Aside from the obvious perk of traveling the world for work, travel writing has enriched my life in unexpected ways. A good travel writer doesn’t just write about what she sees and experiences wherever she goes. She makes things happen, she lives life to the fullest, seeks out adventures, and new ways to enjoy life. These essential elements of travel writing have transformed my life.
I’ve been traveling for more than a decade, and have been publishing articles for three years. During these years, the skills I picked up on my assignments have transformed the way I live my life. Here are five ways that travel writing has made its mark in my everyday life.
1) Attention to Detail – While on assignment, it’s important to note down or make a mental note of a place to bring it to life on paper. The color the sky turns at sunrise, the artwork displayed in the restaurant, the music played at the outdoor party, and the makings of a delicious meal, all need to be taken into consideration. In my life in New York, where everything whizzes by a mile a minute, it’s not always easy to pay attention to the little things. However, I am noticing myself taking note of the way people dress to work, the smiles of the street vendors, the titles of books people reading on the subway, and more. It makes my day more interesting.
2) Friends Around the Globe – Whether I meet them on my travels or connect with them via social media for stories, it’s always a treat to wake up to messages from friends sent from the other side of the world while I was sleeping. It makes me feel special. Well, that’s not the only reason having friends in different countries makes life better. They bring a new perspective, they enlighten me on issues going on in the world that I am unaware of, and they give me story ideas.
3) Connecting with Interesting People Locally – Amusing people are crucial to a good story. Traveling always introduces to some colorful characters worth writing about. But there are fascinating people everywhere, which is why I never pass up an opportunity to chat with a stranger. I could get a scene for my novel from a conversation with the next cab driver, elevator operator, or the nurse at my yearly physical.
4) Seeking out Adventures – Snorkeling with sea lions in the Galapagos, wind-surfing in Aruba, zip-lining in Costa Rica, and paddle boarding with dolphins on Hilton Head island all sound exciting, and they were quite fun to experience. But why stop having fun after returning home? When one is open to new ventures, there is always a way. Last year, I tried surfing at a local beach, which was something I never thought I would ever do given my fear of the ocean. (And the picture above is proof.)
5) Living in the Moment – Writing a story that transports the reader to some far off location and inspire him to book a plane ticket is not an easy task. It requires vivid detail, conversations with interesting characters, and making the most of the activities. All of these require being fully present in the moment. After all, travel is about enjoying what’s here and now. The same advice also applies to our day-to-day lives. Living in the moment makes life less burdensome, and more enjoyable. Here’s a collage of my recent trip to Storm King Art Center, an hour and a half from my house, where a simple roll down a hill was all it took to make my heart fill with joy.