Experiences Being a Travel Writer
Many people know you from your travel writing, but in an interview you mentioned that you thought of yourself as an ethnographer. What do you see as the difference? How do you approach your work differently than perhaps a travel writer might?
What frontiers do you believe remain unexplored? Where do you see travel writing going in the next ten years?
You sit down in an airplane, and the young person you’re sitting next to tells you that they would like to be a travel writer. What do you tell them? What qualities do you think a writer needs for this line of work?
What makes working with editors such a struggle? How would you change people’s conceptions of the editorial relationship?
What’s the next big project on your horizon? What are you most looking forward to in 2013?
It’s important for a writer to be able to switch gears. Which is to say, change genres if the zeitgeist calls for it. You may have noticed rather a number of references to mushrooms in Hiking to Siberia. I am in fact a mycophile (mushroom aficionado), and my next project is a book of essays about strange and bizarre mushrooms, scheduled to be published in the fall of 2013. The book will include (among other things) an essay about the world’s largest mushroom, an essay about hallucinogenic mushrooms, and an essay about a fungus that attacks platypuses. As for what I’m looking forward to in 2013, a trip to Iceland in March — that’s when Iceland, perhaps my favorite place in the entire world, is grey, cold, windy, bereft of tourists, and absolutely lovely!