I have chosen to create my final project to focus on travel blogs. The first quote that comes to mind is McCarthy in Kirschenbaum’s Track Changes: “technology reveals us to ourselves as we always in fact were, networked, distributed, laced with code” and this can relate to our wanderlust, the desire to expand our horizons and travel to new places. We as humans are distributed throughout the world and naturally create our own social network that is capable of expanding beyond physical borders with the help of technology and travelling. Some choose to document their national and international travels through the use of these travel blogs. I know I did. When I went on my study abroad, I knew I had to document my experience. It is through my weekly posts that I gained a few followers, some of them being fellow travel bloggers, and I in turn was interested in their travels therefore I would follow their blogs as well. It is through my personal experience that I became interested in the subject of travel blogs and how they act as large influences for the tourism industry. Thus, it has led me to ask a few questions: ‘what are the purposes of travel blogs?’, ‘how have they affected the travel industry?’, ‘how are people reacting to these blogs?’, and ‘how have these blogs affected literature?’ in terms of how we approach travel writing and what it entails. These questions have led me to configure the title for my project, Wanderlust, because I believe that this is the main function of travel blogs. They consume us, as readers, with a strong desire to travel.
How I plan to approach this project is to first discover academic literature to provide me with context and answers behind my questions. For example, in Social Media in Travel, Tourism, and Hospitality, “travel blogs were identified not just as a good platform that can communicate travel experiences outside of the narratives of tourism marketers but also an effective tool for promotion, product distribution, management as well as research” (Sigala et. al, 191). Alongside academic literature, I will explore other forms of literature, such as a blog post from Ramsay which suggests that the importance of travel blogs is to document historical events, “some of the most important moments in history have been recorded on film or written down by travellers. Make sure you take your camera and pen everywhere” (Ramsay). And this suggests how bloggers utilize different tools to incorporate into their travel blogs, which I believe will also be essential to research into further. I also plan to analyze other famous travel blogs to gain insight into the popularity of these blogs and what they include to attract an audience (for example: http://www.12hrs.net/#welcome). In addition, I plan to analyze my own blog (https://notallthosewhowanderarelost2015.wordpress.com/) as well as the blogs that I personally follow (such as: https://wwellend.wordpress.com/). It is through this analysis that will provide me with my own insight into the matter which I can compliment alongside the insight I obtain from academic scholars.