Paul Theroux, probably the best-known travel writer working today, is a famous grouch and he does not like travel blogs. He told an interviewer in last May’s Atlantic -- who had suggested there might be a certain bloggish quality about his recent book -- that he loathes travel blogs. He finds them hasty, chatty and particular. “Blogs look to me illiterate . . ., like someone babbling. To me, writing is a considered act . . . something which is a great labor of thought and consideration. A blog doesn't seem to have any literary merit at all.” Not surprisingly, he does not write a blog.
In all fairness, one must admit the man has something there, plain-spoken as he may present it. And I know it can be answered that a blog isn’t literature: it’s blogging. But in which case one needs to have some reason that anyone else would want to read it. If you have just found a lost city or been raised up as a god by an undiscovered tribe, then the raw data feed could be interesting, but for most of us we need some art to make our more quotidian adventures of interest to others.
It takes effort to make something worth reading. It is not enough just to have taken the same train.
And if you want to know what Theroux thinks good travel writing looks like, see his new book, The Tao of Travel, a commonplace book of the great travel writing.