Some end-of-year reflections

 

Street art in Santa Teresa, Rio

I have a 101 (well, at least a few) useful posts I should write following my South American trip; you know, the kind that’ll maybe show up higher in search engine rankings, if I optimise them for SEO and there aren’t that many relevant answers online.

But is that really what I want to write? Information on how to book bus tickets in Brazil may well be the kind of useful thing people are looking for (flagship or cornerstone content, if you like) but I look back on the posts I used to write when I first travelled and they just seem more real, more wanderlust-inspiring. Sure, there was lots missing (even photos in some cases!), but they really captured how I felt, how incredible each new day was. Did I lose that somewhere along the way?

 

Colourful and quirky umbrella art in Arica, Chile

I feel like there’s a fine line between the two and I don’t always know which side I should fall on. Practical tips and info are great but they can date easily – do you expect a blog post to be kept up to date in the same way as a new edition of a guidebook or one of the big travel sites?

Arica, now part of Chile, previously part of Peru

Often when I research a new location for a trip, I’ll google things to do, find a really useful blog post but never return to that site again. Why? Is it just a transaction, taking the piece of useful info and then moving on to the next of my 30+ google searches a day? What is it that sometimes hooks me, makes me stop and look around, eager to find out more about where this person has travelled?

I guess, like any good travel writing, be it in print or online, it’s the voice that grabs me, be it warm and funny (and hat-tip to anyone who achieves this, humour is really difficult to nail) or quirky and intriguing. Some people could write about a trip to their local Tesco and make it the most compelling thing you read all week, because their personality shines through in their writing.

Laguna Roja, Chile

If I’m honest, the pieces I enjoy writing most are the ones which only get a handful of hits every year, like this one about my adventures in the Bolivian Pantanal. Not many people visit the Bolivian Pantanal – if you’re going to visit, you’ll normally stick to the Brazilian side – so it’ll never bring many people here, but that’s fine with me. For those few people who search, maybe curious about visiting somewhere off the beaten track, I hope maybe just one of them will be inspired to book a trip, or investigate further.

A big thank you to everyone who’s read, liked or commented on Saltwater this year – special shout out to the #WanderfulWednesday community. Safe and happy travels in 2018!

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