on travel and writing {and the challenges of travel writing}

{Tallulah Gorge State Park in Georgia}

The problem with travel writing is that little prefix of “travel.” Or maybe it’s the suffix that I tend to forget about with this particular trip; “with baby.” The problem with travel writing (while traveling with a baby) is that there is so much to write about and so little down time. I want to tell you about the amazing hikes we did in Georgia’s state parks, about the live bluegrass band we listening to in Dillard, Georgia, about the horses grazing just outside the front door of our rooms at The Dillard House, and about how I came to spend the day nestled between historic British cars, a mountain range, and a petting zoo in the Georgia Smokys.

I would also like to tell you about the wonderful book store in German Village in Columbus, Ohio, to alert you to the House and Garten tour coming up in a week (which I experienced years ago and which left me thinking that if I couldn’t live in Germany, than maybe a little German influenced neighborhood in central Ohio might do), and about how I’ve spent more hours in a car with a ten-months-old than I would have ever thought doable and just how many tricks for keeping a carseat-trapped baby happy I’ve learned along the way.

I’m taking copious notes in my travel journal and opening many unfinished word documents on my computer in an attempt to remember the essentials. To later come back and finish my thoughts and reflect on the things I really want to note and pass along about this trip.

I would like to be sharing these with you “in real time,” as they happen, but the problem with writing about travel while traveling with a baby is that the travel and the baby take precedence and what you’re left with is very little time to sit at the computer and type. When I used to travel alone or with other adults, I could always find the time to sit at a cafe and read or write, with many long pauses during which to do nothing but people watch or pensively stare into the distance. Now, I make mental notes while toting an energetic almost-toddler around, simultaneously taking in whatever sight or activity we’ve settled on for that moment and making sure that my baby is fed, happy, enjoying the task at hand, and that I haven’t misplaced my purse, phone, stroller, or hat.

If it sounds chaotic; it is. If it sounds daunting; it’s not. It’s no different from the juggling game we play daily as parents, only now I get to do it on the road and with my best friend along for the adventure. It’s been so wonderful to get so much time with T. after all the long days he’s spent at work up to the moment we left. Finally some family time.

I digress. As I said, the problem with wanting to write about all of these things as they are happening is that the writing about it would have to compete with the time actually doing the things I’m wanting to write about. I used to rely on naps for writing time at home but most naps have been taken on the go or in the car while we’ve been traveling so that precious writing time has dissapeared. Left are the evenings, after C’s in bed, but during those times, we’ve found ourselves with a cold beer or glass of wine in hand, family and friends around, and the desire to chat, catch up, and unwind.

I also want to reward myself for a year spent mothering, writing a huge amount of pages, and putting a lot of pressure on myself to meet deadlines. I want to actually take the moments of quiet on this trip to open a book and read. To relax. And not worry about the many unwritten posts and essays floating around in my brain.

So I leave you with a short little video with some of the beautiful sights from our hiking adventures in the Smokys and the promise to deliver delicious travel stories as soon as my hands have the time to tap tap tap all of those words unto the pages on my laptop. You can also find photos from our trip here.

I hope this finds you well, wherever you are while reading this. And I hope that you too have some fun travel adventures ahead of you this summer.


Currently reading: A Year in the World, Journeys of a Passionate Traveller by Frances Mayes.

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About simplybike

{Bikes, a new baby, and the story of us.}
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5 Responses to on travel and writing {and the challenges of travel writing}

  1. Christina says:

    I have had many similar thoughts while traveling – although I haven’t yet made an attempt to really write and keep a blog alive while in the midst of travel. And with my very big trip coming up myself, I feel a little overwhelmed with the idea. I too want to enjoy my travel, relax, and focus on the event. In the past, I’ve just used a paper/pen journal to jot notes and will probably do so again. As for keeping a blog alive during the time, I think maybe the best approach is to just give readers a couple photos now and then while on the go and leave the writing for recaps on a return. :-) Enjoy und viel Spass! Savor the moments :-)

  2. Kate says:

    Hey, at least you have a plan for your travel writing! I mainly just take pictures with wild abandon, then recklessly (oh, so recklessly) think “I’ll remember all this. Will just blog when I get home.” Then I get home and life starts back up, and next thing you know I went to England 11 months ago and haven’t blogged anything but the first day. For domestic trips, at least, Twitter and Instagram can fill in some of the blanks, but then I feel like I’m being taken out of the moment every time I bust out the phone. Quite a dilemma.

    I *swear* I’m gonna finish those England posts someday though! Maybe this weekend. (Umm…)

    Also, wanted to let you know that I included your blog in a little “blogs I love” round-up post. Here’s a link, if you’re so inclined: http://wp.me/pcdoH-Ai

    Happy travels!

    • S. says:

      Hey Kate,

      thanks for making me feel better. So what you’re saying is that I have at least 11 months before it really starts to get awkward with the vacation posting? :)

      And thanks so much for including me in the round-up! What an honor!


  3. So I am by no means a travel writer, but I think any kind of writing while raising children is difficult from my perspective. I feel very protective that people, especially mothers, get time to do it, though, because at least for me, it makes me a better person when I can regularly write and express myself, and it keeps me happier, less frustrated, and focused on the wonders of life, instead of bogged down with parenting trivialities.

  4. Stacy says:

    Just catching up on two months of reading blogs (still not caught up on posting my own). Just wanted to let you know you are in good company and we are all patient understanding readers. I do wonder if we were in Columbus at the same time, as our trip was in June as well.

    Rest well, and celebrate with love. Stacy

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