After four years as Editor-in-Chief of In The Know Traveler, I realized that I wasn’t doing exactly what I had planned for the site. Yes, ITKT gets plenty of readers, writers, stories and travel information out into the world, but when I started developing ITKT, I had hoped that it would be more than just a travel site.
Part of the global community in Malasia
I hoped for a global community capable of seeing beyond cultural and religious differences, a group of like-minded people that “got it” and understood that international travel may be the best way to appreciate our differences as people.
Travel is not just about a great vacation. It is culturally important, more so now than ever with technology making our world smaller and smaller. I believe we need to know more about each other. I realize that our differences are something to be interested in and something to learn about. I can’t be the only one, can I? Please tell me that I am not wrong.
I know that I dare falling into a deep pit of kumbaya with an overly sentimental view of a hopeful world. Unfortunately, I can’t help but believe there is a better way of acknowledging the myriad of different world cultures without having to make one better, or more correct, than another.
So here I am starting Travel. Write. Live., a resource for travel inspiration, conversation, travel writing help and a hope to make the global landscape more tolerant and enthusiastic toward different perspectives without the desire to change those differences into a homogenous glob of sameness – viva la difference!
I also want to share the parts of travel about shutting off our brains and recharging. I cannot help like being pampered in a fancy resort once in a while. I love letting a guide lead the way and not listening to the history they are telling me, being lost in a crowded unfamiliar city and tuning out the foreign language around me, or sprawled out on a lounge chair on an empty beach. Travel is broad, unique and diverse. It is too big not to be personal and life changing, but not big enough to justify being chopped into small bits. I don’t think it is a good idea to make this a limiting web site.
Wow. That sounds like an awful large chunk to bite off. I completely understand that I am going against traditional logic that recommends going after a small market to capture an audience – Devin’s little niche, as it were. I am sure this would have been a safe strategy.
I am not looking for safe. The “niche” concept goes against what make sense to me for the long term. I have chosen to not present teeny crumbs to people because no matter what people say, our lives are not small, not teeny crumbs. Our lives cover huge space that affect those around us, and affect each other’s lives. We are supposed to know each other.
Perhaps more importantly, we, as people, are far smarter and more complex than what conventional wisdom suggests. I want to promote an international community where we can be who we are.
For those who believe in the importance of smaller bites, I am going to work with one overriding principle: we should understand travel as important because the people we meet along the way are more important than the attractions we see. Our understanding of the Middle East is routinely absorbed by what we watch and read on TV, in the newspaper and online, which is more often than not a narrow view of that part of the world. Unfortunately, this is a limited perspective. The individuals who live in these places are far more important than a 30-second sound bite from a general in the middle of a war or a congressperson trying to pass more laws in the name of homeland security.
Let me let you in on a little secret. I lean a little closer toward you. Don’t tell anyone. It’s people first.