Why “After Spokane”?

One of my favourite pieces of travel writing is “Travels with Charley: In Search of America” by John Steinbeck. It’s everything a great travelogue should aspire to be: it evokes a great sense of place, it’s equal parts informative and contemplative, and it leaves you inspired to recreate the journey and experience every moment again yourself. Furthermore, it is littered with great quotes. This is one of my favourites:

“After Spokane, the danger of early snows had passed, for the air was changed and mulsed by the strong breath of the Pacific. The actual time on the way from Chicago was short, but the overwhelming size and variety of the land, the many incidents and people along the way, had stretched time out of all bearing. For it is not true that an uneventful time in the past is remembered as fast. On the contrary, it takes the time-stones of events to give a memory past dimension. Eventlessness collapses time”.

It seemed appropriate to give a nod to this quote when naming the blog.

Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck

What do I define as “travel writing”?

My definition of travel writing will be intentionally broad. It will include both serious and less serious non-fiction books with a strong travel theme. It will include a number of fiction books which are heavily tied to a particular location (or locations) e.g. “The Beach”. Basically, I’ll consider most books loosely connected to travel, and I’m more than happy for others to recommend books via the comments facility, for example. As per my introduction, this is very much not intended to be a monologue.

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