Reading about the places I travel too or wish to travel too is a particular favorite pastime of mine. Sometimes when I'm without the time or money or inclination (temporary) to travel, I seek out the a few books on a place in question. It's mostly fiction, though I do go for well written historical non-fiction. Reading about the time and place in the present, for me at least, takes away from the magic of discovering it for myself.
I rarely pick up pure travel writing, in the vein of Patrick Leigh Fermor, or more recently Paul Thoreaux, but a friend sent me this article written by Thomas Swick, a self professed (and published) travel writer. He captures the loneliness and sensitivity of traveling on your own, and why it's so important to aim for the places less visited. I particularly liked this passage:
It was in Lisbon that I discovered the secret of travel writing, which is also the secret of memorable travel: You approximate, as best you can, in the short time allotted you, the life of a local. Once back home and writing, I stumbled upon another secret: The best trips make the best stories.
I recommend you read the article, The Moving Experience, in its entirety. Click here and the link will take you to The Morning News website where it is published. Enjoy.