Travel, travellers and travel blogging… Some thoughts

We live in a super-specialised world and the world of travel and travellers is no different. It’s not enough to just say that “I like to travel” or that “I am a traveller”. One has to qualify what kind of travel you like or what kind of traveller you are. You’d be considered boring otherwise !

Don’t believe me? Well then, just see some of the words I picked up from the Twitter and Facebook bios of travel bloggers on my TL, which describes the kind of travel they do or the type of travellers they are.

Solo. Couple. Family. LGBT. Gay. Luxury. Heritage. Road. Backpacker (you can add variations in spelling here like backpakker, bacpacker, bakpakker). Nomadic. Wandering. Itinerant. International. Different. Newly wed (I kid you not!). Budget. Flashback. Mountain. Himalayan. Beach. Food. Frugal. Happy-Go-Lucky. Culture. Nature. Environmental. Rural. Eco. Weekend. Slow. Lazy. Grumpy. Happy. Lost. Spiritual. Religious. Ethical. Independent (really wonder what this means). Immersive. Adventure. Long-term…

One would think that the “variety” in travel / travellers would have automatically translated into variety in travel writing or blogging as well. Surprisingly, I have found that this is not the case. Sure, a lot of destinations get written about, but they are usually in the form of listicles, guides, travel tips, sponsored articles or articles espousing the cause of a particular type of travel (read the above para for examples). First-person accounts of travel experiences — which in my opinion is what any travel writing/blogging should be about — are comparatively few.

And therein lies my problem with travel blogging. As someone who blogs about travel (among other things), I know how important it is to read well in order to write well. The operative word here is ‘to read well’. Unfortunately, more often that not, whenever I read a travel blog post, I’m left with a feeling of “this is not about travel / this is not what I want to read in a post on travel”.

Let me elaborate with some examples the reason I’m peeved with the state of travel writing / blogging today.

1. Reducing travel experiences to listicles
Travel. Such a beautiful word, isn’t it? Full of mystery, excitement, anticipation and promise too. Each travel experience is personal and unique, shaped by our perspective and also one that shapes our perspective. To see all that reduced to “Top 10 (or any other number) things to do” or “What to See” or “How to Make the Most of”, etc. is something that makes me see red. I fail to understand how an entire trip or a destination can be reduced to a list !

Even web articles in travel magazines are increasingly becoming all about listicles. And most of them don’t make sense to me. Take this recent one on 9 Stunning Architectural Styles To Travel For In India — it neither gives the rationale for choosing the styles listed nor does it give the rationale for the order in which they are listed. But the worst thing about this list is not including temple architecture of India.

Many travel bloggers I know would argue that listicles are important in this day and age of short attention spans. My reply to them is this: listicles are an examples of lazy writing and not lazy reading. It would also help if you admit that listicles are good for SEO and diverting web traffic to your blog.

I think I started hating, really hating, listicles when I came across a blog post on “Top 7 things to do in Mumbai” (that blog post has been deleted). Since I’m a Mumbaikar and I was curious, I decided to check it out. I was shocked to see that the listicle was all about 7 things to do in a particular 5-star hotel in Mumbai, and nothing about the city per se. It was very obviously a sponsored post, though the blog post did not mention it.

2. Non-disclosure of sponsored posts
Many travel bloggers are professional travel bloggers in the sense that they are paid for the content they write to promote a travel brand / destination. I don’t have a problem with that. I do, however, have a big problem if there is no disclaimer about the sponsorship. For me, that is downright unethical and I have come across quite a few blog posts like that. I have also seen posts where the disclaimer had been added later.

I’m also wary of reading those travel blogs where a large number of its posts are sponsored, and therefore written only in the interest of the concerned sponsor and original content is minimal or missing altogether.

