Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Travel Experiences Post 11 :: Write 31 Days

Continuing our discussion of blog writing ideas, I've come to the idea of sharing your travel experiences. This is especially interesting if you take good photos and are able to describe the scenery in them. Again, you are telling a story; this one just happens to be about your experiences in foreign lands, natural settings, or large cities. 

Years ago I spent a weekend in Chicago. While there I saw my first Andrew Lloyd Webber show, "Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" with Donny Osmond as Joseph. We window shopped along the "Magnificent Mile," where I bought a small bag and took a nighttime boat tour on Lake Michigan. Had I started my blog back then, the trip would have made for several posts. Plus, I had a different perspective in that I am from a small Louisiana town and this was my first venture into a city other than New Orleans or Baton Rouge. I was seeing the city through innocent eyes, yet I had wonderful opportunities because my travel companion was knowledgeable about available outings. Because I had no idea what to do or how to find out (pre-internet ages), I just went along with her recommendations. Luckily for me, she was as cultured as she was knowledgeable. That trip started me on a lifetime of travel and adventure.

I'm fairly sure that we don't have to define travel, but I will mention that even if you can't get away from your city or area, you can write a travel post. I did something of the sort not long ago on this post. While running errands, I noticed a just-picked cotton field and had to snap a picture. That led me to really take a look around, which means I took about ten pictures of the area along the bayou that eventually leads into my little town. I chose four or five of the better ones and wrote a short post explaining how those pictures came about. Every picture was taken within ten miles of my home.

Photo credit: Dimitry Anikin  @anikind
Let's imagine that you are able to get away. You travel to an exotic location and are able to tour the area for three-to-five days. You can, of course, write an overall post saying that you traveled. Even better, you can write several posts detailing the sights, sounds, smells, and experiences of your travels. Options are limitless, but here are a few of the more common ways: 
  1. Daily writing. Some travel writers create a post at the end of each day expressing that day's goings-on.
  2. Cluster writing. Others combine their experiences into clusters [my term] that detail one particular area. While traveling through Louisiana, for example, I could write about the Cajun culture in the southern part of the state, write about the changes in New Orleans since the Katrina flood, and describe the beauty of Kisatichie National Forest in the northern part of the state.  Each cluster can be a separate post.
  3. Write about place. A third option would be to describe place based on your experience. Perhaps write about what you see and hear at a concert. Did you eat some of the ethnic food at a local festival? What did you expect? How did it taste?
  4. Find your theme. What do you do on every trip? What do you do every day of your trip--tours, foods, people--that you can describe or post photos of daily? What is your favorite part of each day? What discoveries did you make? What surprised you? 
  5. Recommendations/Disapprovals. What do you recommend or discourage? A bare-it-all sort of post that warns readers against an experience you regret can be interesting and helpful. Can you turn an experience into a funny story, perhaps with a little exaggeration? That can be both helpful and entertaining. 
  6. Tours/Events. Are there tours or special events available in the area? Tell about what you saw, the people you met, and how good the tour or event was. What was your favorite experience? What would you do again?
  7. Combine video and writing. Many people would prefer to watch video or view photographs, so it's a good idea to include both in your blogs. It also extends variety to your work, which gives your readers more reason to visit your blog.
Keep in mind that there are many apps available for notes (I like Evernote) and you almost always have your phone. Even if you take photos with a dedicated camera, use your phone at the beginning of the day or event to record details such as date, time, place, cost, tour/event info, etc. 

Writing about your travel experiences can be both entertaining and a wonderful way to document your vacations. It's also a way to connect with readers. Those who travel can join the conversation and share their experiences; those who don't travel may enjoy living vicariously through your posts.

Finally there are many places in the world that are beautiful and exotic but, like everyone else, I have priorities and limitations, so I will most likely never get to see some of those places. To learn about them, I peruse nonfictional works and also enjoy watching videos and reading about others' experiences. Together they give me a comprehensive, yet personal view of the culture and people and the lands I cannot visit on my own. This is why people will read your travel logs, look at your photographs, and watch your videos. 

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1 comment:

Kaja said...

I love to read about other people's travels, whether they are going somewhere local or far-flung. Vicarious adventures are almost as good as having your own.