"Perhaps the future of the travel book is the travel blog."
Paul Theroux said that, and he should know; he's one of the top travel writers in the world. I thought at first he was kind of crotchety, not such fun or as kind or funny as Bill Bryson, who looks for a laugh and also for the best in people. But that was before I read The Great Railway Bazaar, Theroux's first and greatest travel book. Anyone who can put up with the discomforts (to say the least ) of travel the way he did/does is allowed to be crotchety.
There have been vicarious travellers in the past. They're the people who read Lonely Planet and who pay close attention to travel guides and memoirs, but who are not wild about travelling themselves. I remember a postcard my mother wrote me from a southern cruise she was taking. She wrote: "We're crossing The Great Barrier Reef. I must look it up in the Encyclopaedia Britannica when I get home. Did I dell you that rye is 75 cents a drink on board?" She really did not enjoy travelling, and there are others like her: people who like to say they've been there (wherever) but who don't enjoy it at the time. Better in the telling.
These are the people who would enjoy reading a travel blog, as Theroux surmised. No effort, no waiting, no bugs or heat, no risks - just the vicarious pleasure of someone else's experiences. Magic Carpet, at someone else's expense.
I'm counting on it.