3. Focus on “How” instead of the “What”
I’ll be the first to admit that “how” one travels influences “what” one’s travel experiences will be like. I will also admit here that when the “how” takes over the “what” in travel blogging, it doesn’t work for me. Take solo travel / solo travellers or even backpackers, for example. They are so convinced that their way is THE way to travel, that it takes over their sharing of travel experiences on their blogs, their tweets, their FB status… There is more of “I travelled solo / I backpacked” instead of “I saw” or “I experienced” or “I felt”.

In case you are wondering, I have nothing against solo travel or for that matter any kind of travel or travellers. On the contrary, three of my travel ideals are women who have travelled solo, but their travel experience took centrestage; the fact that some of their travels were solo was incidental.

The first is Mandakini Talpallikar. Chances are that you haven’t heard of her. I hadn’t till about 8 months back when her autobiography came to my desk for copy-editing. She travelled in the Bellampalli Mines area of Singaneri Collieries in today’s Telangana (then Hyderabad State) in 1947 for her field work as part requirement for a Diploma in Social Work. Imagine this: a young, unmarried woman from an orthodox, Hindu family travelling alone in a caste-ridden society before Independence. Wow ! The second is Jayanti Pandey, who was a colleague in my first job more than 20 years back. I would be enthralled by her travel tales in Europe and got to know only later that many of them were done solo. The third is Rama Arya, a former classmate from London days and again with amazing travel tales to share. I got to know only 2-3 years back that her travels in Egypt, China and South Africa were solo.

What I’m trying to say is the fact that you travel solo or any other way is not unusual or unique. But your travel experiences certainly are for only you can see a place your way and that’s what I want to know and read about.

4. Disdain for “touristy” places and tourists
What
is it with travel bloggers turning up their noses and saying that “they don’t like to visit or write about touristy places and sites” as much has been written about it already and therefore it is no longer unique ! I always thought that places are not unique in themselves; it is the writer’s perspective and words that make it so. To illustrate, just read this fantastic blog post by Kevin Standage on the Taj Mahal and see how beautifully he captures the magic of the most touristy of touristy monuments.

Never mind that all thoughts and objections to touristy places disappear if a state / country tourism board invites you for an all-expenses paid trip. Just saying.

5. Quality of writing
There is a glut of travel blogs today. As it happens with too much of anything, too many travel blogs is not necessarily a good thing. Starting a blog is as simple as 1-2-3, though writing well is not. Sustaining it over weeks, months, and years is tough. The result is that finding good quality and readable new blogs is becoming increasingly difficult.


I could list many other reasons, but I think I’ll stop this long rambling post, and get ready for a confession: I have almost stopped reading travel blogs these days.

Till about a year or so back, I used to diligently read every travel blog that I had subscribed to or those whose links appeared on my Twitter and Facebook timelines. Today, I have unsubscribed to most of those blogs for one or some or all of the reasons I have listed above. As for the ones on my social media timelines, I just ignore them for the same reasons, unless it’s about a place that I’m interested in knowing about. The result is that I just read a handful of travel blogs regularly now.

So, these were my “5 Reasons for not reading Travel Blogs” or “Why I don’t like travel blogs anymore”. Of course, for obvious reasons, I say that these were my few thoughts on travel, travelling and travel blogging. 😉

What are your thoughts on this topic. Do share in the comments section. Thank you.


I would love to have you join me in my travels on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

52 thoughts on “Travel, travellers and travel blogging… Some thoughts

  1. Aah… interesting to see that I am the first to comment on your post, Sudha… and hope I will be by the time this comment gets written 😛

    When I first began blogging… that was about 8 years back, I think… there were such few travel blogs around, and most were indeed about experiences, as you have so rightly said. The personality of the writer.. blogger i should say… came through, and though I hadnt met any of them, I really felt as if I knew them so well through their posts… that, sadly has gone today, with,
    a. too many bloggers….
    and
    b. everyone writing almost the same thing or in the same way.
    i must confess here that while about 6 years back I used read almost a 100 blogs regularly, these days the number has come down to single figures…the ones i read regularly that is…

    the issue of full disclosure is certainly another thing that affects me. Its obvious when you read a post that is sponsored, and when you dont see an admission, it is irritating, esp when multiple people post strikingly similar posts, sometimes with the same material as well as photographs!

