Part 2: Armchair Travelling

Travel literature review: the world of fiction and reality TV, where life itself is a travel.

Travel literature review: the world of fiction and reality TV, where life itself is a travel.


The series about travel literature continues. This time we’ll take a plunge into the world of fiction and reality TV, where life itself is a travel.

Travelling is a convenient theme for a writer as it contains a lot of action. Aristotle already said that action is the vital principle and very soul of drama. When only depicting the innermost of the protagonist, the story often becomes a formless monologue full of self-appraisal and self-pity. So why not to do something and seek some adventures for a change!


Travelling is often used to describe a change that the protagonist goes through in his life. This so called bildungsroman is a novelistic form which concentrates on the spiritual, moral, psychological, or social development and growth of the protagonist usually from childhood to maturity. Some of the most well-known examples of the genre are Paulo Coelho’s Alchemist, Hermann Hesse’s Siddartha, and John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress from This World, To That Which Is to Come.

The power of action-driven description is best revealed not only in bildungsroman, but also in plays. Instead of talking, the characters are depicted by their gestures, movements, and actions rather than their thoughts and sayings. There are also examples of the same kind of style in novelistic fiction, for example in Finnish literature in Raija Siekkinen’s books. Her short stories are often puzzle-like when only concentrating on the outside and almost relieving to read in this era of analysing and explaining everything away.

I travel, therefore I am

Travelling offers, therefore, exciting plots for a writer: adventures, exotic milieus and fascinating characters. If the Athenians were attracted by Odysseus’ trips to the land of Cyclops, the audience of today is fascinated by reality TV in which protagonists carry out weird chores in strange and sometimes even dangerous milieus.

The plots of reality TV-shows follow the classic formula of folk tales: the protagonist meets people who either help him or try to hinder his mission; sometimes he wins, sometimes he looses, and usually there is also some romantic adventures included. The growth of the protagonists is being followed by interviewing them of their relationships. Quarrels are often mere social porn, but it seems to satisfy the audience’s ever-growing hunger for scandals. The protagonists are chosen among common people and they are competing for a handsome prize which makes the show more tempting.

Who would like to watch a TV series of a man, who works from nine to five, goes home to watch TV and drink some beer? Except if the story is ironic as the British series The Royle family. The protagonists spent most of the time on their couch watching TV and making remarks about the programs and recent happenings in the neighborhood. Their greatest travels were done from the couch to the fridge.

The first part of the series “Armchair Travelling” dealt with non-fiction travel books.


Anonymous said…
The world is not the same as it was 40yes ago. There is nothing to be finding anymore. The tourist business is the largest business in world and there are almost everybody trawling round the world. All in all it’s very boring business.
In my time there was not tourist like to day. I man couldn’t afford jut to travel around and to see the world or seeking for adventures. No, the few trawlers who were not originated from upper class were genius tramps. Tramp was something that those good for nothing tourist of our time never get. Because a tram had not even the one way ticket in his pocke and offend no any mean of trasport to use tha feet, So they had to work, and footed on their way, sleeping open and picking the food by way or other. There is big difference between these modern parasites and dilettantes for anything.

May I ask what your have done before your set off? Weren’t you spent your time sitting at school? as far I understand you have had good and very easy life to live. Too easy to have tell nothing because ther lack of undertand of the reality.
Sad you have nothing to tells since you writin not so bad, though empty with idea.
Thank you for your comment, Latimeri. We will try our best to live less easier to get something more meaningful to write about :)

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