving stable employment after 4 years, having to have other side-jobs, and not knowing if you will be able to pay the rent. And all that with a Uni degree and writing in English, the international language. Imagine how much harder it would be if you were trying to become a travel journalist, and you didn’t have a uni degree and the only language you could write in was French, for example.

Why am I talking about Flip Byrnes?
I admire people who do not give up and who fight for their passion. Flip is one of these people and I have to admit, she has also become my role model. She seemed so kind and adventurous through the phone that I wonder how awesome she would be face to face.
Then, of course I have to talk about her articles. They are funny, using beautiful language, but informative at the same time.

Very often, when I read travel articles, I don’t want to continue reading because they are boring; too packed with information and as dry as the Australian desert! But when reading Flip’s article, I can imagine myself in the place she is describing and so I wish that I had already finished school and could transform my travel dreams into reality.

THE  REAL TRAVEL WRITING:

I admit it, I would be the worst person to judge the quality of travel articles, but I have an important point to make. Nowadays, with the rise of technology and globalisation, reporting about travel has become so much easier. In truth, with the internet around, anyone can become a travel journalist.
Travel magazines have become rare and have been replaced by blogs or newspapers accessible online such as the Sydney Morning Herald Traveller.
When I read travel magazines such as “Vacations&Travel”, I come across a lot of articles that are only describing locations, food or the landscape of a country. What has been made of the saying “people make a place”?
Is our modern society simply not interested in communicating with different cultures, or is because it is harder to write about human encounters? Often when I ask people about their travels, they only talk about the cliched sights they saw, or the landscape.
In my opinion, good travel writing is combining people, culture, useful information, food and landscape in beautiful, but concise language. If travel has become so much cheaper, if going overseas is the norm, then why do people not write more about human encounters? Or maybe, I have just been looking in the wrong places…

Some Flip articles:
http://www.smh.com.au/travel/got-to-love-this-way-of-life-20110319-1c0xg.html
http://www.smh.com.au/travel/activity/active/survival-of-the-slowest-20100716-10dja.html

Flip’s homepage:
http://goflip.homestead.com/REAL.html

 

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