Perched, Nestled and Other Hidden Gems
We all love travel writing clichés. Pick up any reputable travel publication, online magazine or blog, and you’ll find they are littered with words which have become strongly aligned with travel writing that we have often forgotten their original meaning.
Perched and Nestled have dominated the travel writing scene for so long that every time I see them from a reputable author or publication, I wonder how the writers can be immune to the cringe factor. Print media is responsible for perpetuating words that have turned into clichés. And with the widespread of online publications, blogs and travel sites in recent years, common words creep up into travel writing faster than you can say Beam me up, Scottie. But just as every destination has become a city of contrasts, so is a travel writer’s repertoire.
Bellagio, nestled and perched on Lake Como, Italy
Even poor St-Augustin’s The world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page is not immune to such adaptation.
Travel writing clichés can often be a chicken or egg scenario. Was the village always quaint or did someone assign it a label that was copied to other similar towns? When it comes to self-expression in travel writing, are we curbing our creativity or are we simply trying to assimilate to a standard that was set by peers or mentors?
Regardless of whether perched came before the bird, let’s address some of the pet hates. Next time you see one of these words in a travel article or essay, try to substitute a literal meaning or ask yourself a question. It’s guaranteed to take your travel reading enjoyment to a new unspoiled destination.
hidden gem – does anything remain hidden in the age of the internet?
itchy feet – substitute ‘a bout of tinea’ and reread the sentence
unspoiled gem – it soon will be by the time someone has read the article
off the beaten track or its first cousin, off the beaten path – has someone with a machete beaten a path for all to follow?
mecca – how about using Medina for a change?
has something for everyone – you’re assuming I have common tastes?
perched – what, like a canary?
must see – by whose standard? and why are you telling me what to do
the pearl of – why not ‘the mollusc of’?
The beauty of clichés is that we can learn from them and improve our writing. But in this age of digital communication where nothing is sacred, coin a phrase and someone will copy it. If you’re in luck, it will go viral, and in to time, you would have created your own brand of cliché that every other person will adopt.
If your repertoire is peppered with these expressions, try Gourmantic’s Travel Writing Cliché Bingo Game. First person to fill in all squares from one article wins an all expense paid trip to an unspoiled gem of a town, perched on a rolling hill, with an off the beaten track location that has something for everyone. This coveted prize is designed to cure anyone’s itchy feet. Hurry… you don’t want to miss out!
What are your pet hate travel writing clichés? Share them in the comments below.
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