Good travel writing is like sitting down in a Barcelona square for a cold beer, a plate of olives and a few hours of breezy conversation laced with a Mediterranean breezes. It’s that refreshing.
This week we feature three stories: a watermelon-lime drink, the small town of Boone, N.C., and the Sevilla, Spain, food scene. Click on the author’s name to go to their Twitter page. Click on everything else to go to their post.
Nicole Gulotta’s Eat This Poem makes it into Words of the Week for the second time. Why? Because her writing is amazing. Every travel writer and foodie must subscribe to her blog; it is a masterpiece.
We chose her recent post about watermelon-lime agua fresca because of the poetic nature of the piece. Rather than writing a quick-hit recipe or relating the drink to life with a pithy, “I like this drink because because its small and pretty like some of my favorite things,” she exerts a force of transcendent creativity as she weaves her personal life into the significance of this drink:
Lately, it’s the small things that get me. Literally small, like the stack of onesies I opened at my baby shower earlier this month. Or figuratively small, like a series of moments strung together in a day.
Sipping this drink, rolling down the car window and smelling salt water, having my feet rubbed, sending an email to a friend, the melodic sound my necklace makes as I let the long string collapse into the bowl that holds it each night, reading three pages of a book before falling asleep with my Kindle in my right hand. I’m trying to remember everything.
So you can see why something like agua fresca, fruit and water, can be both plainly refreshing and mildly life-changing.
2. Linda Sinclair, Smithsonian, “Boone, N.C.: Living in the Wilderness”
As travel writers, we feel pressure to be descriptive. If we are not careful, our campaign for description can become a tacky parade of extravagance. Sinclair’s article is a reminder that restraint colors the beauty of description.
I cannot know, except through books, what early scouts and settlers would have seen here, but living on the edge of these wisely protected lands gives me a tiny taste of wilderness. I consider it a gift and hope it remains so.
We really like the introduction to this story. In a few sentences, Kerstin draws us into the Seville food scene. We also like the terse first sentence — it’s a nice set up for the descriptions that follow:
Iate so well in Seville … We dribbled over dollhouse platters while roosting on stools tucked under shelves, over crates, next to zinc or marble bars. In each place, no matter how cutting edge or trendy, you’d see old couples disembarked from the countryside, dressed in their town best – hair set, lipstick on, suit and waistcoat brushed, perched along counters, eyes narrowed knowledgeably, lips pursed, little nods of acknowledgement – shrewdly tasting.
Words of the Week Continues….
WotW is an ongoing series dedicated to excellent travel writing. Do you have a post you’d like to suggest for future editions of WotW? Tell us through a comment or send us an e-mail.