If wanderlust and a passion for writing define you, then you should definitely try your hand at travel journaling.Travel writers from all over the world have established this form of writing as a distinct field – one which has now been opened to study and professional training. Travel magazines are growing in number, looking for freelance writers who are willing to sell their stories and share their experiences with a larger audience. If you want to be a travel writer, making habit of keeping a travel journal is the ideal place to start. If you want to start travel journaling, here’s a quick guide to getting started:
Buy a journal
Although you can go for the option of keeping a digital journal such as an online blog, it’s always a good idea to start with a regular paper journal. The advantage of having a paper journal is that you don’t have to lug around electronics, find plugs and adaptors for them or have access to an outlet or the internet. You can choose journals based on a paper material, size, number of pages and budget; take your pick, but keep in mind that this journal will be going everywhere with you, so consider how easy it will be to carry around and pack. With all of the variety out there, it should be easy to find something you like, which is important; your journal will become an intrinsic part of your travel experience.
Start reading travel journalism
To get an idea about how people write about their travels, go through some travel articles or books. Your local magazine stand is a good place to start. Travel journaling has a lot to do with learning about the experiences of other travelers, which is why it is important that you keep reading magazines, books and online blogs. The more you read, the more diversity you will bring to your traveling and writing, in both your choice of destination and choice of words. If you do not want to spend money on buying magazines, go to the library. Of course, the largest and most pocket-friendly source for reading is the internet, so make good use of these resources.
Take pictures– lots of them
A picture’s worth a thousand words and your journal need not be restricted to a just stories written in ink. Make your journals come alive with pictures which can be used to tell a story themselves, or use them to brighten up your regular journal entries. Pictures will also help jog your memory later on as you look back on your stories. As a traveler, invest in a good camera and make it a habit to capture things that interest you. While traveling, you might not always find the time to sit down and make a journal entry, sometimes it could be days before you can finally write. Pictures will keep details alive. Your camera can act as a window to the destination you are documenting. If you ultimately decide to start a blog dedicated to your travel stories, having pictures is crucial.
Develop your own style
Reading more and more travelogues and journals online or in magazines, you will notice how each writer has their own style of narration. Over time, try developing a style of your own and remember that there is no right or wrong way to express yourself. Whether you’re writing as a hobby or want to take up travel journaling professionally, it is important that you have a style of your own. You might practice imitating the work of someone you like to start and then adjust the tone and style to suit you. Having your own style will set you apart in the market.
Spend time with locals
A cursory view of a destination will leave you with an image similar to any other traveler’s, so you should seek out experiences that are unusual and unique. Spending time with locals when traveling is a brilliant way of getting that unique experience of a destination. You make new friends, you learn about their lives and their culture – the entire process of connecting with another human being during your trip can add more life to your journal entries. Adding pictures and conversations with locals can make your travel journal more interactive.
Consider a Professional Writing Course
If you find yourself wanting to take up travel writing professionally, consider a professional writing course or even an internship with a travel magazine. One online option is MatadorU, a travel writing program by the Matador Network which teaches you the essentials associated with writing, photography and even film-making. The course is $350 and students are taught the key elements and tricks of the business. It consists of a core curriculum, additional Pro Modules for continuing education and even access to a Market Blog where you can find leads and ideas for independent assignments. The Matador support community involves fellow students and faculty of the program. Check it out at http://www.matadoru.com/ .
Online writing communities are also a good way to put your work out there for people to see, and get feedback for the same. To get more readership, you could also consider generating online presence through a website/blog.