Saturday, 3 January 2015

Help! London Guide/ Travel Journal

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” 

― Marcel Proust 

As many of you guys will know, I've been working on a London Guide/ Travel Journal for a few years now. When I first came up with the idea, I thought this project would be very easy. I've lived in London all my life and have over the years collected tons of pictures, stories and information about many of the places I've been, all I needed to do was collate them and put them down. It would be a walk in the park. Boy was I wrong! Although this project has been incredibly enjoyable insofar and has given me an excuse to do more of what I love- explore, experience, encounter, imagine and to create- it has also been massively challenging, from trying to retrieve the places hidden somewhere in the recesses of my faded (and at times unreliable) memory to arranging visits to obscure places in locations both inaccessible and sometimes unsafe, to figuring out how to write about places separated by years, using the same tone and voice. However of all my challenges, my greatest one relates to the ambiguity of my (ever changing) vision for this project- in the last 15 months it's gone from being a simple 'trippy london' guide, to anthology, to journal, to photo diary, to story book, to place encyclopaedia, to.... shit..... I don't even know what it is now......

.....and if there's one thing I've learnt working in comms, its that you need to know what you're communicating, why you're communicating it and who you communicating it to. A year and a half in, I still don't feel like I have a clear answer for any of these.... and so I need you're help.... 

For those of you who have been following my blog for a while now and who kind of get my 'trippy' London vision, I'd love for you to help me define/ pinpoint what it is- some questions and answers and some more questions....and hopefully somewhere between the lines, or the spaces in between; it will become clearer.....

Why did I start writing this London guide/ travel journal?

Initially, I just wanted to share some of the incredible places I've stumbled upon in London and some of the incredible stories of the people I've met in these places. 

What will make my guide/ travel journal different?

I've worked all over London, from the Natural History Museum to the London Wetlands centre. I've also worked for organisations that have connected me to the very different communities that make up London. These, together with my own explorations and encounters have offered me a unique insight into London. Insights that I'd like to put down. It's also about turning public spaces in London into home- a place not just to visit, but to absorb and truly engage with--- to make your own. I'd like to make this idea come to life. 

What are your aims for the project? 

I hope this project will inspire people (especially Londoners) to get out and to explore, to make London their own, to look, to look again, and to love and appreciate this one of a kind city.

Where am I at now?

So I'm 365 pages into writing my London book/ travel journal. It's filled with poems, places, stories and pictures. It's laid out as an encyclopaedia of place e.g. A is for Abney Park, B is for the Barbican Conservatory, C is for Crayford Marshes etc. 

I've also created a website which is a cross between a London place generator and an online version of my book- a travel journal made up of some of the above.

What's it all about in a sentence?

It's about bringing London to life through the use of words, stories and images of people and place. 


I need your help. I feel like I've hit a brick wall with this project. I'm not entirely sure now where to go with it and so I've listed a few questions (some quite vague, sorry!) which I thought might help. If you could answer any/ all of them- that would be really great! 
  1. As well as a description of a place, would it be interesting to read about a real life experience of the place and the people behind it? 
  2. Would you like it to include London poems (fictional and non fictional) and short stories?
  3. Would you like it to include lots of pictures? Should it be largely visual? (currently have allocated max 1-2 pictures per place)
  4. Is it possible/ does it make sense to create a two-in-one journal and travel guide?
  5. Would personal anecdotes be of interest? (I hoped to create possibilities and opportunities through them)
  6. Would a book version of this blog be of at all interest? 
  7. What would work better- a website/ book?
  8. Lastly, would you use a website/ buy a copy of the book?
Let me know via comments below! Alternatively drop me an email at

As ever, thanks ;-)