    However, I never cease to be surprised at the massive following of many of these blogs… which makes me wonder about those reading these posts, and whether they actually notice!

    About the importance given to ‘solo’ travelling or ‘backpacking’, i know many women who travelled solo either on work or for personal reasons. they did it back in an age when travel was not just difficult, but truly expensive as well as dangerous. maybe they didnt travel for travel’s sake, but that was a different era, and I admire those women a lot more, cause they did what was needed when it was needed, and did it so well. I just wonder if any of todays women can cope with even half of the issues and problems they faced. having said that, I would have loved to meet Mandakini Talpallikar and hear her stories. As for Jayanti and Rama, I have yet to meet Jayanti, but the next time I meet Rama, I know where the conversation is going to go 😛

    As for writing, well…. when people can write so well when they are writing for a publication, I wonder what it is that makes them stop writing well for a blogpost…. unless of course, they are no longer bloggers 😛 but that is fodder for a different post no?

    And now that this comment is growing as long as a post, I guess I had better stop, and pay some attention to my own blog which has been so ignored for a month… and with so many stories from my trip, I had better begin writing at once!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Congrats, Anu. You’re the first one to comment here, but no prizes or giveaways for that 😛

      I started blogging about 3 years after you did and even then the connect with other fellow travel bloggers was there, Now I feel the connect is there only when you get tagged in posts or tweets or photographs for sake of commenting or liking or retweeting.

      It is not just solo travel, but kind of traveller who insists that his/her way is the way to travel. Those who travel by road insist that one hasn’t travelled unless it is by road, those who like the Himalayas insist that that is where and what travel is all about. The list goes on.

      Regarding number of followers and stats and all that, I’ll admit that till about 2 years back, I used to obsess over them. Thankfully I’ve grown up now 😀 And no, people don’t read. That’s why listicles are there in the first place. 😛

      Do you think people, that with a couple of exceptions, people don’t write well on their own blogs because it doesn’t matter because (i) they are not being paid for it, and (ii) they already have a growing following.

      There is so much more that I wanted to write about travel bloggers and travel blogging, but the post had got really long. Which means that a Part II needs to be written. 😉

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  2. You seem to have forgotten “women only” travel groups!!! Piya Bose’ founded Girls On The Go (www.girlsonthegoclub.com) which is one of the few exclusively for women only travel companies which started off in 2008.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m not sure in what context you have mentioned Piya’s name. I know her and know of her and have been on one of the day trips she organised in Mumbai in 2011 to Elephanta Caves. It was a great trip and I have even written about in on the blog. 🙂

      If it is in the context type of travel and travellers llisted, then that was only an illustration.

      It it was in the context of expanding on the type of travel/traveller like I have done for solo and backpacker, then again it was just for illustration and to make a point.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. And that is why I pester you to share your trek photographs with me so that I can drool over the rocks and hills and mountains and then wax eloquent on the Geology of the area and totally forget the trek part. 😛

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  3. I completely agree with you about the attitude of travel snobs. What’s wrong with touristy places anyway? Is it the crowds they hate (do they miss the irony that they are adding to the crowds?) or is it that they have nothing new to say about the places? and if so, whose fault is that? And, whats with all the whining? Even Bill Bryson, I found in “Neither here nor there – travels in Europe” is whining 50% of the time. He is great when he is not, but when he is I felt like throwing up my hands and shouting “come on!” to him.

    I used to love reading travel blogs, once upon a time. I still love yours by the way. One of the few travel blogs I still read. I loved the “When I got spooked by Kali !” post. I could relate to what you were saying.

    Also, I love that you blog about temples and historical places. There is so much potential there. Living in a country where tourist guides are embarrassed to talk to Indians about history, I feel proud I hail from India. It also makes me sad that we take our temples, churches and other places of worship, intricate architecture and rich culture for granted. Another reason why I absolutely love your blog. Please do keep blogging 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hello Divya, thank you very much for sharing your thoughts and views.

