Where do the best travel stories come from?
AND I DON’T just mean every corner of the physical world, either — they can be spun out of even the most unexpected moments, thoughts and connections in our own lives.
Case in point: last night I attended a reading featuring several contributors to The Best Travel Writing 2009, the latest in the popular series of Travelers’ Tales anthologies.
The readers — Jill Paris, Peter Wortsman, and Matador member David Farley — all shared their contributions to the book, and guess what?
None of them had to journey to the ends of the earth to find a compelling travel story.
From shopping for traditional Austrian attire, to a less-than-wild expat unexpectedly finding his inner cowboy through the expectations of his French in-laws, and even to a long walk in Italy bringing the writer back to his childhood “special ed” classes, each story stemmed from wholly individual experiences and insights.
None required major external drama — a coup, or a near-miss on a mountaineering expedition, say — to function as free-standing narratives.
It was a great reminder — for me and other aspiring writers — that when we’re in search of our next story, we shouldn’t forget to look inward, too.
And hey, while we’re at it, take a look at My Chinese Clown, one of my favorite travel stories Matador has ever published.