Travel and techology (Ciaochessa)
Blog Words : Alastair Humphreys | 20 January

Travel in the blogosphere

Personal satisfaction, sharing stories with friends and family, or reaching out to a wider audience: travel and technology

A while ago I teamed up with Wanderlust’s Editor, Lyn, at the Travellers' Tales Festival in London. We were sitting on a panel that discussed how the internet can help people document their travels.

I thought it may be helpful to sum up some of the information with Wanderlust readers here. We talked about the three phases of going on a big trip.

1. Pre-trip: Planning, research and forums

Someone will almost certainly have already done what it is that you wish to do. Accept it, embrace it! Join the Wanderlust forums and seek out advice.

2. During your Journey:

There are many questions you should ask yourself before committing seriously to using the internet during a journey:

- Who are you aiming at? Why?

- What's the point?

- Running a website during a journey means you need to regularly update it. How will you do this?

- Will it add to or detract from the travel experiences you are having?

- Are you committed enough to keep updating regular, relevant material?

It has become increasingly easy to combine the internet with a journey. Many trips, for example, could be documented beautifully from just a Blackberry or iPhone!

I try to embrace all the new sites and trends that come along, test them out, and drop the ones that don't work for me. I am not a geek. All the sites I have listed below are user-friendly, simple, and free.

Afterwards:

I use the web to make a living as a speaker and travel writer. I try to use my website to showcase interesting travel writing, inspiring nuggets, and good photography. I try to get things into print media – newspapers and magazines – but it is ferociously difficult. The internet is a superb way for newcomers to poke their noses in and get involved!

I have produced three books so far. I love writing books, but – as yet – I make little money from them. I got my foot in the door of book writing by self-publishing my first book after endless rejections from publishers. I am a real evangelist for self-publishing for people who are not celebrities but who have a decent tale to tell. This holds true for ordinary books and for photography books.

Finally, a list of free, simple web materials

That can help you get going, or get going further in the online world. I recommend you have a quick dabble with them all and see what works for you:

Blogger: easy starter site for blogging

All Google's free stuff: docs, Maps, Mail. All these could be valuable for your journey as they are web-based so you can run them from any internet cafe. You don’t need to take a laptop with you.

Tumblr: classy, simple blogging option

Vimeo:  nicer version of YouTube

Facebook

Skype

Twitter

Podbean: make your own Podcast

Moo: great business cards for giving to people you meet on tour travels

TwitPic

Flickr

Spire Publishing:  who I published my first book with

Make your own magazine (but please don’t topple Wanderlust!)

What do you think?

Is documenting your travels a way of adding something extra to the journey, or is there a risk of spending more time in internet cafes than out “there”?