      To be honest, I’m not too fond of tourist hordes and used to turn up my nose at places where there would be crowds. Till I visited the Taj Mahal in 2011 and realised that what all I had missed with such an attitude. Today, I do visit touristy places, but try and go on weekdays or on those days when there the crowds would be relatively less. I still crib about the crowds, though. 🙂

      There are quite a few of us who blog about temples and historical places. If you haven’t done so already, you must check out the blogs of Anuradha Shankar and Anuradha Goyal, both of whom have commented in this post.

      Thank you very much for appreciative words about my blog. So glad that you liked “When I got spooked by Kali”. For me that is the post of the year 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I also noticed the missing temple architecture in the post you mention and wondered how and why this post was written.

    As someone writing a travel blog for 11 years ( without lists so far) I can tell you – if you are a professional blogger, lists get you the eyeballs. More frivolous the writing, more eyeballs you get. Now what are you driven by – quality or quantity – that decides what you write.

    Having said that each of us will find the readers we deserve – quality would find quality and Quantity would find quantity.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. “each of us will find the readers we deserve – quality would find quality and Quantity would find quantity”

      Really, really liked what you said here. And it also makes a lot of sense as well. Thanks.

      The post on the 9 architectural styles got written as the editors probably felt that it would be a good one to do. As for the rationale, they probably thought that as long as the important colonial ones and the other better known ones were included it would be fine !

      11 years, Anuradha? Wow.

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  5. Sudhagee, precisely the reason I like to read yours. Recently, I was trying to decide on a place to visit where I can take my parents as well as children. But, all I could find on travel blogs were pictures and how to get there. But, hey, we can get that on google maps too. But, what is the story of the place? No info. But, would surely like to see some good ones.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is not as if more in depth information is not available; it is just that they don’t show up in the top 10 or 20 or 30, which are dominated by listicles ! Every travel website and blog use them to drive traffic to their sites. For the story of places, I now read books or ask for recommendations.

      Thanks, Lata for reading my blog, commenting and sharing them as well. Much appreciated. 🙂

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  6. Sudha, I have read your post more than once because there is so much said and a lot left unsaid.

    I think that writing today ( and I am not picking on anyone or a few people) has become commercial as has the world around us. People are writing to promote, to sell, to be noticed, to be ‘liked’. It does not matter to the ‘writer’ whether he is “read” or not. He is content with seeing the number of likes or page views.

    Then there is the category of ‘I know it all’. Today’s traveller has more resources, travels for work, travels for pleasure too and feels he knows it all. Hence the “I’ becomes a big word. As part of many e-groups which discuss travel I am happy to see how much people are travelling, that there enough takers for offbeat paths; yet, the number which simply ‘ticks’ things off their list and then equally easily forgets is mindboggling. Yet, they will be the first to respond with such guarantee. An example on suggestions on what are the must sees in 2 days in Istanbul: ” I have been there so many times. The city is lovely. Nightlife is fun. There is that underground thingie Sofia something; don’t miss that”. I fell off my chair. Sofia is not a thingie and is certainly not underground.!!!

    Another example that will never leave my memory. Coming back in teh funicular in Orvieto, we had a group of Americans drawling away on what they ate and saw. And a lady remarks, ” Hey, did you have that tpmato on toast kinda thing? You know? which the Italians swear by? ” They had just finished finished their meal but not one could even remember the name of the dish or even the alphabet it started with. When I volunteered ” bruschetta”, they said, ” yeah the same tomato on toast thingie”.

    I think what I see more and more is frovility becoming a part of one’s temperament. This then becomes part of whatever one does, including writing. ( Some horror stories from some of the discussions on the book club discussions I attend to shared in person).

