Guest Post: An Excuse to Travel

by Cathy Miller

in Guest Post

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.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Anne Wayman August 2, 2012 at 8:06 am

I’ve turned some travel into articles… before blogging actually… thanks.
Anne Wayman recently posted..7 Ways Freelance Writers Can Write More EfficientlyMy Profile

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Cathy August 2, 2012 at 8:09 am

It’s a good idea, Anne. I think so much in terms of my corporate writing that I rarely think about combining the personal with the writing business.

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Holly Jahangiri August 5, 2012 at 7:55 am

The only one of these tips that’s risky is “compare to other places you’ve been” – that can be one of the THE most obnoxious things tourists do. I went on a tour with a guy who was constantly comparing EVERYTHING (particularly the food) to his hometown. OMG, it got so bad there’d be an automatic chorus (the rest of us) of “Then GO BACK HOME, already!” The tour guide had to take him aside for a little chat, and I’m not really sure what kind of psychotherapy he managed in an hour, but the guy rejoined the group and threw himself into local culture, food, and even language for the remainder of the trip! If you’re thinking about writing a travel article, maybe “how to have fun like a local” or “how to immerse yourself in the unique culture of…” would be helpful.

Great post, David.

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Cathy August 5, 2012 at 11:59 am

Great tip, Holly. I remember when my nephew came to see me in southern CA and I took him (and his family) to Disneyland. He spent the entire time bemoaning how his local amusement park was so much better. I almost drop-kicked him back home.

But, then he was only 13 at the time. :-)

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Holly Jahangiri August 5, 2012 at 4:46 pm

Well, maybe you should have, anyway – probably easier to cure it when he’s 13 than when he’s 31. ;)

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Cathy August 6, 2012 at 4:38 am

LOL, Holly. :-D Good point. ;-)

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Lori August 8, 2012 at 7:18 am

I have never figured out how to write about my trip. This is great stuff, David! And it stirs my own creative juices a bit. I’m opting for #4, but I can see myself writing in all the other ways you’ve suggested, too. I’ll try this out on my trip next month.

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Cathy August 8, 2012 at 7:24 am

We’ll hold you to that, Lori. Hey, I have to live vicariously through someone, don’t I? ;-)

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Lori August 10, 2012 at 6:39 am

LOL! I do that a lot myself, Cathy. Just heading to Santa Cruz for a wedding, but it’s somewhere new for me. Time to write that travel article that’s been in my head. :)

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Cathy August 11, 2012 at 1:40 pm

♥ Santa Cruz. Let me know if they still have the old wooden roller coaster. :-)

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Andrew September 26, 2012 at 2:32 pm

Aloha David & Cathy,

I just wanted to thank you again for submitting your article to the Byteful Travel Blog Carnival. It’s been included in the 14th BT Blog Carnival which was published today.

So, if you could retweet, stumble, or “Like” the blog carnival, I would really appreciate it. It would also help people discover your article, too!

Thanks again. Looking forward to your submissions next time! :)
Andrew recently posted..How to Get Clear on What You Want, Set Goals that Resonate, & Travel!My Profile

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Cathy September 27, 2012 at 5:52 am

Aloha, Andrew. It must have been David who submitted it. I simply reaped the benefits of David’s guest post. :-)

I appreciate you stopping by. Continued success.

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