Friday, June 3, 2011

Travel Journals as Books

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Recently I started playing around with the idea of compiling a book sourced from two travel journals documenting my 2008 and 2010/2011 round the world trips. The book would also use updated content that has appeared on this blog.

As an interesting side note, despite many attempts, I have never been able to sustain the habit of maintaining a daily journal – or diary. I have made numerous attempts at this, but always failed dismally. However, I have never had trouble writing daily entries in my travel journals. These journals, by the way, are all written straight onto my computer. On those rare occasions when I do not have access to my laptop, I write the old fashioned way, with pen and paper, and retype my handwritten notes as soon as I can get to my electronic notebook.

But back to the idea of a book.

As an experiment, I copied and pasted both travel journals into one MS Word document, and to my amazement, found that the total length of the unedited ‘book’ comes to 426 pages. Formatting the document to reflect as close as possible a standard paperback book size of around 130mm x 200mm, the size of the unedited manuscript blows out to a massive 796 pages!

Clearly, I’ve got a lot of editing to do – but who knows? Cutting the number of pages down to around 300 might result in something resembling a real travel book.

I don’t know if anyone will be interested in reading my musings or observations, or even if I could find a publisher for it. I suspect not. Find a publisher, that is. Hopefully though, one or two family members might at least be interested in reading about my ramblings, but I can’t even be sure of that.

Never the less, I’ve decided to start chipping away at the manuscript before I embark on another major journey. The prospects of adding several more hundred pages of new notes to an already bloated document will only make the job of editing the larger work even harder, so the sooner I get started the better.

As for a title – I’ve got a couple of ideas I’ve been toying with – Travels With Myself or maybe, Travels With My Self, which reflects my propensity to travel solo, but that might be too twee. The other, which I like a lot more is Of Such Small Pleasures. I used this title in a short blog post I wrote back in May, 2009, which described a scene as I walked along a local suburban beach. This title ultimately led me to write the following poem which pretty much sums up my approach to life and travel.

Of Such Small Pleasures

The wind that plays with the golden leaves,
The fire that warms a mid-winter freeze.
The snow that melts, and the dancing foal,
Of such small pleasures are my days made whole.

The plaintive call of the newborns cry,
The look of love in a mothers eye.
The sounds of laughter without control,
Of such small pleasures are my days made whole.

The open road, and the chance to roam,
The parting glass, and the welcome home.
The morning frost, and the evening stroll,
Of such small pleasures are my days made whole.

The ageless heart that will always play,
The galaxies of the Milky Way.
The gift of love as the days unroll,
Of such small pleasures are my days made whole.

The autumn sun, and the harvest moon,
The joy of children; the songbirds tune.
The words I sing to enrich my soul,
Of such small pleasures are my days made whole.

The wish to give, and the strength to fight,
To carry on into the fading light.
To stand up tall when I reach my goal,
Of such small pleasures are my days made whole.

Of such small pleasures do I fill my days,
The thanks I offer - let me count the ways.
When each day starts with a flowing bowl,
Of such small pleasures are my days made whole.
© 2009, Jim Lesses. All Rights Reserved.

I’m not going to get all hung up on titles at this early stage of the game. Besides, something more appropriate may present itself during the editing and rewriting process – and I have plenty of that to be focussing on in the foreseeable future.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

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