Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Blogger Appreciation: Scribblings from Sarajevo & Hungary Heart

Lengthy international travel used to mean that someone was out of our lives for the duration of the trip. Phone calls were prohibitively expensive, so communication was done by pen and paper, or, more typically, not at all. When the traveler returned, you would listen to their rehearsed narrative of the experience, while you handed pictures around in a circle.

The internet has changed that, making real-time updating of travel possible. Two great examples of the new mode of blog travelogues are Scribblings from Sarajevo and Hungary Heart. Both offer the vicarious thrill of living abroad through the eyes of Kansas Citians.

Scribblings from Sarajevo
chronicles the experiences of Melinda and John - two people I met and chatted with briefly at Hooper's. They've relocated to Sarajevo for a year, and Melinda will not be working during that time, so we can look forward to lots of updates (and maybe even a novel). The joy of this blog and others like it is its immediacy. Today, we get Melinda's bemused reaction to a machine that jiggles your cellulite. That is exactly the sort of detail that adds to the oddness of being abroad, but would never register clearly enough on your memory to be included in a post-trip narrative. Similarly, her descriptions of seeing kittens and shopping for an apartment would be lost to those of us back home, and probably to her, as well, as memory fades.

Hungary Heart is my daughter's blog, chronicling her semester abroad in Budapest. It features less daily detail than John and Melinda's blog, but it makes up for it in terms of some wonderful reports on traveling though the Hungarian countryside with a roving band of college students. Again, though, the amazing thing is the breadth of detail and its immediacy. The old lady with "the beer bong of wine" in the Valley of Beautiful Women would probably be lost in the wealth of details Ali will accumulate over four months in central Europe. And the photographs are half the fun.

Both of these blogs, one by a virtual stranger and one by one of my favorite people in the world, connect me to places I've never been, and provide a surrogate form of experiencing fresh and strange surroundings and culture. They do so in the fashion of the best travel writers of the past, but infused with the digital photography and immediacy those writers lacked. The work of these and similar writers is shrinking the world, and enriching it with details we'd otherwise never see. Thank you to both of them!

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Anonymous Rhymes With Right said...

Looked at your daughter's blog -- and her pictures.

Looks like she is having a great time.

And clearly she got those good looks from mom!

10/09/2007 6:08 PM  
Blogger Spyder said...

I do enjoy Ali's posts.

10/10/2007 5:19 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Right you are, RWR - but I guess you always are right, aren't you?

10/10/2007 7:09 AM  
Blogger Melinda said...

Hey, thanks for the kind words, Dan! I hope your daughter is having a great time like we are! I'll have to check out her blog.

10/12/2007 3:59 AM  

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