    Do I sound judgemental? Maybe. do I sound as if I know it all and know it better? Maybe. But yes, I come from a very different school of thought where we take what we get with gratitude and sincerity and give it the same.

    Just as an aside: You know when I first did my first solo travel, it was a short 3 day trip outside Washington. I was in Class IX ( 1979) , was visiting my brother and wanted to explore the limestone caves just outside of DC. No one was free to accompany me but my brother encouraged me to sign up for a tour. He felt I was responsible enough to undertake a solo trip and yet I would be in a group hence safety. Hardly anyone travelled abroad then and solo travel was unheard of. That till date remains my biggest kick 🙂

    My next experience of solo travel was in 1990 when I was in Europe backpacking for 3 months. Those are possibly the tales you have heard of and my best and worst experiences still date to that trip.

    I would love to meet your friends Rama Arya and Anuradha Shankar.There is another Anuradha isn’t there? I would also be very keen to read what Mandakini Tallipalikar has written.

    Your posts are very ” you” , informative yet a personal account which is what makes them stand apart. If there are even a handful of people who write with the same seriousness and passion as you, reading and blogging will never die.

    I have mentally put a note to self to go back to travel writing. I don’t want you to unsubscribe to my posts 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Jayanti, the reason I remember your travel tales is because of the stories and experiences you shared. That train journey from Spain to Italy (?), being called Yayanti in Germany (ROFL), subsisting on fruits, cheese and yoghurt, your first view of the Sistine chapel; cold damp London… Not once did you mention that you were travelling solo. And that’s the point that I have been trying to make. Your experiences are more fascinating and unique than the fact that you travelled solo.

      I admit that travel and travellers are only reflecting the larger I, Me, Myself state of the society and technology enable this. In the race for numbers its great to know that you have travelled to X number of countries and only have Y number left to do. So what if after a point, what you visited becomes a thingie? 😮

      Thank you Jayanti, for your kind words, support and encouragement always. Both you and Rama were my first readers as well and it feels nice to have you respond here too.

      Cheers, and get back to that blog of yours and start writing 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Sudha ji, guess you forgot a special mention of lists running around of top bloggers too 😀 😀 … Mostly copy paste of here and there. Well, that is the prime reasons why Travel Forums are much more better than travel blogs at least in terms of reading the travel experiences or travel tales. I loved the way you have hit on almost all the aspects which one sees around today in the world of Travel Blogging. Unfortunate part is when you start blogging the conventional style of blogging is what is followed, the way how you see the SEO tips, the way how you see what others are doing, etc..

    I confess I am one of those travel bloggers too, but I try my best to be blunt and transparent and run it my own way than following any lessons on SEO 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dheeraj ji, guess I forgot about those lists especially considering that this blog is on some of them, 😉 I have now added it to the list of stuff I want to write in Part 2 of this post. Yes, there will be a part 2 as there is a lot that I could not include. When that post will get written though, is anybody’s guess !

      I have tried using fora, but have not really had a good experience there. Maybe I didn’t know how to be part of it or maybe if really was a one off, but I haven’t gone back to fora. Any suggestions for good travel-related fora?

      There’s nothing wrong in keeping SEO on mind while blogging, but it SEO is the only thing on your mind then well… I have nothing else to say.

      Good on you for doing it your way. Cheers 🙂

      Like

    1. What to do, Prasad? This became a serious topic for me. If only I had written this as a listlcle titled “10 reasons I don’t read travel blogs” anymore, then I would probably have not been so serious.

      I do plan on writing a part 2 to this post for there is a lot of points that I could not include (I don’t know when that’ll be though) and maybe I’ll take your suggestion and write the post in a lighter vein. 🙂

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  8. And I thought I was the only one who didn’t like ( won’t use a word as strong as hate) listicles. I could never understand the thought behind them. As you rightly said, travels are experiences and not just an itenary to follow. When ever I start with a travel piece, it invariable converts to a long post about the place , the experience and what I felt while I was there. And pictures, I just can’t avoid them!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh there are many who don’t like listicles. Even some of the listicle writers don’t like writing listicles, but when you’re paid for writing them and when travel magazines also prefer listicles what’s a listicle or two or even 10 ! :-/

      I guess it all just boils down to how much you are willing to compromise and how much you’re willing to adapt.

