What was the trip that changed you, inside and out? That made you see the world differently? That made you a different person?
Most likely, it was an early trip, perhaps your first ever. Often, those first trips plant the seeds for a love of discovery. They are the ones that can install new perspectives in our ways of thinking. Or it could be a later trip, where you realize the value of travel that you hadn’t in your youth. Whatever it may be, if you’re stuck in your goal of writing about your travels, contemplating your most impactful trip should give you a great story to tell.
Your story could be focused on a very particular moment, or it could be more of an overview of an experience. In both styles, you must dig deep to convey to the reader why the trip was so important to you, and what kind of change it caused in you.
So, what was your most impactful travel experience? Narrow it down, and then follow these 6 steps to write about it:
1.Write down everything you remember about that trip in your notebook.
Use the phrase “I remember…” as often as you like to stir more memories. You’re just generating ideas here, so don’t worry if your memories are interesting or not. Just try to get down as many close details as you can, instead of generalized descriptions.
2. Next write about your routine while you were in this place.
What did you typically do? What did you most often feel? Now, you can write a bit more generally, giving an overview of your experience, rather than a close description.
3. Brainstorm and write down all the ways you’ve changed from this trip.
What did you learn? What were the consequences of this trip? How did it cause you to think and act in the future? What did you think before and what did you think after this trip?
4. Take a day or two, and then read over what you wrote.
Once you finish reading about how the trip changed you, try to link the changes that took place to the details of the trip itself that you wrote down in steps 1 and 2. Is there a particular detail or piece of a story that caused you to think differently? Was there something about the routine of your days in this new place that caused the changed? If so, get to your computer and start typing out those memories.
5. Take note of the shape your story takes.
Is it centered around a particular incident, such as getting lost in the Marrakech medina, or is it centered around a broader experience, such as waking up every morning in Thailand and listening to the birds outside of your window? By observing this, you will learn whether or not you’re writing about a particular moment, or your generalized experience. Focus on either one of those options.
6. Include your change at the end of your story, and link it to the content of your travel experience as precisely as you can.
Let me know if this guide worked for you in the comments below!
Check out the Travel to Memoir program to write a complete travel story in just 4 weeks.