Here we are in Hamburg, Germany
If you like to travel, even if it's not far from home, take advantage of this time to write personal travel essays or nonfiction feature articles about the places you've been.You can go either way, but I prefer the personal essay as it gives me leeway to be a little more creative rather than just reporting the facts. Do it soon after you've returned home when the memories are fresh.
Ken and I have taken several trips to Europe and the UK as well as South Africa. Each time, I've kept a travel journal and have then written about our trips, the places we stayed, tourist attractions we visited and people we met. Several of the essays have been published in various magazines, newspapers, and in ezines. I've even written a few blog posts while we are on trips, not always easy to do with time issues.
I learned to put details in my journal as they will be helpful after I return home and start writing. It's amazing what small things you forget once you have gotten back to your home and normal routine.
I try to add something about the people we meet while traveling as I think most of us like to read about people, especially those in other countries. But even in our own state or town or those we see and talk with in airports.
Once, we were waiting for a flight in the Johannesburg, South Africa airport on our return trip. Two seats away from me was a young, college-age girl. After a few minutes, we got to talking. It turned out she was a K-State student (located in our town) and was from Topeka, an hour away from us. Yet, here we were--visiting with one another across a sea and on another continent. Small world? Yes, it is!
Hotels and food rank high on my list of things I pay attention to when we travel, so I include some of that in my travel pieces. Also, the feelings I have had when visiting impressive spots like the Normandy Beaches where D-Day took place in 1944.
Here we are in England with South African friends
I would urge you to start writing your travel piece as soon as you can before the memories fade and the details blow away like a child's lost balloon on a windy day. When you're dining in a magnificent restaurant, you think you'll never forget any of it, but you do. You remember highlights. That's why it is important to keep the details in your journal. You don't have to write paragraphs--make lists of things you want to remember.
Me in Paris along the Seine River on a chilly March day
A few of the essays and articles I've written after trips can be found by clicking on the titles below.
Kissing The Blarney Stone (scroll down the page for the story)
The essays above are all about trips to foreign countries, but places you visit in your own country provide lots of inspiration and information for travel articles.