Paper Trails: Visual Journals
It could be said that travel writing began with Homer’s Odyssey (8th century BCE), the epic account of Odysseus’s circuitous journey home to Ithaca following the sack of Troy. Six centuries later, the Greek writer and geographer Pausanias recorded his travels throughout his homeland, resulting in his ten-volume Description of Greece. At the time of its creation, the work was largely dismissed as a figment of Pausanias’s imagination. It was nearly forgotten until the 20th century, when archeologists working on dig sites throughout Greece referred to it for topographical guidance during excavations; Pausanias’s account proved to be true and reliable.
The contemporary travel journal departs from these ponderous precedents. Innovative are the modes in which an author chronicles his/her adventures; a travel writer is no longer restricted to chapters of stark text with selected passages keyed to a section of photographic plates.
As Paper Trails shows, travel experiences can fill the pages of many styles of books—and, in some cases, an artist chooses to depart from the book form altogether. Drawing, painting, writing, and collage are just some of the methods used to capture a day’s events.
A travel memoir can be created in myriad ways. Paper Trails artists, Susan Bonthron, Carol Hendrickson, and Linda Rubinstein invite us to explore the diversity of the world’s landscapes, cultures, and lifestyles. This variety lends itself to the originality and creativity brimming from the pages of these beautifully crafted keepsakes.
—Elizabeth Gertsch, Curator