VIDEO: The longest way home

By Amy Middleton 10 December 2013
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Dave’s solo journey through China presents a new form of diary-keeping that has the online travel community abuzz.

TRAVELLERS, AND DREAMERS WITH itchy feet, see the internet as an inescapable link to home. For better or worse, time spent online is an invisible umbilical cord that means no matter how far you’ve travelled, you’re never too far to receive invitations, baby pictures or online bills.

But this constant feed from home has reverse-action benefits, too. Through photo tools like Flickr we share our experiences visually, and for writers, the ever-available traveller’s blog is a way to keep our loved ones informed, while collating priceless documentation of our adventures.

The beauty of the web is that the audience of travel blogs stretches beyond those we love – and even those we know – and the creative possibilities verge on endless.

Take Dave, for example, author of The Longest Way Home. His travel blog is a forum to inspire and educate people, to share photography and art, and in turn, to support his travels financially and creatively.

The advertising that appears on Dave’s blog funds his worldwide gallivanting. Thanks in part to his increasing popularity as a centre for travel advice and as a flaneur of sorts – a creative observer of the world around him.

Especially pulling people to Dave’s blog is the video The Longest Way 1.0, made up of stitched stills that document one of Dave’s many walks – in this instance, it was a one-year stroll across parts of China.

Dave’s sprouting hair and sinking beard work as a visual timeline and colourful landscape backdrops from across China, changes in weather and cameos from recurring characters provide an ephemeral poetic narrative.

If a picture tells a thousand words, then this morsel of video is a bible-length memento of one man’s modest journey. And with half a million views on YouTube alone, it’s clear that travel fans are going nuts for this neat new form of digital diary.

For travellers, it seems, the umbilical cord works both ways, and our constant connectivity is moving far beyond the humble family email.