The Evolution of Travel and Travel Blogs

Travel Blogs

Evolution of Travel and Travel Blogs

Have you ever wondered how Travel, as well as ways and means of capturing travel memories and travel experiences have evolved over time?

As I sit, punching in words on my laptop my mind wanders away in time and I see images of travelers on foot traversing across the most inhospitable terrains to go where none had gone before.

Travel Blogs

How Did Travel evolve

It is interesting to note that though the origin of the word Travel is lost in history it has strong connections with another word of French origin, ‘Travail’, which literally means ‘painful or laborious effort’.  More interestingly both these words seem to have originated from the name of a Roman instrument of torture ‘Tripalium’.

Whatever be the origin of the word Travel, there is no doubt that the wanderlust or urge to travel seems to have been encoded in the DNA of humans. Early man must have traveled more as a necessity, in search of food. Slowly overcome by an unknown impulse which we now know as curiosity he would have embarked upon his journeys, initially taking small strides and then taking giant leaps which resulted in some of the great migrations of mankind. If not for this impulse of curiosity Man would have been confined to a smaller region of the earth and life on Earth would not have been as widespread as it is now. Travel is a catalyst that brings about great changes in the way we think and perceive the world and the environment. The changes may seem almost imperceptible, but they are happening all the time. Travel has evolved and transformed people.

Travel Blogs – How it all started

History has always fascinated me and from the various history lessons in School, there is one man whose name has remained etched in my memory, a man called Hiuen Tsang or Xuanzang, Hiuen Tsang was a Buddhist monk who was born in China in 602 AD. His insatiable thirst for knowledge about Buddhism saw him set off on foot to travel to India, to learn more about Buddhism.

Travel Blogging

In those days travel outside of China was not permitted and so to avoid being sent back, Hiuen Tsang took an uncharted route where there was no sign of life for miles and miles, he passed through deserts and mountains braving many a hardship and risking his life. He traveled across Central Asia including regions of Tashkent and Samarkand, taking the legendary Silk Route before arriving in India. He spent 17 years traveling across India before returning back to China. It is remarkable that in those days he kept a travel journal where he recorded his experiences and observations of the people he met, their culture and customs, the places he visited etc. This journal is famous as Hsi-Yu Chi or Great Tang Records on the Western Regions.

Probably this journal could be termed as the ancestor of today’s Travel Blogs.

Travel Blogging

So early travelers started documenting their travel experiences by writing about them. Even as early as 1500 BC, the Rig Veda has a mention about travel. There is a beautiful quote which extols the virtues of travel.

“There is no happiness for him who does not travel.
Thus we have heard. Living in the society of men, the best man becomes a sinner… therefore, wander!… The fortune of him who is sitting sits; it rises when he rises; it sleeps when he sleeps; it moves when he moves. Therefore, wander!”

As time marched on, the naturally curious nature of Man propelled him to explore the planet he inhabited. People started to travel for business, for discovery and for conquests. However, one of the earliest records of traveling for the sake of traveling and treating it as a pleasure is found in Petrarch’s “Ascent of Mount Ventoux” written in 1336. This is an account of how he ascended the mountain and reached the summit at a height of 1,912 meters. He categorically states that climbed the mountain just for the view from the top, he also allegorically compares the ascent to his own moral progression.


History is replete with instances of travelers penning down their experiences and later publishing their travel journals. As early as the 2nd century AD, a Greek traveler and geographer named Pausanias wrote a travelogue called “Description of Greece”, which was an account of his own experiences and observations of Greece. In 1816 Goethe published his “Italian Journey”, based on his travels to Verona, Venice, Bologna, Rome, Naples, Sicily and many other Italian cities of that time. In more recent times, Che Guevara’s “The Motorcycle Diaries” is a great example of a travel journal.


Many great writers penned masterpieces and set their stories in lovely places. You could check out our post on this here – Books Opened The Doors of the World.

The Internet and coming of age of Social Media

The advent of internet shrunk the world and made information available like never before. Riding on the internet wave another movement exploded on the face of the earth. A movement that we now call Social Media. Suddenly a traveler could share his experiences virtually in real time with his friends through Travel Blogs. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and many others ensured that anyone with a will and a passion for writing could get their writings noticed. Thus the travel journals and travel memoirs dramatically transformed into travel blogs as we know them today. Travel journals aka Travel Blogs of today are no longer confined to words, a journey may be described eloquently only through pictures or in the form of a video. Instagram, YouTube and other fora ensure that these visual accounts thrive and tell a story without a single word.


Isn’t the evolution of travel and travel blogs in itself a fascinating journey? Another fascinating and parallel journey is that of travel photography, do join us on this amazing journey in another of our upcoming posts.

