Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Voice Critique

It seems pretty easy to establish a voice when writing a blog, particularly if you're writing about your travels. Creating a voice that doesn't alienate potential readers is another thing entirely. After all, what is blogging but a means to interact with others and acquire a readership? In this post, I'll be looking at a fellow blogger's posts drawn from her blog as a person torn between her native home, and the one she adopted whilst traveling. I stumbled across Lisa E.'s Homesick Wanderlust whilst hunting for travel blogs that hadn't been abandoned or relegated to self promotional topics, and after a few posts (okay, I admit, I was hooked from the moment I learned that she's an Anglophile and yearns to return to the UK...a bit of that kindred spirit thing, if you catch my drift).

What I really like about Lisa E.'s Homesick Wanderlust, is that she writes with a confident, yet easygoing tone. I feel like I could see myself getting wrapped up in a conversation with her about all of the things I miss about Europe after reading a few of her posts. With this blog (she has another devoted to her personal every day life), I feel Lisa E.'s passion for the UK and in her wistful retellings of anecdotes blend with recountings of her other travels and tips. The title of her blog alone conjures the desire to be in two places at once. Ever since I've returned from Ireland, I feel like I'm torn. Half of me wants to be in Galway, and that part never really missed Los Angeles at all. The other half is slowly reacclimating to being at home, and is eager to dig into the heart of this town and really explore it for all its worth. I wonder if it's possible to feel homesick for a place you've only resided in temporarily, which makes me re-evaluate my definition of "home." As for wanderlust, I do think that traveling is addictive. I can't say I appreciate the actual "traveling" part of it, but the feeling of being in a completely different environment (even the ones that seem similar), and exploring the unknown is such an overwhelmingly liberating feeling. It's almost like a high, if that analogy isn't too radical to state, and it's one can be universally understood.

One of her more recent posts, dedicated to things she daydreams about when nostalgically thinking of London, grabbed my attention. Her descriptions of images, and sounds that pervade the city where so clear that I found myself nodding along in agreement while I was reading. Her recollections of the Underground, or "Tube" as it's fondly referred to, had me thinking of the sounds those two words summon in my own mind.
The soft beep of the Oyster Card reader followed by the forceful clunk of the turnstile doors.

Another post, a slightly older one lists signs that you're turning into an anglophile, or simply recognizing that you have been one. It's a lighthearted list of things, from thoughts on British names:
You no longer think names like Hermione and Rufus are just cruel pranks British parents played on their helpless children.
to well known British shows (like Top Gear, which is absolutely addictive even if you know zilch about cars):
While watching Jeremy Clarkson’s hysterical review of the Ford F150 pickup truck on “Top Gear”, you don’t even realize it has been modified as a right-side driver until he points it out.
to musings on conversions (of money, measurements, etc.):
You find yourself calculating pound to dollar, working out GMT/BST or converting Celsius to Fahrenheit without even really thinking about it.
As with her Daydreams post, I found myself nodding in agreement to more than half of the list that Lisa put together. Even if I didn't spend a lot of time in England, her enthusiasm for the country and its culture translate so well. She's incredibly straightforward, and I like that her writing is devoid of any extraneous embellishment. Her admissions to hunting for bargains on flights or accommodations make the blog feel relatable, and as a new reader, I feel inclined to continue reading because it doesn't feel like she's preaching about her knowledge as a traveler. No reader wants to feel as if they're getting a lecture each time they check a blog for updates, and the fact that Lisa manages to relay information about airline deals, or accommodation tips as if it were advice passed down from a well traveled buddy makes her blog more appealing to read.

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