Travel writing

In Asia on April 24, 2010 at 5:13 am

Though I have one final left (French, c’est vrai), I am completely done with school mode.

Me mode has kicked in with canoeing (suck it, Robbie) and the painting of one wall (I’m not just lazy, it’s for an “accent”) with one coat of paint in my living room.

Planning mode started about two hours ago when I dove into the digital tangle of travel sites on Japan. I have since spewed random questions into the infinite blackness that is the antiquated “discussion forum.”

I have no further answers beyond a vague idea that I will still probably get a Japan Rail pass and definitely probably want to rent a local through a voluntour guide program.

My main concern at this point is laminating signs in Japanese and Korean that read “Take pity on me for I am a stupid, lost American” or something equally as heartbreaking.

I’ll figure it out.

But it is official, I will be in Korea from July 7 to August 17 during which time I want to head over to the land of the rising sun because only a fool would tease themselves with a layover in Tokyo only.

Also, because I am in journalism school and a writer (that order should be reversed to indicate the correct relative importance of those items), I want to do some travel pieces.

The main issue here is that I need to pitch super-specific ideas to editors if I am going to get anywhere at all.

So far, the only inspiration that has struck me is regarding the bathroom adventures I will surely have. Because I have these in the states (hello, red-lit, photo room-like toilet in L.A. and the Port Authority in New York with everything in between), I figure that is something that I would like to do.

Yes, novelty themes are easy and amusing, but I can’t see how this would be taken up by a serious editor. And maybe serious is not what I want to do anyway.

But still, what do you think would be a valuable and fresh angle on traveling abroad in Asia?

  1. I’d first like to point out that “suck it” is probably not a beneficial command/suggestion for growing an audience – or more specifically – wooing a high-profile writer with an audience of thousands and the power of influence at his very fingertips.

    General vulgarity aside, the prospect of bathroom humor and travel writing occupying the same literary sphere is a combination that has always intrigued me to no end. I’ve entered many a historic sports john in my day – one in Fenway, one in the Rose Bowl, multiple in the Orange Bowl, one in Yankee Stadium, etc. – and I have to admit that each has both bettered my life in some impossible to quantify way… and left me with a nagging sense that I must honor it in words.

    On the other hand, I think that a series of articles detailing the crowns of Asians heads’ would be right in your wheelhouse. I also feel like this is an angle that has not yet been covered (if only because of the logistical height issues involved). You could talk about head shapes and dandruff and hair styles and, in general, what we can learn from the Japanese/Korean cultures simply by “looking down on them,” so to speak.

    You could call it, “The View from the Top.”

    – Robbie

    • Oh Bobby. You really are a gem. It’s quite amazing that you knew I would respond so positively to such an inappropriate suggestion as “The View From the Top.” Being seriously considered.

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