The Evolution of Travel and Travel Blogging

The Evolution of Travel and Travel Blogging

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66 thoughts on “The Evolution of Travel and Travel Blogs

  1. Prasad Np Reply

    Interesting take.. .the web has opened a billion opportunities for each and everyone but I have only one point… A blog has to be personal… anybody who just churns out rehashed content for SEO purpose is not a blog but in my opinion. There is nothing wrong in that but it is just not a blog.

    • Sudipto Reply

      Totally second you Prasad but the fun part is that these SEO primed blogs do fizzle out eventually due to the lack of passion 😉

  2. Tami Reply

    Well, this is a subject I haven’t seen addressed in a blog post yet. Clever! Yes, it is rather fascinating to think about how travel has evolved over the centuries. Today’s travel of curiosity and leisure varies so much from travel of necessity. I’m glad we have the option of sharing our travels with others, especially those who are unable to travel!

  3. Reuven Reply

    This is such an interesting post. I love how you’ve described the evolution and growth of travel and the travel industry. It’s really quite a fascinating topic and I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post. It’s definitely a different take on the usual travel articles I read and this was refreshing and eye-opening.

  4. luxurybackpacking | Emma Reply

    Wow not many people look at travel blogs in this light! I love history too and it’s amazing how much travel and the way we travel has evolutionised over the years! Thanks for sharing this 🙂

  5. Michelle Reply

    Ah technology – you either love it or hate it – depending on where you stand! It hasn’t only changed the travel industry but also our (human) habits, thought processes, decision making (ie. will this photo make a great Instagram post?), and how we feel (instant gratification, social validation)!

  6. Ashley Reply

    How interesting! I never think of the origins of words but when I read them I am always stunned. Travel was and sometimes is a very strenuous effort. It takes us out of our comforts and ignites change. Beautiful reflections!

  7. Chris Reply

    Although I was long ago struck down by the travel bug, I thought it interesting when you commented on how travel was “encoded in our DNA”.

    I think we remain fortunate that we live in a time when travel is more affordable than it has ever been.

    What I find even more fascinating is perhaps the opposite to your DNA comment. That octogenarian that has lived his entire life in the foothills of the French Pyrenees.

    He speaks three languages (French, Spanish & Basque), yet the farthest he has ever travelled, is around 12 kilometres from his home.

    I’d have never learned this but for travel, yet for him, happiness and contentment is at home…

    • saurabh Reply

      everyone has already said, what I have in my mind. Incredible post. I want to point out one mistake, Buddha was born in Lumbini, Nepal.

  8. Kevin Wagar Reply

    It’s amazing how technology has fostered something in people that has so long been left to so few to describe. I love being able to share my journeys with the world, but I wonder if I would have done the same had I not had the opportunity to reach so many so easily.

  9. Doreen Pendgracs Reply

    I have been a traveler since the 70’s, and a travel writer since the 90’s. Started my first blog in 2009 and have never looked back. I love the way we can share ideas, experiences, and photos with the world so easily. It certainly has helped me build my brand and expand my audience.

  10. Stephanie Frias Reply

    This is quite fascinating and it is an honor to be apart of the transformation of modern travel influenced by social media. Never before had the world been so curious and so eager to explore, and I think credit is due to millions of travel bloggers. They are those who teach the rest just how possible it is to just get off the couch and go! !

  11. neha Reply

    Wonderful post. I never knew the science/history behind the origin of the word travel. Also, totally agree with the verses and the view that travel is a must. After all, if man won’t have travelled and discovered new places, new continents, the world won’t be connected the way it is today.

  12. Alice Reply

    Great post about travel history: it can open a lot of reflections on the philosophy behind this topic.
    The advance of technology transformed old travel diaries that became available only years after the end of a journey first in books and then in travel blogs.
    Internet for sure made more easier to share experiences and opinions and to find the information you are searching for, with the negative side that with the amount of information available, we occasionally also give credit to ambiguous sources.

  13. Julie Reply

    Just last week I proofread a paper my brother was writing for his class at Embry Riddle on the history of aviation…which ties in well with this topic! It’s incredibly interesting to think not only about how travel has changed (and it’s changed so much!) but also how it will likely continue to change!

  14. Ami Reply

    Quite interesting. I never really thought about this earlier . Your post has made me ponder on it now. Thanks to Social media and the Web for making life easy for us. Else I think I just might have been etching it on stone tablets 🙂

  15. Kerri Reply

    As I was travelling last week I spent quite some time contemplating my whole planning process and how that has evolved since I first started back in the 90s. I wondered how I ever survived with the internet. I think it has enriched my travel ten fold, without really taking away any of the surprise elements.

