Sunday, 6 May 2018

Once a travel writer, always a travel writer?

You know me as a travel writer. Which is not unreasonable, given that most of my books are about my travels.

Will there be a book about my last trip to Nepal - no. Because it wasn’t a travelly sort of trip. It was a recuperative trip, a trip to take the space I needed to fill my head with something other than my house-move (and failed house-selling efforts) last year. It was the trip I needed. 

And because I don’t have to write a book about a trip if I don’t want to.

But ... surely I’m a travel writer. I travel and write about it - that’s what I do ...

I don’t see it like that - though I’m not sure I’ve challenged it before. I love travelling, and I love writing, and the two have melted together very happily. But that doesn’t mean the reason to travel is to write, nor is writing an excuse to travel. The two activities are independent of each other. If they overlap, that’s fine. And if they don’t, that’s fine too.

I’ve become know for the overlapping - when the writing and travelling come together. And yet the book I’m most proud of, the book that cost the most angst, the book that gave me most pleasure to write - is my novel, The Planter’s Daughter .

Why? Because I had to make it up. I had to do hours of research first, to make sure I got the factual bits right. But the rest of it I made up. (Well, I had the sketchiest outline, as it grew out of a vignette I came across in New Zealand. That gave me about four sentences. The rest I made up.)

Why am I telling you all this? Because my writing focus, at the moment, is firmly turned to fiction. That doesn’t mean I shall stop travelling, nor that I’ll stop blogging about travelling while I’m away. It simply means that I won’t travel with a view to writing a little book about it - unless, of course, something extraordinary happens (like a close encounter with a tiger ...)

So what is this novel I’m writing .. it’s such early days, I’ll keep that to myself for now.


  1. I know what you mean, Jo. I'm best known for my living abroad memoirs, but it's my fiction that I'm most attached to. Great to hear you're writing another novel! That's excellent news!

    1. It’s in its infancy, Val - but am so enjoying it. (Knew you’d ‘get this’!)

  2. Good for you Jo, and good luck.

  3. That's wonderful. I loved The Planter's Daughter!