Sunday, 3 February 2013

So, will I write a book about Laos?

I don't know.

Come on, I hear you say; you must know. You must have pages of journals, photographs (woops, sorry, you had the camera stolen.)

Actually, some people I met are sending photographs, so I'm not picture-less. And yes, I do have two exercise books full of notes.

This was a very different trip from my visit to Nepal. There was no cyclone. No tiger - well, actually, there were tigers, but tame tigers, which is definitely not the same thing at all. But at no time did my stomach go flippy-flop and leave me wondering how I was going to survive this time.

It was a trip full of questions - about the country, and how people live there now, after the years of bombing and then the closed decades of unremitting communism. It was a trip for gawping at astonishing scenery - mountains and rivers and waterfalls. Of listening to roosters at dawn and tree frogs as the sun set. A trip of wandering into local markets where there was nothing for sale but a few root vegetables and dead rats. A trip with monks rubbing shoulders with tourists whose behaviour can best be described as rapacious. A trip of wandering around towns and villages, trying to find someone who could speak enough English to answer my endless question, and meeting mainly tourists - a few, like me, trying to make sense of the place, and most of them young and looking for adrenalin thrills and parties.

My task, now, is to unravel all that and see if there is a story there. I shall transcribe the diaries and then begin to untangle them, pick out the highlights, look for stories, and maybe even draft a book. Then I shall show it to others - and ask, is this good enough?

Bear with me - this will take time. I'll let you know how I get on.


  1. The time thing is important, Jo. Make the most of letting all the impressions and feelings emerge. I find that impressions often take time to cement into stories. The longer you give it, the more they will find a coherence and want to be told. We can wait, but we'll be waiting with anticipation!

  2. Have you ever written for the travel magazine market? You could earn money by writing articles and then the articles could be incorporated into a book if that's where you want it to go. I just feel that you've gathered so much experience and seen so many things that a magazine would pay well for articles on all manner of your experiences, not just Laos.

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  4. Thank you both.

    Val - I shall take my time. It's interesting, going back through the diaries, how I make connections in retrospect that didn't occur to me at the time.

    Ros - no, I haven't. I did try, once, and was told that my writing was fine, but they wanted something more factual and less anecdotal. I take their point - they have to think about what their readers want. While I love anecdotes! Maybe I should try again.

    1. I think the travel mags are missing the point a bit too, your anecdotes and travel stories have made me want to travel much more than a factual point-by-point magazine!

    2. Thanks for your support, Lisa - I don't suppose the mags will change to suit us, but I'm glad you like my anecdotes anyway!

  5. I'm sure you will find a story emerges, perhaps based on your own reactions more than your other trips. But it may take time to show itself.

    Anyway glad it was good and I will catch up soon!

  6. I love your stories Jo, yes you have to write about your trip.