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  9. Since I do not really read many blogs, I cannot comment on the content. But, I can say emphatically that I enjoy reading your posts on travel, the photographs and narratives. Yes, travelling solo is a choice many women have made earlier – my late Aunt Stella travelled alone to Europe as a young girl of sixteen/seventeen in the 1930s – and that too during the World Wars. Even at that time she made it a point to send postcards of the places she visited and besides, she always made it a point to pen down a few lines of her experiences – that became her signature style of writing and communicating when travelling. I still have a few of her postcards.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Wow! I have heard you talk about your Aunt Stella, but didn’t realise that she had travelled in the 1930s. And I didn’t even know that you still had some of the postcards she sent.

      I would love to see the postcards that she sent to you. Can you please show them to me?

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  10. Oh My God, this is exactly how I feel when reading the so-called top travel bloggers. A few friends of mine, who are just starting in the category, are way better writers than the “famous” travel snobs. The way I see it, making Travel Blogging a profit making industry and trying to get the best from brands for traveller, is all good but the first and the most crucial thing has to be the LOVE to travel, to explore and to experience. Lists are fine by me, as long as they tell me the writer’s experience – like you mentioned, the WHATs.
    Wonderful and refreshing read. I’m leaving a link here, do read and let me know what you think. Hugs!
    Aditi’s Monologue

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Aditi, welcome here and thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your views here. Thank you also for your appreciation.

      I don’t doubt that any of the travel bloggers who are making a living out of it are not passionate about it, or that they don’t explore or live the experience. It is just that their writing does not reflect it.

      Surely, you didn’t expect me to check your link that reads “5 Offbeat Himalayan Getaways”. After I have declared my dislike for listicles? 🙂

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  11. Such a wonderful read, Sudha! Can relate to all those points. 🙂 As long as you are good writer, you can keep your audience engaged, whether it is a listicle or about a touristy place.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Shoma. Welcome to “My Favourite Things” and thank you for stopping by and commenting. I’m not sure if I can be a good mentor, but will definitely drop by and see your blog. Cheers 🙂

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  12. Brilliant write up . Completely agree with you. But I would like to share one of my personal experience . I tried sending my couple of article to one of the most noted Travel magazine , but the reply I got from the editor was like that my travel writing is ” 1st person encounter , my own prospective about the place ” which they don’t encourage usually. They want the list or an article promoting a place. I was very disappointed by that experience. I also believe that your travel story should be your own take on that place. it should not be formatted as someone wants. .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A very warm welcome to “My Favourite Things”, Parnashree. Thank you very much for stopping by and commenting and for the appreciation.

      Its quite a coincidence or maybe not, but a friend had a similar experience as yours and we were discussing this yesterday. It seems the days of one kind of article or write-up seems to be the norm. Which is kind of ironic as the very same newspapers and magazines ask you to be different and individualistic. 😀

      Hope you’ll keep visiting.

      Like

  13. Wonderfully summarized and though I guess I am guilty of a few myself I wholeheartedly agree with you. I guess this day and age travel blogs are no longer to just ‘stay in touch with friends and family on the road’ as so many claim and to truly share experiences with them. It has become a machine of (somewhat) fame and fortune and people like it. I must admit that, I too, write to be read. And when it comes to readers it also becomes a matter of quality versus quantity and sometimes (or more often than we like to admit) quantity wins and the list posts get longer. I realize that on instagram – the pictures I take that show the essence of something, that are artistic or really funny or special always get fewer likes than a turquoise beach/ocean shot will and it brakes my heart a little. But I’m also not immune to the likes so I continue to post the beach/ocean pictures.

    However, this post confirms for me to stay true to myself and the way I want to write and travel and just know that there will be people to appreciate it.

