As I’ve mentioned here before, I’m a sucker for a great essay about how the author “got his start” as a writer.
Jeffrey Tayler told his origin story (to borrow a phrase from the world of comics) earlier this year on World Hum — Inspiration, Travel Writing and L’Esprit Frondeur — and one of my all-time favorite essays is Ian Frazier’s variation on the theme: Out of Ohio, which is behind an online paywall but is also available in The Best American Travel Writing 2006, as well as in Frazier’s essay collection, Gone to New York.
I know there are lots more. Anyone who’s been to the Book Passage writing conference has probably heard Tim Cahill talk about Rolling Stone’s founding of Outside Magazine — Cahill, being the only staffer at Rolling Stone who actually liked to go outside, became a key player there by default. And I seem to remember reading something by Jan Morris, once, about winding up at Everest Base Camp covering the Hillary expedition thanks to a similar default situation: Morris, a rookie newspaper writer, was the only reporter in the newsroom young and fit enough to make the trip.
Anyone else know of any travel writing “origin stories”? I’d love to see a link — or some clue about where to track them down in print — if so.