So, what now for us, now that our yearlong grand tour is over? Where are we? What are we doing? And what’s the future hold for Grantourismo? These are some of the questions you’ve been asking us here, in emails and on Twitter.
Well, we’re in Bangkok — a steamy, sultry, wet Bangkok at the moment — and we’re busy working, doing exactly what we were doing before our 12-month Grantourismo partnership with HomeAwayUK, only there seems to be a lot more of it!
After a year focused on blogging we very easily fell back into the work we were doing before our grand tour, writing and photographing for magazine stories. Terence has been busy making beautiful photographs, including plenty of stunning portraits of people, and I have been frantically writing, writing more stories than I can keep track of.
We’re also doing a first edition Hedonist’s Guide to Bangkok, a book that we researched in late 2009 but had to put on the backburner when Grantourismo went from dream to reality. The political crisis in Bangkok in May 2010 forced many businesses to shut down, we had to take Thailand off the Grantourismo calendar, and our book went on hold. Unexpectedly, scores of new restaurants, bars and hotels opened in the wake of those that had closed, so while we came here to update an unpublished book, in actual fact we ended up researching and writing a new one. And it’s been hard to leave.
When we arrived in Bangkok we did what we have always done and got in touch with Asian-based editors we’ve worked with before to let them know that we were here. And it has been a few of those editors responsible for a handful of travel, hotel and in-flight magazines, who have been keeping us so busy here. And making our bank manager sigh with relief.
We have literally done dozens of stories, the first three of which — on Slow Venice, Top 10 Slow Travel Destinations, and Hip Ho Chi Minh City — have just appeared in the May issue of Lifestyle+Travel magazine. We’ve interviewed and taken photos of everyone from chefs to fashion designers and furniture designers to jewellery designers, we’ve done cooking courses and foodie walks, and we have written feature stories on places as diverse as Jordan and Istanbul. Print might be hurting, but it’s far from dead…
We’ve been on trips especially for stories, from a cruise down the Mekong for an in-flight magazine, to a road trip through the Isaan for a hotel glossy. We’ve written about Luang Prabang and Saigon, about Khmer ruins and Buddhist temples. And on Saturday we’re heading to Cambodia, to Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, and back to Laos, to Pakse for the Mekong Tourism Forum and New Media Boot Camp, where we’ll be speaking – and live-tweeting! (Follow us here: #MTF11)
So what’s next after that and what’s going on with the Grantourismo blog? Well, now that the research and photography for our Hedonist’s Guide is almost done, we’ll soon be heading back to Australia, to finish writing up that guide, and — hopefully; fingers crossed — write our book on Grantourismo. But most of all, we’re looking forward to catching up with family and friends, and the dozen dogs and cats waiting for us in a haven of a house that is my uncle and aunt’s home in Bendigo.
We’ll still be blogging at Grantourismo and while we’ll be writing about places we visit on our travels, we’re going to pick and choose our ‘big’ Grantourismo projects carefully. We’re considering a number of offers, from tourism bodies and travel companies — all sorts of things, from writers-in-residence projects to covering specific events — projects that would last from a week to a month. And we’re open to more ideas, as long as they align with our interests and the spirit of the blog.
And until we decide exactly what trip is next for Grantourismo, we’ll continue to blog about the things that are important to us: local travel, slow and sustainable travel, experiential travel, and the idea of ‘giving back’ to the places we visit. Because while our yearlong grand tour might have been a marketing project for our partners HomeAwayUK, one we were very happy to be a part of, it was a project of passion for us, a personal travel experiment that we haven’t finished testing out yet.
So stick around. We’ve got loads of exciting trips planned. And we’re hoping you’re going to join us!