    And on a last note – when did become solo or female travel even a thing or a hashtag? And if you wanted to think rather deeply about it aren’t we always alone in one way or another and thus always travel alone simply by being an individual?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Annika, delighted to see you here and to read your comments too.

      I could relate to the Instagram part as that happens with me too. I’m never sure which pictures are going to get more likes and which are going to be relatively less liked. I have tried experimenting with giving less info and more info and have still not managed to figure out what works or doesn’t for more likes. 🙂

      But I have always been clear as to what I want to share on my blog and what I don’t want to share, how I want to write and how I don’t want to write. It

      I’m willing to admit that listicles may work for the bloggers who write them and the readers who read and appreciate them, but it is not for me and I will crib about it.

      Regarding solo travel, female or otherwise, it has become a badge of pride, a coming of age even, The media in India helps a lot in cultivating and promoting this image. The only kind of travel bloggers featured/interviewed in newspapers and magazines are (a) solo female travellers and (b) those who have quit their corporate job to travel.

      Its is as if none of the other types of travellers exist !

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  14. I was nodding all my way and felt happy for not doing the list makings just for the sake of selling trips to readers. Travelogues must be first hand accounts and should always be about personal connection. My view- Sponsored posts and contests are easy to find if they have back links, its not always necessary to mention. In fact I feel its more important that if you are doing a paid thing, must write your original piece as to why you are standing by it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Manjulika, for sharing your thoughts and views here.

      I didn’t mention it in my post, but I dislike blogs that are overrun with contest posts. It is almost as if the blog exists for just participating in contests and memes. I don’t read such blogs either.

      Coming to the point of mentioning and according to me, any kind of association needs to be mentioned – contest or sponsored. Backlinks are not enough as not everyone checks the links or trusts the links provided.

      The problem is there is no code of conduct or guidelines for bloggers with regard to sponsorship and it is entirely up to the blogger and to a certain extent the sponsor to decide how the disclaimer is to be written.

      I was once approached to collaborate on a photography project and the sponsor clearly said that they did not want the collaboration or sponsorship mentioned. I refused. I know other bloggers who did it.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I just read a couple of blogs on travel, yours being one of the two 🙂 Not having travelled much I enjoy the personal accounts and experiences you share, whether it is the collection box and the cow or the cute smiling sculpture or the Kali experience, it is all about being there with you virtually. Being true to your blog, your writing and your experiences is more important than being up there in the popularity charts. I loved the point about the how of travel taking over the what and why. Suffice to say that I will read your blog as long as you continue blogging and I hope you will, forever 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much, Zephyr. I’m humbled and incredibly honoured that I’m one of the two travel bloggers you read. Your opinion, comments and encouragement mean a lot to me and I always look forward to them. I hope that my posts, travel or otherwise, will always interest you. And yes, I will continue blogging for as long as it holds my interest. 🙂

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  16. Sudhagee, agree to the points made. Listicles focusing on luxury can be downright boring by forgetting aspects, describing the grandeur of a city which has its own charm and appeal. One should always put the disclaimer or else it takes the reader for a ride, giving another image.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Listicles serve their purpose, but to share entire travel experiences as listicles just because readers expect it so is nothing short of absurd. The ironical thing is listicles on travel websites are usually read by tourists, a group that travellers detest. 🙂 So yeah, its funny.

      Like

  17. Hello Sudhajee ..
    I landed on your blog .. with the .. the-rao-jodha-desert-rock-park/ link in the Alternative ..
    And I am Wowed by your blog ! – And thru this post of yours .. read the Desi Traveler .. and watched the Beauty of the Taj .. anew. Many Thanks.

    Your writing has an easy flow .. and It is a refreshing read when it is unpretentious.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah sure Sudhagee ..

        I already responded to your Dear Goa .. and as I read and browse your site, I realize I have tread a few common grounds, and that brings up some memories.

