Behind the Blog Name

In Bruce Chatwin’s novel To Patagonia, he describes the South American desert as beginning on the banks of the Rio Negro. That this vast expanse of 900,000 square kilometers, better defined by its soil than any border, is actually noted to begin 120 kilometers further north at the Rio Colorado, is indicative of its vague allure that Chatwin succumbs to in his novel.

“The Patagonian desert is not a desert of sand or gravel, but a low thicket of grey-leaved thorns which give off a bitter smell when crushed. Unlike the deserts of Arabia it has not produced any dramatic excess of the spirit, but it does have a place in the record of human experience.”

For many travellers, like Chatwin’s Patagonia, the place they pursue exists firstly in the construct of their minds and it is through their journeying that a place becomes real. It is experience that defines existence and the relationship between person and place becomes symbiotic, in a similar relationship to reader and text. For Chatwin, his action of traveling to Patagonia was to explore the idea of journeying as a metaphor for our own restlessness, and to give new perspective to its voyager. Chatwin was clear in advance of the book’s American publication he wanted the blurb to convey that:

“Patagonia is the farthest place to which man walked from his place of origins. It is therefore a symbol of his restlessness. From its discovery it has the effect on the imagination something like the Moon, but in my opinion more powerful.” 

It is with this though that I write my own journey from England, through South East Asia and onward to the Patagonia in my mind. Whether I ever reach the elusive desert of South America seems as arbitrary as my current wanderings, but I hope that this travel blog of stories and information will inspire and help others on their own journeys.

Behind the Blog

I have always been in a rush: from school to college to university and straight into a job. Although I have always harboured a great passion for travel, born into my blood by two parents who have travelled the world on the old silk road or lived expatriated in Europe, I’d never taken the traditional ‘gap year’. After studying English Literature at university I became Online Content Editor for an international volunteering NGO; after two years of promoting world travel and international citizenship I decided it was time to take my own advice. So here I am: travelling for the foreseeable future in South East Asia, starting in Hong Kong and exploring each country slowly, savouring each and every one.

This blog is a guide to the places, people and things I encounter that I would recommend to friends, or things I wouldn’t. I am updating as I go and I promise to be honest, to fight against the natural travel writer urge to over romanticise, because real travel can be boring as well as exhilarating, it can open your eyes to a new world and also show you some things you’d rather not see, but that is all part of what makes travel the beautiful and worthwhile experience it is and always will be.

Follow my journey in pictures on Instagram.
Contact: maria.sowter@hotmail.co.uk


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