Blogger and author of over a dozen books and itineraries, Chris, originally from the US, now lives in Asia writing about the weird and wonderful things that take place on his travels.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m Chris Backe, a travel blogger at One Weird Globe (oneweirdglobe.com). I’ve lived abroad since 2008, met my wife while in Korea, and am now living in Thailand. On the blog, I focus on offbeat destinations, life as a nomad, and plenty more. I’ve written over a dozen books and itineraries, including the first interactive travel guidebook (think of those Choose Your Own Adventure® books, but in real life with real places).
If you could describe the storyline of your latest novel to someone in just a few sentences how would you entice someone to want to read it?
You have arrived in Bangkok – a city of extreme heat, extreme air-con, and lots to see and do. While you know you could spend hours researching and planning that perfect itinerary, you’ve decided to use a new type of travel guidebook. It asks you whether you’d rather go to a palace, a park, or an offbeat museum. You tap the link for the offbeat museum, and instantly you see a picture, the address, GPS coordinates, and directions on how to arrive. You set off for an adventure…
See more at chooseyourowndestination.com.
When and why did you begin writing?
If you had met me in college, you’d have seen a man that hated writing. HATED. Writing. This wasn’t just college papers, this was everything. I had to force myself to write down the to-do lists because otherwise I’d forget them.
It started changing in 2008, when I moved to Korea. Before I left the US, my friends asked me to write them to tell them how it was. Sure, I said. Then one friend became five, five friends became 10, and so I finally just said I’ll keep a blog about my life in Korea…
After arriving, I realized there were few people blogging about travel around Korea. A couple of guys were, but they stuck to some pretty limited areas. I had also met enough expats in Korea to realize a number of them just went to the same three bars or the same places over and over again… That wasn’t why I came, after all, so I made it a point to visit a new place, event, or destination every week. At least one a week, sometimes more. 6 ½ years on, the country has changed (I’m in Thailand now), but the idea hasn’t.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
It sounds cliché, but I love knowing my writing makes a difference in someone’s travels. Whether you took my advice or just appreciated the clear directions, e-mails or reviews like those are awesome.
Perhaps I’ve got this backwards, but I love traveling – writing a book or itinerary ends up being a ‘mission’, which means I need to travel more! Makes sense, right?
What is the hardest thing about being a writer?
Keeping up with everything I want to do! There is one book project entirely on hold, a book project just complete, another book to start… Then there’s the blog (I try to post at least twice a week on One Weird Globe) and another blog I write for asks for two posts a month (Too Many Adapters, where I write about travel and tech)… There are also the occasional freelancing gigs, which usually have tighter deadlines…
What inspires you to write?
Telling the story behind a place – more often than not, the places I enjoy going to haven’t been visited that often. I try to write both to the traveller that will eventually make their own way there, while also appealing to the person that travels vicariously through the blog.
When working on a new novel, what is the first thing you do?
I start a new folder in Dropbox to keep things organized. From there, it’s open to fire up Microsoft Word and start putting together an outline. I might also start a mindmap if the project calls for it, as well.
Which Writers do you admire and can you name a favourite book?
In the travel writing world, Bill Bryson is a favourite. I love how he can make places come alive, even places that aren’t necessarily the most interesting or exciting. I don’t read a lot of fiction, but John Grisham and Harry Turtledove are two favourites.
What advice would you give to an aspiring writer?
Find your niche and get started. There’s plenty of competition out there, but don’t let that stop you from writing an awesome book people will love!
What are your plans for the future?
We’ll be in Thailand until around March of 2015, then we’re off to Europe for a few months. I’ll be writing along the way, of course – a guidebook about Thailand’s offbeat places, due out mid-2015 (add your e-mail address to get an e-mail and a discount when it’s published).
Interested in finding out more about Chris? Listed below are a list of social media platforms and blogs that belong to Chris.
The site: http://www.oneweirdglobe.com
The other site: chooseyourowndestination.com
We would like to take this opportunity to thank Chris for taking part in our ‘Author of the Week’ Series.