The Truth About Travel Writing — As Inspired By Bill Bryson

And seven unexpected reasons to add it to your portfolio

Malky McEwan
5 min readApr 5, 2024
The beginning of my jaunt along The Great Ocean Road — Author Image

After two decades of living in North Yorkshire, Bill Bryson was heading back to the States. Before leaving, he took one last trip around Britain, a farewell tour. He published his observations in Notes from a Small Island.

Bill dubbed his route ‘The Bryson Line’ an imaginary line from the southeast coast of England to the northwest coast of Scotland, or more accurately, a leisurely zig-zag across England and a quick trip to Cape Wrath to spit out his chewing gum.

It’s a splendid book, Bryson writes with humorous satire, irony and sarcasm. But I felt short-changed. After weaving his way back and forth across England, he arrived in Scotland popped his head out the window, made a joke and then buggered off.

Bill Bryson didn’t do Scotland justice.

Scotland accounts for a third of the total area of the UK and is infinitely more beautiful than England. It topped one poll as the most stunning country on the planet.

We have mountains, lochs and castles to admire. We even have clean, pale-blue waters with white sandy beaches on which to sun ourselves — well, maybe not sun ourselves, but they are nice to peek at through the hood of an