Travel literature is travel writing of a non-fiction type. Travel writing typically records the experiences of travelers in some interesting places and circumstances. It will include vivid descriptions, illustrations, historical background, and possibly maps and diagrams. It is given an equal status with: romance, action, adventure, fantasy, mystery, detective fiction, and the list might continue. Travel Writing is a genre of Literature which deals with nature writing, adventure writing, exploration writing, guide books etc. Travelling has always been a basic human urge.
Men have travelled with various motives- out of curiosity, adventure, on personal and political errands, on diplomatic missions, for pilgrimage and spiritual satisfaction, on voyages, for business and trade and nowadays as a part of multi-cultural immigration and emigration in jobs. Some travelers with alert and methodological minds recorded their observations and experiences and facts of history, as appeared to them in a kaleidoscopic view of the world, which came to be known as travel writing. In olden times people were familiar with travel books of Chinese pilgrims like Fa Hein and Hiuen Tsang, Tavernier, Bernier, Marco Polo, Battuta and Al-biruni etc.
In modern times interesting Travelogues have been written by such literary celebrities such as Aldous Huxley, Graham Greene, V.S Naipaul, Ved Mehta etc. The purpose of this genre of writing serves as a diary and a receptacle of accurate records of particular peoples, places, customs, and ceremonies etc. They give us an account of the prevalent social milieu and a deep insight into their culture and habitation.
Need of Travel Literature: For most of the readers travel books are an escape to an imaginary land which is far from the reality of this mundane world. It is a way to get transported to a forlorn land with all safety in their homes. For the writers themselves, it is often somehow a way of preserving a present for themselves and a past of posterity. In an era of modernization, it helps to preserve the natural landscape of a place and also feel its atmosphere. It is a dimension of the recorded part that does not exist in history books. It also gives an account of the culture, history and geography of a place.
Features of a Good Travel Writing: A good travel article’s style should first of all be readable and lively, which should be able to sustain the reader’s interest. If possible personal experiences and anecdotes can be included in it, which makes it more authentic and credible. Therefore, personal record with universal touch and appeal should be the aim and strategy.
Prerequisites for a Travel Writer: A good travel writer must have the following characteristics:
- Amalgamation of skills and living experience and at the same time is a storyteller and informer. He is the assimilation of a reporter, novelist and also a researcher. A person who lives in the past as well as the present.
- He should have visual imagination and creativity, with a capacity to communicate a picture of a place.
- Have a completely open mind, well informed and free of subjectivity and prejudice. Completely alert to record the minute details and facts.
- He should read about a place, its history, its geography, its politics, and culture.
- Writing informative articles, involves reading a lot about places and putting the information in a factually correct form and in an informative way. Information on a particular place can be available in pamphlets, brochures, tourism booklets etc.
- Travel magazines should be substantiated with adequate illustrations, photographs, graphs and statistics to give it a more serene, picturesque and statistical touch.
- When one is writing for a travel trade purpose, one has to keep himself or herself abreast with all developments and terminologies of trade and commerce, which can be achieved by reading a lot of trade journals and publications.
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Kinds of Travel Writing: Before we really sit down to write travelogues, we should be able to guess who are our readers and what sort of publication. We are writing for. So, the different types of writings are: Promotional Literature Brochures, booklets, Pamphlets and other materials which are put by national and state tourism sectors with a view of inducing people to visit a particular area.
Style of Travel Writing: Style is the most important asset of Travel writing. It should not be a mere description and poetic phrases which would carry away the reader, which would be in vain at the end. Also, it should not be a repository of factual information, making it completely bald and dry. So, a travel writer needs to blend fact and creativity to make a place come alive to the readers. So, a writer must use very simple, short and plain English, use appropriate and deemed adjectives and avoid exaggerations and hyperboles as much as possible. One has to be like a reporter with keen and observant eyes along with being an efficient communicator being successful to portray people, places, customs and festivals etc. Therefore, one needs to be factual, imaginative, sympathetic, and relevant and enjoy the writing. A Travel writing which is written for a magazine allows a writer greater leeway in terms of style and content.
Conclusion: With tourism sector spreading its tentacles in all modes of life, people now travel for short periods, covering long distances and large areas comprehending as much as they can. People try to see a new world through the writing and impression of a writer who serves to be an informer, advisor and guide. The canon of travel writing has acquired the center of importance now rather than being in the periphery.