For me travel is all about experiencing life and cultures that are different to our own, hopefully learning something in the process, so I hope this is reflected in my blog. Other places doesn’t simply refer to a geographical sense but a psychological one, where we have a sense of the “other”, something we don’t really know much about or understand. People construct false images of places, often from news headlines, which in reality have little to do with the culture or everyday life. The brutality of authoritarian regimes is almost never reflected in the character of its people, but the news doesn’t always convey that fact. Even though most people are intelligent enough to realise their image is a simplification, the mind likes to fill in the blanks with preconceived ideas. Rwandan people, for example, cannot be defined by the genocide, they are no more prone to violence than anywhere else but people still ask me, “is it safe to go there”? Of course this works both ways, anyone would think that my own country, England was almost entirely defined by Manchester United FC, if you went by the comments I’ve received on my travels.
Hopefully my efforts with the blog make a modest contribution to broadening the perception of places that either never appear on anyone’s radar or if they do it’s because of the wrong reasons.
I don’t regard myself as a professional travel blogger in the sense of making any kind of living from it, in fact I don’t want to make money from it. As far as I can see the monetising of blogs is usually the kiss of death to originality and quality - the endless quest of social media optimisation demands the constant churning out of material, where quantity often trumps quality. However, I do make a conscious effort to improve the standard of my writing, whether for serious posts or the solely humorous ones, like The Top Ten toilets of Tajikistan