With the 'Ice Bucket Challenge' currently sweeping the globe involving people pouring ice water over their heads and nominating their friends to do the same, it seems timely that I recently received a request from Mandy over at TAWK www.travellingaustraliawithkids.com to participate in a 'Why I write' blogging chain letter.
At the time I was busy getting organised for our three week mid year road trip to Lawn Hill and back so I promised Mandy I would get busy writing my version of 'Why I write' when I was back in my office.
So here I am.
I've decided to add a variation to the theme and have titled my article 'Why I Write (and film)' because I'm also passionate about film making as a means of sharing my adventures so it doesn't make sense to talk about one without the other.
Why I write (and film)?
The fact that I enjoy writing at all is kind of baffling to me because in my school days, right up to and including year 12, I would have preferred to do anything else BUT write. The word 'essay' brought about a feeling of dread in me and I was much happier tackling more technical subjects like maths and physics which had very definite 'yes' or 'no', 'right' or 'wrong' outcomes.
Having said that though, I was always a voracious reader and read novel after novel right through my school days and beyond. It was reading historical and adventurous books by the likes of Wilbur Smith that planted the seeds that grew into a passion for travel that has proven to be insatiable. You don't get travel 'out of your system', travel is a drug that satisfies some sort of primal urge to explore and find out what is beyond the horizon, and like most drugs it is highly addictive and the more you have the more you need.
At the same time I grew up engrossed in the films made by The Leyland Brothers, Malcolm Douglas, Alby Mangels and the many others who brought the world to my small TV screen (and occasionally the cinema) through their films.
I especially loved the 'ad hoc' and 'warts and all' nature of these films more so than the big budget highly scripted destination type shows. To me travel is much more about the experience of travelling itself than it is about the destination - "it's all about the journey" is a cliché for sure, but it is absolutely true.
Knowing how much these authors and film makers have influenced me and inspired me to chase my own travel dreams I feel like they have unconsciously passed the baton on to me and now I'm sharing my experiences so that I can encourage and inspire other people to get out and chase their own adventures.
What am I working on?
I'd love to have the time to write and make films a lot more and I could create an endless list of projects to cover. The reality is though that having a family and a business to run, writing and film making are passions that for now have to stay in the 'part time' category.
Right now I'm working on a plan to enlist the help of other road trip lovers to work with me to build this website into something much bigger - a community driven road trip blog that has answers to all of the questions that people have when planning their road trips.
This is an exciting project that has been on the drawing board for along time so expect to hear a lot more from me about this very soon - follow us on Facebook or join our Newsletter list below to be one of the first to hear about it.
How does my writing differ from others in my Genre?
As I mentioned earlier, travel for me is much more about the journey and experience of travelling than it is about the destination. There are numerous TV shows that show you one spectacular destination after the other and they certainly cater to a large audience.
You'll also find unlimited numbers of articles online talking about any destination you can think of.
The trouble is that I find myself far more interested in what is going on behind the camera than in front of it, or what the experience was like getting to where the writer or film crew are.
This is why 'The Big Lap' is so much more about our journey than it is about the places we visited along the way.
I suppose the best analogy I can think of is being a climber (which I'm not) - climbers don't climb mountains because they like the view from high places. There are plenty of spectacular views at the end of sealed roads. They climb because they love the challenge of climbing. Reaching the summit is the reward for the work and the mark of success but it is the journey up the mountain that drives them. And usually the more challenging the better.
Why do I write (and film) what I do?
I'm at least 20 years away from retirement and becoming a grey nomad but I'm sure that when I do I'll enjoy sitting outside the caravan and writing a novel or three that I have in me just itching to get out.
Until then though I'll keep writing about and filming my travel adventures, because at the very least it gives me a legitimate excuse to go travelling, but on a higher level I genuinely want to drag people out of their comfort zone and push them out into the world.
We've quite literally had hundreds of emails and Facebook messages from people telling us about how they loved 'The Big Lap' and it has inspired them. Not all of them are going to chuck it all in like we did and take off for a year or two. For many people it's about long weekends, school holidays and long service leave. The Big Lap will wait until they retire.
And that's absolutely fine.
My hope is that I can continue to show people that you don't need a big budget or the latest 4WD or caravan to have a great road trip adventure. Even with the most basic setup and minimal funds you can have an amazing experience right here in our backyard.
How does my writing process work?
Writing and film making are both part time 'passion' pursuits for me so the process is fairly ad hoc and subject to available time.
Given that I'm not a daily blogger or vlogger, I can go days and weeks between writing or film making activities. In an ideal world it would be my full time pursuit but the reality is that to make a good living from writing a travel blog and/or making travel films you need some fairly heavy duty sponsorship.
You may have noticed that many of the travel and adventure shows that you see on free to air TV on Saturday and Sunday afternoons and cable stations are full of product placements, product tests, logos on shirts and sponsorship at every opportunity. Sadly they've become virtual 'infomercials'.
The reason for this is that the networks rarely pay anything for the tv show and offer the producers the opportunity to get their show in front of an audience for free or even sometimes for a fee. The network makes their money by selling ads around the show and the producers make their money through the product placement and sponsorship within the show and backend sales of DVD's, t-shirts etc.
This is probably over simplifying the situation but that's generally how it works.
While this model generates a decent volume of content it's not something I'm that interested in chasing.
For now I'll continue to run my marketing business and write and film wherever I can for Expedition Australia and we'll see what the future brings.
Over to you Annabel Candy
Another Aussie travel blogger you may have come across is Annabel Candy whose site www.getinthehotspot.com is jam packed with content.
Annabel I'm officially hand balling the 'Why I write' baton to you and I look forward to reading what you come up with.
Thanks again to Mandy at www.travellingaustraliawithkids.com for nominating me - at least I didn't have to pour a bucket of ice water over my head for this challenge!