Travel Writing

Ever since I returned from London, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to how I have been documenting my travels. I record the books that I read by providing reflective reviews and posting them in a number of places as well as in my Moleskine Book Journal. Why can’t I do the same for traveling?

Usually, when I hear travel writing, I go to people like Elizabeth Gilbert with Eat Pray Love and Jack Kerouac with On the Road. I made more of an effort this last trip in journaling my day, inspired by Pinterest pins like this one:

Most of the time, I reflect in the car while I’m driving to work, in the shower, or as I lay awake in bed – thinking more than writing. However, this go around, every night I returned to my room, I made a journal entry on a postcard and mailed it out to myself, hoping that when I got it back in the States, the memories would return and the reflections would continue. Once I received these in the mail, they were placed in a handmade envelope in my travel journal, adding a visual touch as well as a reminder of where I have been amidst the other pieces I documented in the journal.

Now that I have been more active in documenting my travels, I am wondering how I can expand on that. Realistically, I am unable to travel frequently to too many places that are more than a day trip away. Maybe that is the key though – not expecting every travel experience to be something big and exciting, like a major city or tourist location. Pure Michigan has been winning me over for years and is usually my fallback for an affordable trip that has much to offer. I feel there is social pressure to make vacations or traveling a destination experience. This summer, I’ll be traveling to Omaha, Nebraska and Baltimore, Maryland for work. Not typical vacation destinations, but I’ll have some downtime to explore the areas and reflect on what I learn. Whenever I am planning to go somewhere or am inspired to travel, the personable reviews that go beyond the attractions is what I look for. What makes the location what it is, what is its history, how do we fit into that, what can we learn, and how are we better people from experiencing it. Anyone can go to the hot spots – what makes our stories unique is going beyond what the tourism websites tell us or the Zagat ratings. It’s what makes us human and how we are able to converse with others who have or have not been to that site – even if they have, our stories will be different. That is what I am hoping for as I continue to document. Granted, my London Recap post was more on the logistical side since the personable material is handwritten on my postcards. However, I need to trust and show vulnerability in order to share my real stories behind my travels. Who knows, maybe my next travel adventure will be someplace I didn’t expect! All aboard!

How do you document your travels?

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