So, I’m going to start travel writing…
It’s just under four weeks until I leave for Bali, and I, an aspiring writer, am keen to document the trip. The issue here is that I have no bloody idea where to start. I’m currently sat in my new West London apartment* attempting to fuel the creative impulse with a freshly brewed coffee and a breakfast of poached eggs, avocado and toast; all together, feeling very middle class. Lonely Planet’s ‘How to be a Travel Writer’ sits beside me with its’ screaming advice to ‘find my niche’ gnawing away at me as the key to success. So that’s become the plan, find my niche, write some excellent words about it, market my blog perfectly and become an overnight writing sensation. Then await the queue of publicists wrestling to hand me large burlap sacks with dollar signs painted on the front in exchange for traveling to exotic 5-star beachfront hotels around the globe. Simple really.
The only problem is, whilst I consider myself a relatively serious person, I’m completely incapable of writing like one. The idea of a factual, stuffy piece about Bali doesn’t inspire me at all and is hardly likely to reveal any ground-breaking information about one of the most popular holiday destinations on the planet. On top of this, the only ‘research’ I’ve done so far is read Kathryn Bonella’s ‘Snowing in Bali’ about the islands’ underground network of cocaine dealers stretching from Brazil and Peru to Indonesia via Amsterdam. This has also only accounted for one of several books I’ve read on cocaine smugglers in the last few months, apparently a grim fascination of mine. With my idea of what’s interesting being a little outside family friendly or idyllic honeymoon getaway, whatever I do end up writing probably won’t be pitched to the Bali tourist board.
Nonetheless, I will press on putting pen to paper, metaphorically of course, in the hope that what does appear is at least of some interest to you, the audience. Even if the only thing you take away from my experience is a few laughs and a general sense of how hopeless I am at traveling, despite it being a pretty serious passion of mine. To put it in to perspective, the drug smuggling research is the only actual prep I’ve done for the trip so far. I booked my flights so late that the cost increased by so much that I’m now forced to include an 8-hour stopover in Manilla just to be able to afford them, increasing my travel time to 26 hours from London Heathrow to Bali Denpasar. On top of this, my rucksack sits unwashed, and, incredibly, still a bit sticky from a mosquito repellent explosion which occurred a little over two years ago, and with Chilean currency jangling around in it. I don’t have insurance yet, am unsure whether I need to renew my jabs or purchase malaria tablets and the clothes I plan to take are still tagged and arranged neatly in shops along Oxford Street. Writing this, part of me thinks I should get my ass in gear, but the overwhelming majority of my emotions say that this all sounds like a problem for future Tom, he works better than I do anyway. I’ll make sure he documents the next stage in my ‘preparing to prepare to go to Bali’.
*It’s a flat really, in Uxbridge, and not especially lavish, but saying West London apartment makes it sound much more boujee.