When I launched Perceptive Travel way back in January of 2006, we started off strong: in that first issue were Peter Moore, Rolf Potts, Jen Leo, Howard Stephens, and Bruce Northam. I appeared on podcasts recently hosted by two of those people and have had some great adventures with one of them since, probably connecting in person again in a couple weeks.
I was hoping this online magazine concept launched on a shoestring budget would survive long enough to make it to the next decade. Many online magazines thath got millions in venture capital funding didn’t, but we kept plugging away and we’re still here, putting out the best travel stories on the internet each month.
Publishing travel narratives is not really a smart thing to do from an objective standpoint. Google, especially these days, rewards listicles, big brand stories, and fluff. As you’ve probably noticed, they also fill most of their first page now with ads and links to products or companies they are making money from. Their objective is no longer to give you the best information or (especially) to give you something inspiring or interesting to read. Plus after they killed off the most popular RSS reader, people stopped following specific sites except on social media, which then started suppressing results from publishers.
Thankfully, Perceptive Travel is but one site that I run and there are enough travelers who want to read quality content that it has managed to at least break even on an annual basis. In some ways it’s like a public service project. I feel that somebody has to keep long-form narrative travel writing alive somewhere besides in books, so I guess it’s going to be me.
Thanks to everyone who has tuned in now and then and thanks even more to the e-mail subscribers who hear from us each month when a new issue is out. On to the new travel stories!
One of the most prolific and talented travel writers I know is Rory MacLean, who just put out his 14th book. As someone who was writing about the fall of the Berlin Wall when it happened and has traveled regularly in the region since, he’s got the kind of perspective on Eastern Europe that’s hard to find elsewhere. We’ve got an excerpt from his new book that has one of the greatest titles ever: Pravda Ha Ha. See Hungarian Lies: Budapest and the Manipulation of History.
That photo at the top is from Beebe Bahrami, who has written several stories about long walking routes in Europe. Trekking in Cornwall, England, on Saint Michael’s Way reveals a pilgrimage through prehistory, presence, enchantment, and legend, including rock-throwing giants. See Bowling With Giants on St. Michael’s Way.
Madelaine Triebe is a guidebook writer who has spent years traveling around South America and is usually frantically researching opening times, bus schedules, and restaurant menus. She takes a big step back from that with five days of horseback riding off the grid in the Andes Mountains with some very basic places to lay a sleeping bag, guided by gauchos of few words. See A Horseback Trek in the Andes with the Argentine Men of the Mountains.
What happens when you come face to face with your possible future self in one of the wildest places on earth? Our middle-aged author Laura Resau finds out when her jungle tour traveling companion in Ecuador turns out to be another HSP (highly sensitive person) who is decades older and three times as annoying. See Finding My Ghost of the Future in the Amazon Jungle.
Just as we have since 2006, we review travel books each month because, well, not many publications (besides a few like Outside and the New York Times) seem to bother anymore. As an author I love Amazon and Goodreads, but most normal people who post on there write just a few sentences and don’t have a history of reading hundreds of travel books like our two reviewers have. This month Bill Caverlee does the honors and there are three great books to check out here.
At this point I usually highlight the travel gear we’re giving away to subscribers, but if you’re not one you’ve already missed it this month. We’re giving away a MerinoLUX high-quality flannel shirt from travel clothing company Royal Robbins. Click the pic to check it out. If you’re on our list and missed it over the New Year’s revelry haze, dig through your inbox and bulk folder.