5 Powerful Tips to Write Travel Stories Only You Can Tell

“Packing up your writing gear and heading somewhere warm and sunny for the holidays? Or just a trip back home?

It doesn’t matter where you’re off to—there will be a story waiting for you.

Our travels are made up of great stories—ones filled with drama, cultural misunderstandings and frustration, as well as serendipity, joy and transcendence.

Writing about these stories will not only fulfill your storytelling itch, but also improve your general writing skills. Whether it’s refining your powers of observation or enhancing your ability to reflect on meaningful experiences, writing about your travels can be a masterclass in everything from memoir to nature writing to world-building.

Write the travel story only you can tell with these five tips.

1. State your quest

Every journey is a quest, whether you know it or not.

Ask yourself: How did it start? What are you aiming to do or achieve?

Your quest can be as abstract as ‘find myself’ or as specific as ‘swim in the Atlantic Ocean.’ It can be as monumental as ‘change my life completely’ and as small as ‘replace the glass ring my best friend gave me in 1999.’

This quest doesn’t have to be the ONLY reason you’re going to this new place. It can be part of the reason, or become important once you arrive and spend time in this place.

Think about it: all good travel memoir books and essays have a quest at their center.

In The New Mecca, George Saunders is trying to form his own impressions of Dubai outside of the media’s portrayals of the city.

In Vietnam’s Bowl of Secrets, David Farley is after the secret recipe to a dish found only in the Vietnamese town of Hoi An.

We all know that Elizabeth Gilbert has a suite of deep quests in her famous travel memoir Eat, Pray, Love. She wants to move on from the crippling male relationships in her life and find a deeper meaning to her existence.

Once you start writing about your quest, your readers will want to know: does she achieve her quest? Does she get the thing she wants? Keep your reader guessing until the end.”

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