  16. Lara Dunning Reply

    Great idea for a post. I really liked reading about early travelers stories. I have to admit I read “The Motorcycle Diaries” and I was rather disappointed that he would lie to people about who he was along the way. Maybe it was necessary, but if it was he didn’t make a good case for it. I did like reading about his adventures.

  17. Mimi Reply

    I enjoyed reading this so much, it has a huge point that indeed our ancestors and many people from the past started “travel blogging” quite a long time ago by writing it in their diaries! These people inspired many to travel and we try and do the same nowadays with our own online travel blogs!

  18. Harsh Gupta Reply

    Feels great to be a part of this evolution. Can actually share my stories with the world and inspire others to travel more. And social media indeed is a lifesaving grace for travelers like us.

  19. Cathy Reply

    I love written journals, now my travels are recorded online to share. I keep hearing about Motorcycle Diaries- seems like I should watch it.

  20. Danni Lawson Reply

    What a fabulous journey! I still have a fondness for the old traditional travel journals and memoirs though, there’s something special about a physical book.

  21. Lewi Reply

    Wow I never knew travel blogging had been around for so long. Just goes to show that people have been travelling for many years to find more meaning in their lives.

  22. Mike Reply

    Really interesting read! Its so funny how the word for travel started out as such a negative but now its viewed as such a positive. I wonder if something that we find laborious today will be a luxury in the future. Maybe driving will go that way after self-driving cars become mainstream!

  23. Gareth Reply

    Such an interesting take on things but what really struck me was how inspiring it can be to think of all the great travel writers that have come before. Paul Bowles is my personal favourite but I wonder sometimes if the comparative ease of travel today, we haven’t lost something. Sure, a Trans-Atlantic flight isn’t much fun but nor is it the epic voyage it might once have been. Anyway, it’s all about keeping going and refining our craft. Great stuff

  24. Nika - Reply

    nice insight into history! It is right that traveling back then was different yet I am pretty sure it was tough too. People back then haven’t had much chance to influence others to travel and visit beautiful places which we thanks to Social Medias have. Nowadays, most of us travel to enjoy life, get to know new places and I think that’s fine too 🙂 It is interesting to see how far we got.

  25. Punita Malhotra Reply

    I remember reading some material on this very subject a few months back and feeling some deep connection with the explorers of the yesteryears. I’m sure many of us do! It was good to refresh my memory with this post.

  26. Luca Reply

    Interesting article, I agree with your thoughts. I was also thinking about this sort evolution a couple of days ago, but on the “2.0” side of it. How everyone now can state s/he is a traveler and a travel writer, only because it’s easier to do both.
    I’m not saying it’s necessarily a bad thing, but being part of this “niche” I see how many of these travelers and writers are standardized together, with only a minor part expressing something different (like you!) and not focusing entirely on the marketing side of it.

  27. Travel Lexx Reply

    Super interesting and thought-provoking look at travel and travel writing. Getting around in those days was much harder so the efforts of the early travellers are pretty inspiring. The fact that they were also able to capture their journeys on paper is even more fascinating! Great post

  28. Davide Reply

    I have been travelling for many years just for passion but I can understand why in the past the people travelled for food as well! Right now everything is different and easier, we now where all the places are located in the world and we just need 20/25 hours flight to get away from home. I wish to be born during the 1400′ years, when slowly all the world was discovered.
    Great post and really interesting facts the I didnt’ know!
    thanks for sharing it,

  29. The Travel Ninjas Reply

    Thanks for this thoughtful and thought-provoking post. It’s fascinating to think about the roots of travel and how those roots have grown and spread through time. Do you have any ideas how the combination of our ancient wanderlust and contemporary technology will shape the next phase of travel and travel communications?

  30. SamH Travels Reply

    This is a very interesting read and thank you for the history lesson. It is thought provoking to remember how travellers would have moved around all those years ago, without our modern modes of transport. I wonder if I would have the patients for it and if my wonder lust and the necessity to explore new lands would still be my biggest drive.

  31. Gypsycouple Reply

    This is such an interesting topic. Haven’t ever seen a blog/article which talks about the evolution like you’ve done. Been travelling all my life and have never thought about it this way. Thanks for sharing

  32. Emma Reply

    You’ve obviously done your research into this. An interesting insight into who we are as travel bloggers today! I wonder how it will evolve in the future!

  33. Christina Reply

    Very cool post! As us travel bloggers know, there are many of us out there, and to stop and think about the evolution of it all is very intriguing. This post was a very refreshing read. Great job!

