If you've read my weblog for a while now, you'll recall that not only do I love reading a good travelogue, I enjoy writing them as well. I think my love of good travelogues are experiencing another person's observations of the places they visit and their experiences in the new environment's context. My all-time favorite travel writer is Paul Theroux, because he tells a great story and writes vivid accounts of the places he visits. That combination, when done well, can make me as a reader feel as if I were along for the ride.
Today, as I do every day, I loaded up the weblog of my buddy and fellow Palm OS USer Council member, Michael Ashby (Mashby) and saw that he's posted his Natchez Trace bilking travelogue and photo collection. I knew about Mashby's bike tour plans because he tried to convince me to join him. As fun as it sounded, the timing just wasn't right, but I kept Michael in mind then on, knowing what he was facing.
Anyway, Mashby survived his trip but I was chomping at the bit to read his account and was rewarded today with his first postings. After reading through post 01.07, I came to realize just what a great storyteller Mashby really is. He shared his doubts and fears, physical challenges, local history, personal backstory and even joked about the horde of electronic gizmos he'd regretted hauling as he hit fierce headwinds like a brick.
I love this bit:
"OH MY STARS was this heavy. As soon as I moved Juliet away from the wall I knew that this was more weight than what I trained with. How much heavier? DOUBLE. Clearly the computer junk I had thrown in the panniers was nothing like what the final load ended up being. Flashbacks to my first month in the European tour flashed in my mind. I spent a month in some incredible pain as my legs adjusted to the load I was carrying back then. Would this tour have my legs crying the whole time?"
Hee hee! Oh man, I can just imagine the look on Michael's face at that point! This is what I love about reading good travelogues... you get not only the description of the event, but also an experiential and visual image of the event and teller.
Anyway, just wanted to provide a little encouragement and exposure for Michael Ashby, who I admire greatly for what he's done on his bike tour. I can't wait until his full account is posted, and hope he bundles the travelogue into a nice downloadable e-book in Palm Reader, iSilo and Palm Doc formats.
Congratulations buddy -- well done!! :-)