I have been “on the road” for just over a month now. I received a Fulbright research grant to spend six months in Malaysia studying coastal tourism development. The first month was a whirlwind tour that included about a week each in Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu (mostly house hunting), Singapore (for Chinese New Year), and a road trip from Johor Bahru to Kuala Terengganu (one of my research sites). We have had some amazing experiences and living a life that makes many of my friends quite envious (though not in a bad way).
A few friends have asked me if I was going to post photos or blog.
As usual, I have been taking a lot of photos. I average about 200
photos a day that I keep (out of the many more that I take) when I am
visiting new places. Normally, I do try to post some photos and blog
some about my experiences. However, that does take time, and for me,
that time usually comes at the expense of sleep. This time, my wife
has a request from her friends to post photos of our trip on Facebook,
so I have been letting her do that. Occasionally I will share those so
that my friends can see them, as well.
Now that I am settled into my semi-permanent home in Kota Kinabalu, I
guess I do not have any more excuses for not blogging about our trip –
and trying to get a few photos posted. Which raises a question in my
mind about why — why do I feel the compulsion to blog, or two write in
general. During this past month I gave two presentations on
researching, writing and publishing tourism research (at two
universities). And, as usual, I mention my passion for writing, and how
much I enjoy writing. Not everyone has that passion, though most
people in academia these days are under pressure to write and publish.
I think the desire to write, whether it be an book, journal article
or blog post, meets to important human needs. The first is the desire
to connect with other people – the people who read our writings. Even
if we do not know them, we still get satisfaction from reaching out,
with a degree of trust and optimism that someone will listen and be
appreciative. The second is the desire for introspection. Writing
requires thinking through thoughts and exploring ideas that would
otherwise lie dormant in one’s mind. Putting them on paper makes them
more concrete, forges new thought connections, and gives a sense of self
discovery and existential creativity.
Travel also gives the potential for discovery and existential
creative experiences. Writing about our travels, therefore, brings us
full circle in a journey of understanding that includes both the outside
world and our inside world. Writing about our travels also brings us
full circle in connecting our known home (and friends) to our new places
(and new friends).
Not everyone has the need to do this, but a lot of people do,
resulting in the popularity of Facebook, Twitter, and specialty travel
blogging and comment websites. It may also have to something to do
with the proliferation of academic journals on tourism – over 160 of
which currently exist!
You can follow my escapades in Malaysia by going to : http://aalew.blogspot.com
This blog is cross-posted at: http://hospitality.blognotions.com/2012/02/07/have-blog-will-travel/