Guest Post: An Excuse to Travel

Occasionally, I slip a post in about my day job – business writing.

Hey, this may be my personal blog, but when you are a business owner, it’s very personal.

That’s what appealed to me about this guest post from David Leonhardt.

David’s guest post offers some tips on converting your next trip into pure pearls – even if you’re not a writer and it’s just for your own enjoyment. I love his creativity.

David is one of my social media “buds” whose generous sharing is a shining star for all that’s good about social media.

So, grab your favorite brew, and sit back and enjoy David’s guest post. Give him some comment love, too.

Live…Laugh…Love

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Five Ways to Write About Your Trip

By David Leonhardt

The big trip is coming. You have all your paperwork lined up.

  • Passport
  • Airline tickets
  • Insurance
  • Local currency
  • Emergency phone numbers
  • Copies of all your prescriptions, insurance, maps, airplane emergency evacuation charts

Yes, you are really, really prepared. Your bags are packed – clothes, toiletries, rain gear, sunscreen, camera.

And everything you need to write about your trip – laptop or tablet, paper and pen, whatever tools you need.

But something is missing. You don’t know where to start.

How do you write a great account of your trip? That depends to some degree on what you plan the end product to be.

  • A book?
  • A blog post?
  • A series of blog posts?
  • A magazine article?

If, for instance, you plan to write a single blog post, you won’t have much to write.

Perhaps a summary of the trip. Perhaps some details about just one aspect of the trip. Perhaps a summary of three or four aspects of the trip with a few details thrown in.

The same might be the case for a magazine article, although some magazines publish longer articles over 2000 words from professional writers, which might call for much more detail.

If you plan to write a book or a series of blog posts, or if you plan to write about your trip in some other extended fashion, it will take a more organized approach.

Here are five ideas for how you might want to organize your manuscript.

1. Write a daily diary.

This is almost an obvious approach for a series of blog posts.

You can (and probably should) write them in real time, as many blog writers do.

The drawback is that you might not enjoy your vacation as much if you keep having to stop to write about it. An end-of-day post or a first-thing-in-the-morning post might be better.

And for a book, a daily journal might also work well.

2. Write a fictitious story

This can be a lot of fun.

Take on the role of a character, such as a spy on a mission or a time traveler who just landed in this strange place and time in search of a specific item to bring back with him.

Describe what you see through the eyes of this character, not just how he might find things unfamiliar but also how those things work into the storyline of his mission.

This can be a really fun approach to travel writing – and to travel itself.

3. Write through the eyes of your child. Or your pet.

This is an occasionally used approach to writing, and it allows us to see the humor (think Gary Larson of “The Far Side”) and the absurdity of things around us by looking at them without our built-in prejudices.

Take time to think how your child or pet would view things, what she might look for, what she might not even notice.

This can also make travel writing a lot of fun.

4. Try focusing on a single element.

Everything can be seen in relation to one element that is common across all the places you visit.

  • There are buildings everywhere
  • There are plants everywhere
  • There are faces everywhere

Tell your story through a single element to give it a common thread, a theme.

A good travel writer can produce an exciting and unique visit to so many places by writing around a common element.

5. Compare everything to other places you have been

This is a sneaky way to work in multiple destinations.

If you describe various elements of your trip to Budapest with what you had seen on earlier trips to Rome, Singapore and Montreal, your readers will learn about four places.

Plus they will feel like they’ve been given a world tour of exotic locales (It works for James bond movies, right?).

There are so many ways to write about your travels.

Which way will you write?

BigStock Photo Credit

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David Leonhardt is the proud owner of several oft-neglected blogs, with one inspirational book under his belt (Climb Your Stairway to Heaven) and too many humour articles littering the Internet. 

He runs a freelance writers agency, where his team serves clients by writing mostly novels, autobiographies, business books, articles and Web copy.

Guest Post-Finding Meaning in Your Life

When Brandi Ann Uyemura wrote her first guest post for my personal blog, it became one of the most visited posts.

Since I am not a total idiot, I invited her back for an encore while I am out walking 60 miles to stomp out breast cancer.

Brandi is one of my special social media friends and from the beginning her posts touched me and inspired me. So, kick off your shoes and pull up to the screen for another great guest post from Brandi.

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Finding Meaning

by Brandi Ann Uyemura

I’ve been keeping a journal by my bed at night to catalog the day’s events. But after a day of full-time writing and editing, I leave little time to write for me. That journal’s usually left by the wayside, mostly empty save for a few sad little entries. That’s why I was ecstatic to find a One Line a Day Journal, which is exactly what it sounds like. It leaves me about 5 lines to pick just the juicy parts of my day.

It’s been great for consistency. But after a few weeks of cataloging my day-to-day events, I realized it was missing one thing. Meaning.

Do your days kind of mesh into one long year? Have you ever looked back on your life and realized you haven’t done anything really meaningful in a long time?

Maybe it’s the monotony of daily errands, paperwork, paying the bills, work, sleep, eat, rinse, wash and repeat. Somehow in our efforts to get ahead, we lose sight of the now.

The question is how do we live a meaningful life while doing those not-so meaningful things in our lives. The cooking still needs to be done and no one else is going to take out the garbage right? And is it too late to find meaning in your life?

Never! There are a plethora of ways to bring meaning back in. But like anything else it will take effort and practice to get started. So shall we?

Replace this:

Realize happiness and meaning won’t come from a thing. Sadly, no matter what those infomercials tell you, you can’t buy happiness. That car, abs machine or that juicer will never get you closer to feeling good about yourself. And it won’t make your life meaningful either so stop, drop and roll-over that thought right now.

With this:

Do one meaningful thing each day. Buying won’t do it, but doing something well. Choose one meaningful task and commit to it. It could be as grand as volunteering or donating money to your favorite charity or it could be as miniscule as spending time in your garden, taking a walk, playing with your kids (your furry kids too). Yes there are things that need to be done, but you need to be a human too.

Replace this:

Working in isolation to produce a meaningful life. It’s tempting to work ourselves to the bone just so that we have something wonderful and beautiful to show of our lives. But at the end of the day, it’s who we loved, not what we did that matters most.

With this:

Cultivating healthy, happy relationships. When you surround yourself with people who love you and support you, your life suddenly feels meaningful, purposeful, and beautiful. Sharing your ups and downs with the loves of your life will make your life feel filled to the cup instead of half-empty or even half-full.

Replace this:

Comparing your life with others. Yes the Kardashians have more $ than you and Oprah has more $ and influence, but you have something awesome and special too. You have friends and family who love you. You have the life that you’ve created just for you. Stop comparing yourself to the superachievers and start living your own life. The sooner you do that, the faster you will be to not simply living, but flourishing.

With this:

Be grateful for what you’ve already accomplished. Living a meaningful life doesn’t mean that you need to publish a best seller or get a graduate degree or climb the highest mountain for that matter. Those are goals that you may want to attain or work towards. But it’s the things that you’ve already done that matter right now.

If you place all your bets on the things you want to still accomplish, you may be waiting a long time. I know too many people who don’t think their lives are meaningful or worthy because they haven’t yet reached their dreams.

In order to get there, we need to be grateful for what we have and what we’ve achieved. It’s that type of attitude, faith and confidence that produces a life filled with meaning.

BigStock Photo Credit

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Brandi-Ann Uyemura is an Associate Editor for Psych Central, an online monthly columnist for The Writer magazine and a freelance features writer who has a passion for inspiration.

She has a writing blog and an inspiring blog as well as an Etsy site with photos to visually inspire others.