  34. Olena Kagui Reply

    This is so fascinating! I have loved to travel my entire life but I never really thought about how the concept has evolved. I’m not always sure if social media makes things better or worse. When it comes to travel, it does help travelers connect, share stories and destinations. But sometimes it makes places lose their magic. Not to mention the horrible ways that tourists trash places and murder animals for selfies. Thank you so much for sharing! 🙂

  35. Ticking the Bucketlist Reply

    I loved the way you have written this article. I am a travel blogger and its fun to read how my full time profession came into being!
    Technology is such a key factor…first computers and now phones, making information available so quickly! Travel blogging still has a long was to go!

  36. Barry Reply

    Some interesting points that go way beyond the blogging world as we know it today. Time changes everything. The art of documenting one’s thoughts and experiences has been around for thousands of years. Drawing pictures and writing by hand has now been replaced with a camera and laptop. The essence is still the same – to document what we see and feel. Future generations will look back one day and have a glimpse into the life of the 2016 traveller.

  37. Lisa Reply

    Great post and I like the angle you come at this subject. For thousands of years people have been documenting their travels and now it’s at your fingertips. I have read articles where people are saying blogging will come passé, I guess we will see what the future holds.

  38. Julie Cao Reply

    Very interesting and thought provoking post about the evolvement of traveling and blogging. I am not sure if recording and publishing travel journals were easier during the early days, but technology definitely makes travel and blogging easier and competitive. Travel writing nowadays is not only about words, but also multimedia form like photography and films. Thanks for an interesting read.

  39. Angie (FeetDoTravel) Reply

    This is a fab post, great history lesson which I found fascinating. I used to work for a recruitment agency called Travail funnily enough lol. As a traveller, I have kept journals in handwritten form for nearly 20 years and have only just turned this to blogging to make it easier for the future – and I love it so this was a lovely read. Thank you for taking the time to research and share this story. #feetdotravel

  40. Wanderlust Vegans Reply

    Interesting blog. Ive never really thought about the history of travel blogging. Although, to be honest I didnt know travel blogging was a thing until we started ours. We started ours for a place to continuously share our photos over two years, so that when we went back home everyone already be up to date with what we were up to.

  41. nicki Reply

    You have confirmed how I got into travel blogging! I always used to journal my thoughts and experiences so that I could remember them. Now with an online platform I can share them with the world.

  42. Sudipto Reply

    I was thinking about this topic only a few days back. The original travel bloggers were awesome indeed. Many of these historians also travelled along with warring parties.

  43. Annalise Reply

    This is such an interesting post! I really enjoyed reading that! I also LOVE the film the motorcycle diaries. I’m travelling South America next year in a slightly similar route. x

  44. Alessandra Reply

    This is so interesting – I haven’t read anything like that on a travel blog before! It gives us a sense of belonging and continuation when we think that there were others before us who also had this desire to explore new places 🙂

  45. Jitaditya Narzary Reply

    Good to see you remmeber the ancient travellers. I wonder how difficult it would have been for them without the information as well as technology of today. I feel I am nothing in front of them!

  46. Jure Reply

    It is remarkable to think what pioneers these people of olden days were. Today we have such a wealth of information available to us, before we go travel! I think it’s actually hard to compare us modern day travellers to them. They were explorers, while we are more tourists than anything else – not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  47. Kristina Reply

    Okay, this may be the coolest travel blog post I’ve read. What an interesting topic to cover, and you did a great job with it! I don’t think I’ve seen anyone write about it before to be honest. I love that you included The Motorcycle Diaries <3! Definitely sharing this one!

  48. Suz Reply

    This is such an interesting read! I love learning about the history of things I’m passionate about, and travel blogging is my number one! I love how travel blogging has created such an amazing community that I can be part of – it inspires even more travel!

  49. Sharleen Reply

    So interesting to read how travel blogging dates so far back and how lucky we are to have evolved so much and be at an age where we can just travel for fun, just because we want to. Great post!

  50. Soraya Reply

    So interesting that you trail back into history to see how travel was once documented. How interesting that even Hiuen Tsang back back back in the day already started recording it all into a travel journal. I remember years ago, a travel blog was used by friends and family who would go on a big trip. It was their way of staying in touch and letting people know what they were getting up to. Amazing how it has all evolved into what we know now as a travel blog.

  51. Sam @followyouroad Reply

    Very enlightening how travel goes back to the ancient days. Well, the word “travel” now is a very lifestyle or capitalism-related term. For other people it simply meant moving to another place to improve their lives (aka migration) and in it, they see the beauty of other countries and cultures not from theirs. Social media really has made marketing into a status symbol too. Enlightening article as always 🙂

  52. Pratap Reply

    Today travel is one area which has shrunk the world. The World hopefully uses this to bridge cultural gaps and breeds more tolerance.

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