Your travel writing is pithy, funny, and ‘beautifully written’…but does it matter? Josh Johnson wonders how we can make our travel writing more relevant.

RECENTLY I THOUGHT: Does what I write matter? Aside from being a way to express myself, does my writing actually serve a purpose?

It seems to me that most travel writing doesn’t matter. Personal adventures, marketing couched as ‘destination pieces’, and ‘look-how-cool-my-trip-was’ essays seem to make up so much of amateur and even professional travel writing.

Most people don’t seem to mind their travel writing doesn’t matter. They are writing to relive the experience for themselves, or to ‘be creative’, or to try and make money. Which is fine. I do the same.

But I have to ask myself: Why am I writing? Why should I continue? How can I take the next step in my travel writing?

I would like to become much more relevant. I want what I write to matter. And by “matter” I mean be important, relevant, timely, and meaningful to the community at large. To help evolve literary forms, to encourage readers to gain new perspectives. But how?

This is not a post with answers. This is a post with questions.

  • Where are the spaces we can fill that traditional writing leaves vacant?
  • What stories can we tell that matter?
  • What should our goals as individuals and as a community be?
  • How can we make our travel, and the writing that comes of it, more timely and relevant?
  • What are the elements of relevant travel writing?
  • How can we incorporate those elements in our writing?

I put it to you. Please respond in the comments with your thoughts and if your travel writing does indeed matter, tell us why.