        Your – Street Art at Bandra – was resplendent. I have only seen Wall Graffiti .. The Paintings enveloping a whole House .. like BAPs Bollywood’s First Superstar was better than a 3D Movie and mesmerizing. I have been in Mumbai with family this March on a five Day Holiday – staying with friends (classmates) – at Powai and Thane Hiranadani. I was at Bandra en-route to the sealink. I might have gone there for an Offbeat visit and proudly bragged.

        Instead, I had my Friend drive us out to Aarey Milk Colony .. for an Offbeat destination .. was non-plussed. Somebody said Chhota Kashmir – I Ogled and when I was there – I was furious with myself. The first time ever I was put off in my Travel.

        Golkonda 1970-71: for 2 years we stayed in a 20 acre farm .. a Stones throw away from Golkonda. Was at Hampi 2 years back .. and besides everything else wowed by the Panoramic Boulders strewn with lush greenery. En-route made it to the Historical and beautifully preserved Chitradurga fort. From Hampi, we made it to Bijapur too. Was ambitious to do Badami, Aihole and Pattadkal .. but too much greed and too little time. 1985 – The Ellora. And the Delhi-Chandigarh-Manali-Simla-Delhi-Agra circuit about 2009.

        So I can relate to them .. Besides charmed by your vivid Story telling in words and pictures plus perspectives.

        Regards,
        Sagi / Blore.

        Liked by 1 person

  18. The only travel blog I read is yours. When I need information on specific places that I am travelling to, I rely more on talking to people who have visited there and then reaching out to friends/acquaintances who live in the region or have lived there. Travel blogs are largely disappointing to me because so few of them talk about travelling with kids DD’s age. If I am to visit a new place, chances are my trip is entirely geared towards making it an interesting one for her. Yet, I have come across very few people who travel with kids that age or maybe they do travel but they don’t blog about it.
    Your blog is one though, that I can refer to as a handy guide for much needed information. So keep up the good work, Sudha and in case I haven’t said it before, a big thank you from all of us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You should read Anuradha Shankar’s blog, A Wandering Mind. She travels with her son, who is roughly DD’s age. Till then, let me bask in the honour of being the only travel blog you read. 😀

      Thank you so much, MM. I’m kinda overwhelmed with all the love, good wishes and positive thoughts that keep coming my way for the blog. 🙂

      Like

  19. Interesting post Sudha and very strong words, I must say. I agree to disagree with a few points here. Blogging is today professional and so, it has to make money for bloggers. It is not a personal diary anymore and once has to make the balance between experiences, information, photofeatures, lists, sponsored posts etc.. You cannot label everything and put them in one basket. Content and quality is purely personal and subjective. As any medium has to make money, it has to have a mix of things. Ive been in media for way too long to realize that .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m never sure how to respond when someone says “interesting post”, so will leave it at that. As for strong words, I do feel strongly about what I have written. Do allow me to elaborate.

      1. For me a professional blog is not necessarily just one that makes money, but also one that is professional in its approach to being transparent about sponsored posts, among other things. For a ‘professional’ blogger, a blog may have moved beyond that of a personal diary, but for a general reader a blog is still a personal space, a slice of the blogger’s life that is being shared. In such a scenario, it is important to be transparent about sponsored posts. As I’ve said in the post, I have no issues with sponsored posts; I do have an issue with posts that don’t declare that they are sponsored or written in association with a brand.
        I also don’t like posts where the content is given by the sponsors and it is just put on the blog without any personal context to anchor it. Recently, there was one such post on several blogs with near identical words and photos. It was quite comical actually. 🙂
      2. Why only content and quality, everything is personal or subjective — whether to write only about one’s experience or mix it with other types of writing or even if one wants to make money from blogging or not.

      Thank you, Lakshmi for sharing your thoughts and view point here. I appreciate the frankness with which you have written it. Yours is one of the few travel blogs that I read and I have a lot of respect and admiration for your writing.

      Cheers 🙂

      Like

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