The Birth and Future of the Travel Blog

The Birth and Future of the Travel Blog

Tales Told From The Road was born in the summer of 2009.

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It wasn’t by any means the first travel blog. Nor was I the first travel blogger.

But I’ve met the person who gets credit for writing the first travel blog post way back on January 6, 1994, even though, technically speaking, at that time “blogs” didn’t exist, at least by that name.

So how did this landmark in travel writing come to pass? And why was the author responsible for it locked later into an apartment on the San Francisco peninsula for ten days and prohibited from contact with the outside world except online?

I met Jeff Greenwald about three years ago when he was the featured speaker at the Left Coast Writers Literary Salon meeting, a monthly gathering of writers of all genres, including travel, at the legendary Book Passage Bookstore in Corte Madera, California, north across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco.

Jeff’s Snake Lake, one of six books that he has written, had just been released. I knew back then that he was a travel writer, but just this month learned that he deserved the title “Father of The Travel Blog.”

Last week, Jeff was a guest on This Week in Travel, a Google+ Hangout and audio podcast hosted by Gary Arndt (Everything, Everywhere), Chris Christensen (Amateur Traveler) and Jen Leo (JenLeo.com). At the beginning of the Hangout, he talks about the primitive technology used to create that initial travel blog post. Later in the show, he discusses travel projects in which he’s currently involved and, of course, being locked away from the world.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZP0hxVae_0o&feature=share
As Jeff points out, electronic communication and publishing in years to come is as likely to be as different from what it is today as today’s Internet, World Wide Web, and blogging was from the online world of twenty years past.

What will Tales Told From The Road be like in another few decades? Since I’ve long been a “Space Cadet” of sorts, perhaps I’ll be blogging from Mars, or even from places no blogger has gone before, provided I live at least another 47 years when, per the Star Trek TV series and movies, Zephram Cochrane will invent the warp drive, making interstellar space travel even easier than flying from San Francisco to Los Angeles on one of today’s commercial airliners.

(Tales Told From The Road publisher, Dick Jordan, was a guest on “This Week in Travel” last August. In addition to watching the Google+ Hangout, you can subscribe to the show’s audio podcast on iTunes or, better yet, listen to the show with the “This Week in Travel” iPhone app, as Dick Jordan does while working out at the gym. You can read more about Jeff Greenwald’s historic blog post in this story on Wired.com.)

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