travel writing

Mission Improbable – The Trouble with Traveling to Improve your Country

From February to June 1787, with all of his necessities packed in a single trunk, Thomas Jefferson traveled “incognito” by coach, barge, and sometimes mule across most of France and Northern Italy. Reading the extensive diary he kept of the trip, one encounters many passages like the following.

In the boudoir at Chanteloup is an ingenious contrivance to hide the projecting steps of a staircase. Three steps were of necessity to project into the boudoir. They therefore made triangular steps, and, instead of resting on the floor as usual, they are made fast at their broad end to the stair door, swinging out and in with that. When shut, it runs them under the other steps. When open, it brings them out to their proper place.


Mission Improbable – The Trouble with Traveling to Improve your Country

 

From February to June 1787, with all of his necessities packed in a single trunk, Thomas Jefferson traveled “incognito” by coach, barge, and sometimes mule across most of France and Northern Italy. Reading the extensive diary he kept of the trip, one encounters many passages like the following.


Donut Miss Your Flight

8: 25 AM

2/14/15 – Incheon International Airport

“Excuse me! Sorry! Excuse me! Excuse me!” Trying to keep up with my sprinting legs, these words flew out of my mouth as I barreled through the bowels of the international departures terminal. My 40-liter backpack bounced awkwardly with each massive stride, despite the white knuckle grip I had on the straps to keep it as close to me as possible. Families and businessmen came into focus only long enough for me to gauge whether to weave right or left. Unwilling to rid my side of the cramp that had developed since passing the food court, I held my pace as I closed in on Terminal E – Gate 6, hoping like crazy that Terminal E – Gate 6 wouldn’t close on me


The 99% Theory

IMG_2567Why is it that the most defining experiences of our lives are often the most difficult to describe? Just when we need the “right words” the most, suddenly we have none. Try as we might, it seems impossible to string together the most accurate series of adjectives, nouns and verbs.

Does our desperation to paint the perfect picture override our cognitive abilities and cause our brains to force-quit? Should we have been paying closer attention in the moment in order to have a better memory of it later? Or, is it because there are some things in this world that can only be seen, heard, tasted, smelled, touched and felt by means of personal experience, and there is no substitute for the real thing?


Blatant Pimping: The Worst Motorcycle in Laos

We usually don’t demean the fair cyber pages of this blog by something as base as promotion, but screw it, I’ll shed my secret identity and let the cat out of the bag: I, Chris Tharp, aka “Mr. Motgol,” got a new book out YOU should stop what you’re doing right now, click on the link below, and buy it. Hey, it can’t be that bad. After all, these guys had some nice things to say about it:

“In The Worst Motorcycle in Laos, Tharp takes us on a wild ride from the neon streets of Tokyo to the dirt tracks of Indochina. The essays are insightful, humorous and unflinching. A great read for the active and armchair traveler alike.”

- Michael Breen, author of The Koreans


Bored in Korea? Read a book! Teakettle Mountain Released on Amazon



Slide1Teakettle Mountain, the story of one loser English teacher’s quest to not be a loser, has been re-released on amazon.com. Check out the story reviewers are calling “a joy to read”—available now for $2.99, less than a third the cost of a cup of coffee in our adoptive homeland!

Update: Now available for free!
Get your copy here.


Interview with Author, Essayist, and Travel Writer Rolf Potts


Interview with Author, Essayist, and Travel Writer Rolf Potts

Originally Posted on Bosmosis.wordpress.com

If you’ve heard the term ‘vagabonding,’ there’s a good chance you’ve heard the name Rolf Potts. Though he invented neither the word nor the concept it denotes, he has done more than anyone to promote it as a viable travel ethic, describing it in his 2003 book Vagabonding – An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel as a deliberate way of moving through the world, “an extended time-out from your normal life –six weeks, four months, two years – to travel the world on your own terms.” Now in its 15th printing, Vagabonding has been hailed by some as a postmodern classic and has inspired thousands of would-be wanderers to reevaluate their priorities and hit the road.


Interview with Rob Whyte, Lonely Planet Korea author

Anyone who travels and writes has at some point thought about being a travel writer. For most of us, that dream remains confined to diaries, blogs, local websites, and missives to our friends and family back home, but some itinerant scribes of course do make the leap to professional travel writing. Rob Whyte is an instructor at Busan University of Foreign Studies, and he’s also been a part-time travel writer for about the past ten years. He co-authored editions six, seven, and eight of the Lonely Planet Korea guidebooks, and has a host of other travel-related writing to his credit, including other upcoming Lonely Planet publications on ethnic food.


“Getting There”

This is a short narrative post I initially set out to write for Groove Magazine‘s “Share Story, Win Trip” writing competition. The call came out for ‘funny’ travel stories where a lesson was learned. The winning pieces would be read out loud dramatically. Frankly, there just aren’t enough of these kind of encouraging writing opportunities in Korea. I could say more but I’ll get distracted.

I started writing mine and about two paragraphs from the end I decided that it wasn’t a travel story. So I stopped writing. I came back about a week later and took another crack at it, tidied it up but left it loosely over the 500 word limit, which kind of left it for any kind of flash litt and too short to be considered anything else. Still it’s a good story. You’ll laugh. I hope. 

Getting There


  It was

  It was like a building that held The Blues, the synchronized groaning of agonized souls, set to a cadence beat out on the hollow desk-tops of inner-city schools across the country: Palm-palm-pencil! Palm-palm-pencil! “Boom-boom-clack! Boom-boom-clack!”

From the mouths of every student, stories of mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, aunties and uncles murdered, dead or in prison. The stories varied, getting better, more spectacular, as they encouraged each other along in their telling, acting out, writing, rewriting, and rewriting, animating, adding detail, retelling, re-acting out, etc… I wish I could print those stories exactly how the students wrote them, themselves. But they were tossed in the trash, with everything else in my classroom, upon order of the school principal. I still have the memories though. Here are a few stories:


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