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Best Sites For Travel Writing

Travel Writing

It seems like it’s hard to find a good travel blog these days. The industry is inundated with young travelers who hope to emulate the success of such superstar travel bloggers as Nomadic Matt. And with such a low barrier for entry – anyone with a computer and some extra time can start a blog – it’s as if everyone with a gap year trip has a website of their own. The field is saturated with sites that are closer to travel diaries than to travel writing, with watered down descriptions and overly personal narratives. Not to mention that many blogs also seem to be dominated by sponsored content. The heyday individual travel blogging may be waning (although a few veterans like Legal Nomads are still going strong).

Fortunately, innovative writers and journalists are stepping in to fill the void.

These sites blur the line between blog and magazine – there is no single figurehead in charge of the blog, yet many of the stories are deeply personal narratives. The sites on this list feature well written and unique stories told from new and unexpected perspectives. They inspire deeper awareness and respect through telling previously untold stories. Ultimately, they encourage readers to travel better by exploring culture and providing context.

Roads and Kingdoms

Although Roads and Kingdoms is a relatively new addition to the blogosphere, it’s already been voted Gold Winner for Best Travel Journalism Site by the Society of American Travel Writers. Founded by a former TIME Magazine foreign correspondent, this multi-author blog is putting out content that rivals the best travel writing from National Geographic, The New York Times, and Travel & Leisure. Not only is the site well-designed and easy to navigate, but the founders and editors have managed to enlist a bevy of talented writers and foreign correspondents from around the world to report on some truly fascinating subjects. The site features articles on off-beat locations, like Wonsan, North Korea’s premier beach town; interviews with photographers such as Wesley Thomas Wong, who has been photographing the annual Big Ice and Snow World festival in Harbin, China for the past five years; and in-depth examinations of political happenings and current events, like this piece on a shop in Istanbul selling ISIS merchandise.

Warscapes

Warscapes
provides a much-needed view into war-torn regions and conflict zones around the world. Through publishing fiction, non-fiction, poetry, interviews, book and film reviews, photo-essays, and retrospectives of war literature from the past fifty years, the site aims to provide a counter-narrative to the mainstream media’s portrayal of these regions. The site tackles complex issues like “art institutions and their collusion with the politics of imperialism” and features first-hand accounts of battle like this story from an Armenian soldier fighting in the Nagorno-Karabakh War of the early 1990s in a mountainous region of present day Azerbaijan. Warscapes is an excellent resource for understanding complex political crises and gaining insight into the human-side of conflict.

The Culture-ist

The Culture-ist is a travel blog with a purpose. While it may be a bit closer to a traditional travel blog in that they feature city guides, how-to’s, and lists, their content is guided by a mission to “spread the word about innovators, entrepreneurs, activists, artisans and philanthropists around the world” and they hope to foster more respect and awareness through sharing stories about food and travel. So, the lists are of eco-friendly hostels around the world, the how-to’s help readers to prepare for traveling long-term by bicycle, and the city guides encourage tourists to act like a local. From food trends around the world to musings from millennial travelers, this site is a wealth of information.

Nowhere Magazine

Nowhere Magazine is actually an online magazine. It is released quarterly as a downloadable issue and the latest iteration even features pages that turn like a real magazine. The focus is on literary travel writing, which they define as long-form narratives “with a strong sense of place, character or time.” There are no reviews of spas or hotels and there are no lists of best beach towns around the world. They run stories about living on a farm in Tuscany and motorcyclists riding across the deserts and mountains of Northern India. In addition to the original writing that it publishes, the magazine also reprints some travel writing of the past, like the story of a cross-country hitchhiker by Edward Abbey that was originally printed in 1977. Somewhere between travel journalism and travel diary, Nowhere Magazine offers the best of both worlds.

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