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“You enter the extraordinary by way of the ordinary.” ~Frederick Buechner

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Journal With Impact: Travel Influence

Workshop: Six Conversations for Writing Creative Journals

“Doing these four things, you will discover why you were compelled to relive being with a particular person or at being at a particular place or event.” Sheila Bender

Travel makes a definite influence on our lives whether we do it daily on a local basis, or for vacation, or for special occasions. In addition to the personal reflections and family memoir material, travel journals can become stepping-stones to articles or settings for fiction, or blog material, or both. By focusing our perspective on travel details we also hone our observation and descriptive skills. Sensory detail is crucial.

When writing description in essays, Sheila Bender gives this advice. “1) Stay with the senses. 2) Make comparisons in order to share the experience as it was in the very moment you had it. 3) Stay in those moments that interest you. 4) Present experience itself. Your images have authority. They say, ‘This is how it was for me’.”

Description is one of the key ingredients for travel writing of any kind whether personal or public. With modern apps we can automatically keep a visual record, but a journal will go deeper by adding the atmosphere in ways that others can relate to our adventures.

Action Steps: Try out this journal prompt as a test run for potential material.

1. Make two side-by-side lists of One) ten places you’ve traveled to, and Two) ten places you’d like to go. (Can include repeats)

2. Are there any similarities or patterns in your choices?

3. Also note if there are any places you tend to look for no matter where you are?  My children surprised me on one road trip with an exasperated comment that I always spot the bookstores. As far as I knew I simply watched out the windows at everything as we drove by. However, they told me that whenever I saw a bookstore I would say so out loud.

Share: Do you have an interest you instinctively watch for when driving through small towns? Or set up on a map app to locate when you arrive?

Read deep, marcy


  1. I look for the independent bookstore, the coffee roasting place with the clever name, the bistro with outdoor seating that doesn't face a parking lot, the boutique with an artistic window display, an inviting walking trail, mountains in the distance, charming inns, people on the sidewalks...thanks for asking. This was fun to think about.

  2. What a lovely assortment! Thank you for reminding us to stay open-eyed to possibilities.


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