One of my writing goals for this year is to finish my own travel memoir of a life-changing trip my husband and I took by bus across two continents from Katmandu to London. We found friendly people of many faiths and gained valuable cultural insights during our eye-opening overland journey through Nepal, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey, the former Yugoslavia, Greece, Italy, Austria, Germany, Belgium and England.
Perhaps you have taken a special journey that influenced your life? You could be satisfied by keeping a journal and making a scrapbook or sharing digital photos of the trip on your cell phone. Or maybe now is the time to write a meaningful personal narrative about your travels. Here are three reasons to write a travel memoir:
- To record your experiences and how they affected you.
A travel memoir chronicles not just the day-to-day happenings, but recounts the trials, serendipity and personal encounters you will want to remember. If you have them, use the journal or letters you wrote and the photos you took to recapture the events. Try to write about these experiences in detail now – the sights, the sounds, the dialogue, the feelings – so that your stories will help you always remember exactly why those events changed your life.
- To discover and chronicle your personal growth.
As a traveler, you constantly discover new things about yourself as you overcome obstacles in your path and negotiate unfamiliar surroundings. By writing a travel memoir that recounts vivid stories of your experiences, you also have a chance to review the personal transformations that came about because of your travels. Writing in depth about your insights gives you a chance to understand the narrative arc that occurred during both your outer journey and your inner journey.
- To influence your readers.
Always remember the power of the written word. As you describe how your perspectives changed during your travels, know that you can influence those who read what you write. If you relate how you summoned your courage and your compassion and how you changed more than you thought you could, you will light the way for others to do the same. You will show the possibilities that exist when one embraces the human spirit and opens the heart to share meaningful encounters with people from all walks of life.
Start now to recall the stories you want to tell in your travel memoir. Sort through your photos and journals to refresh your memory. Then put your pen on paper or your fingers on the keyboard and see what emerges. In my next blog I’ll give you some writing tips to ignite your travel memoir stories.
Kay Sanger is the author of the soon-to-be published travel memoir: Overland! An enlightening trip by bus across two continents among Buddists, Hindus, Moslems, Christians and one thieving monkey who all taught life lessons.