Welcome to Deskbound Traveller — where you don’t need to book a holiday to get carried away.
On this site I won’t be helping you to pick a good-value insurance policy or find a cheap flight. Nor will I be recommending hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions. (If you’re looking for advice of that kind, let me suggest you start with telegraph.co.uk/travel, where I used to be an editor and to which I still contribute occasionally.) My purpose here is to direct you to the best narrative travel writing on the web.
Big changes have been taking place in the media’s coverage of travel over the past five years or so; bigger than any I have seen in the 20-plus years I have been working as a travel writer and editor. There’s a greater emphasis on the advisory and the practical, on “news you can use”. The travel pages of newspapers (or media organisations) are more useful now than they have ever been. But there’s a drawback: the app is in danger of killing off the armchair read.
Hence the need for Deskbound Traveller, which is deliberately impractical. As an editor, I demanded that writers find hooks and pegs to hang their pieces on. Here, I take a more liberal line; a line that admits the timeless as well as the topical. Deskbound Traveller is a celebration of the kind of travel writing that conveys a strong sense of place or opens up a culture; the kind that’s worth reading for itself.
I look for it not only in the pages of travel sections but in new books (fiction and poetry as well as non-fiction), in the dispatches of foreign correspondents, in literary reviews, and in the work of those bloggers I think deserve a bigger readership. I also watch the work of up-and-coming photographers and illustrators with an interest in travel.
My intention is to link to great travel storytelling wherever I find it. Under “New writing”, I also publish extracts and work-in-progress that you won’t be able to find anywhere else.
I hope that, when you’re reading Deskbound Traveller at a desk in an office, on a tablet in your living room, or on a mobile phone during your commute, it will take you somewhere else.
I’m a journalist and writer. I’ve edited three anthologies of Telegraph travel writing and written a memoir about my boyhood in Portstewart, Northern Ireland, during the Troubles. For more of my own work, see uk.bookshop.org and links to my pieces on the Telegraph site or here on Deskbound Traveller.