“Here we go, kids. Breathe in a lungful of petrol fumes and take flight, high on fossil fuels. Scatter now, travel is cheap – but it won’t be forever. What if we are the last airborn generation?”
Crossing from the personal to the political, local to global, Nomadology is a blog of anecdotes, gonzo journalism, personal confessions and occasionally awful poetry by digital gypsies on the nature of travel.
Nomadology has been online since Tim Parish and I sat down in 2005 and planned out the concept, signed up the initial writers and turned it loose. The website features over 30 Australian writers, mapping their travels across the world via their words and a unique mapping interface. Nomadology was selected by the National Library of Australia for archiving in their Pandora project.
We published our first anthology of writing from the project in 2006, and a second book is in the pipeline for launch in late 2009. We’re also looking to do a third reprint of the first book, so let us know if you’re keen to get your hands on a copy!
Role: co-creator, co-designer and co-editor
Funding from: Australia Council for the Arts
Looking for: New writers! If you have a love of travelling, writing and a good head for ideas, get in touch via the ‘about’ page.
Here’s an extract from my introduction to the book:
Travel writing is an over-saturated genre. Your average bookstore contains several hundred definitive, all-encompassing travel guides, written by someone claiming to know where they are, what they’re doing, and where you can buy a souvenir t-shirt to commemorate the occasion. I am here, claims the travel writer. I am here, and you should come join me. It’s a roundabout way of sending that famous postcard, you know the one, a white sand beach at sunset, crawling with cocktail-swollen baby boomers in bad sunglasses, with the text scrawled drunkenly across the back: Wish you were here.
We, on the other hand, do not wish you were here. We’re lost. Have lost something. Are loosing it. For us, the digital gypsies, gonzo journalists, unemployed hitchhikers and anarchic activists, travel is nomadology, is the state of constantly being somewhere else. In another country, another lifestyle, another headspace, another dimension. It is the act of endlessly pulling apart your worldview and putting it back together with the twigs and feathers of experience gleaned along the way. It is a political act, a creative act, an escape act.
Created at the start of 2005 to provide a virtual publishing space while on the road, Nomadology charts the fascinating journeys of thirty young travellers around the world against the political and social spaces which inform travel in a globalised world. When we ask people to join the project, the brief is simple: when recording your adventures, we want you to explore the ideas and politics of travel and tourism themselves.
Implicit in the idea of travel is the idea of home. As well as reflecting on the wider world, we ask contributors to record their journeys through their own cities, their own cultures and even their own bodies. From gently going insane in the outback to speeding through the history of the nation’s songlines, home figures largely in this collection. What is this land beneath our feet, this history beneath our fingernails? How does being Australian affect our experience of the rest of the world? Home is also about local, intimate things: the houses, friends and lovers which ground us, the neighbourhoods and communities we return to after our wanderings.
For more information about the project, contact Nicolas Low (nic at dislocated dot org), or Tim Parish (art at undergrowth dot org). We’re always on the lookout for new writers and travellers to share their nomadic selves with the world.