I started “travel writing”, recording journals of my travels, when I left Australia in 1987 for two years backpacking and living abroad in England and Europe. I kept writing the journals, on my daily life in England and wider travels in the UK, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa, until I returned to live in Australia in 1996.
In 1987 my backpacker’s bible was Europe Through the Back Door by Rick Steves. He had a different way of looking at people and places that contrasted with the then popular Let’s Go series, while other guide books like Lonely Planet and The Rough Guide weren’t so well known in the mid-80s (at least, not to a novice backpacker like me!).
Using Europe Through the Back Door as a guide book made me feel like a traveller rather than a tourist. Not for me the packaged tour, “It’s Tuesday so we must be in Rome” approach. I was going to explore and savour the real Europe, via the back streets and back doors.
In truth, the demands of keeping to a schedule to extract the most value out of a Eurail Pass or to reach a destination by a certain date to for a connecting flight, meant much of my travel, whether by train, plane, bus, boat or even truck, was done at a Contiki Tour-pace. Apart from living in England, I never spent long in any one location or country (I spent only five days in Poland!).
So I was a backpacking tourist, not a traveller, but I think some of the things I saw and did, some of the people I met, seeped into my soul and being, and into my writing.
Selection of Travel Writing
The following is a selection my travel writing, some complete articles, others journal extracts. I hope you enjoy reading them – more of my writing can be found on TallAndTrue.com.