After 11 years, travel writer and blogger Trinity has decided to end her popular Naked Traveler book series.
As the title suggests, The Naked Traveler 8: The Farewell, which has just been released in local bookstores, will be the last edition in the series.
“The Naked Traveler is over, but its spirit is immortalized right here, in print, forever,” read a blog post announcing the book in December.
Aside from amusing travel stories—which saw Trinity explore Iceland, Afghanistan, Iran and European countries—Farewell is also said to feature experiences from some of her readers whose life changed after reading The Naked Traveler.
“During the launch of the book [in Jakarta], which was only open to pre-order customers, some readers […] shared their stories related to the series. Many of them were women. One said she had been reading the series from when she was still single and through two marriages. One brought her child along [to the event]. They grew up with my book; it has been 11 years [since the first one was published],” Trinity said during a phone interview with The Jakarta Post on Monday, Jan. 14, 2019.
In a blog post published in late August last year, Trinity described how her writer’s spirit had deteriorated with the decline of the publishing industry and subsequently, a significant drop in authors’ royalties.
“Those were external factors. The internal factor is: I want to move on. I want to challenge myself by writing something of a different level; perhaps a book that is non-travel related, a novel—I don’t know yet,” said Trinity.
“For now, I want to think about what I want to be next. This requires hibernation and quitting my current [activities].”
She added that she may still write in the travel genre.
“But not like [the Naked Traveler]. It could be in a different style of writing. Young people seeking travel inspiration may read the Naked Traveler series, but as I’m getting older, I want to capture a more adult audience.”
However, fans of her blog may rejoice as she will continue to travel and write on the platform.
“I will still write in my blog since it’s my legacy; my life archive. I will continue to travel also, but I will be more selective. I won’t do famtrips [familiarization trips] unless I get paid or I really really want to visit the place.”
When asked what changed in the process of writing the series’ first and the last book, Trinity said that the norms were different.
“Back then, we could easily write stories on religious differences, LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual] issues. Now, it’s a big deal. I mentioned a brand once in my first book, but that wouldn’t be okay today. Telling a story about hanging out while smoking a cigarette like I once did would be considered a sin now. It’s also part of the reason [why I quit the series],” said Trinity.
“People can make a novel as dirty as possible and can get away with it, but the Naked Traveler won’t. Maybe because it’s non-fiction and the readers are young. There’s also the antipornography law and all that. Better be safe than sorry.”
The way people travel has also changed in the past 11 years.
“Even just five years ago, when I was still doing round-the-world trips, things had changed a lot. Now we have Google Translate and Google Maps, providing us with directions—as easy as left or right. However, because of these apps in our smartphone, travelers tend to communicate less with the locals since they don’t need to ask for directions anymore.”
The purpose of traveling has also changed, added Trinity.
“We used to travel to explore, to learn about a new culture, to live like a local. Now people travel to take pictures at a landmark, because they’re bored with their Instagram feed and want to make it look good again. Travelers no longer communicate with the locals, don’t care about their surroundings; they’re busy with photo sessions.”
Although the Naked Traveler series is no more, Trinity still has a book project that she intends to finish this year following her participation in the Residensi Penulis 2018 (Writing Residency) program initiated by the Education and Culture Ministry and National Book Committee (KBN), which saw her staying in Peru to write a non-fiction documentary-like story on “how Indonesia—a Muslim-majority and Catholic-minority country—is actually one of the largest contributors of priests and nuns to the Catholic-majority Peru”.
Regarding travel plans, Trinity said she didn’t have a target yet.
“I just want to take it easy. My wish is to visit at least one new country each year. What I usually do is calculate the budget I have and how long I can travel, and then I decide on the destination accordingly.”
To her readers, she said: “It’s not goodbye; it’s ‘see you’. Hopefully, they will continue to support me and my next works.”