What will happen to travel writing?

Bookninja pal and reader Bert Archer (and his allied tradespeople) might be clutching at pearls right now, but this guy says to not worry. Travel writing might also go local. Not sure that’s really a don’t-worry scenario for people who are addicted to globe-hopping, but it’s good enough for me.

By the time I finished my editorial work on this year’s edition of The Best American Travel Writing—about five weeks into my state’s mandatory stay-at-home order—I’d had plenty of time to think about the future of the form. During the first few weeks of lockdown, I was invited on to a podcast with several other travel writers to discuss “Coronavirus and Predictions on the Future of Travel Writing.” With gloom and doom, I speculated about magazines suspending publication, compared this to how travel had “irrevocably” changed after 9/11, and declared that this was “the extinction event” for a certain type of travel publishing. To be honest, I had no more idea of what might happen than anyone else, and I still don’t. But I held forth anyway, and I am aware that whatever I write now, in the spring of 2020, may seem naïve, hysterical, or wildly inaccurate by the fall, when the anthology is published, never mind a year or five from now.

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