I’ve found that some of the most interesting — at least personally — writing that I’ve done is the blogging I did while travelling. Way back on some of my pre-blog, post-University travels I kept a fairly robust travel journal. The same rules pretty much apply here, I find, and result in the same outcome: a great bit of memory-making for yourself in future years of reading back — or some present-day, green-with-envy reading for the folks back home. My only caveat — and speaking now from the perspective of merely my own personal paranoia and concern over the house-afar that no one is sleeping in each night — but I don’t publish my posts publicly until I’m back home (or sitting in the airport about to be home.)
Either way — paranoid or not — if you’re going to write on vacation, my “week of lists” post for today has some tips.
1 = Set a Schedule
Vacations and travel are wonderful… at helping us lose ourselves frm the routine of our normal lives. So often we forget time. It flies, vanishes, and the next thing we know we’re falling into bed and moving onto the next adventure. If you are serious about recording your adventures in a blog, whether for folks back home or for posterity and future reading, getting the words into the computer is the key part of that. That means setting a schedule. I don’t know your travel routine. I don’t know how you operate. That’s for you to figure out. But picking a time — maybe for half an hour at breakfast, or perhaps during a late-afternoon siesta — to write, get your thoughts down, and hit the publish button before continuing, well, that’s about the only way to make travel blogging work.
2 = Record the (Seemingly) Mundane
No matter your style, what seems mundane in the moment — conversations, laundry, books you’ve read, music you heard, glimpses of simple day-to-day, or just the colour of the stone on the side of that road over there — will not seem mundane a year or a decade later when you are reading back on those memories. So often we get caught up in the “wow!” stuff, that we forget to remember the fragments of life that are so normal, yet just different enough to be interesting and shape our impressions.
3 = Change It Up
And by this keep in mind that you are on vacation. This means that you might consider writing something completely off-kilter from what you would normally write about on your blog. I don’t really have any hard-and-fast themes going on with my blog, but I do tend to focus a lot on running, photography, parenting — y’know, thos six topics in my banner bar — and only occasionally stray. When travel-blogging, all bets would be off. I just write. Heck, I’m on vacation. And if readers don’t like it… well, it’s that or nothing: I’m on vacation. Try forgetting the standard blog fare for a few days, and just record the trip.
4 = Pick a Theme
… but don’t get too bogged down by it. A theme — and by this I mean an over-arching, multi-post style of presenting your stories — helps to bridge the collection of writing that will span you vacation. For example, are you going to record your travels as a play-by-play recap of notable (or less-notable) moments? Maybe you’re looking to tell the story of people you’ve met and your theme might be that of personal perspectives. Perhaps you write best telling the tales of the sights you’ve seen, the things you’ve eaten, or the drinks you’ve drank. Is your theme going to encompass an element of time, in that are you writing as a past reflection, an in-the-moment elaboration, or a whats-to-come-anticipation? Does your theme segment you into narrowed topics where you write extensively on one memorable element, or do you gush from feeling to feeling, moment to moment? There are lots of options, but themes — at least for me — tend to create a more cohesive post and — when read later on — a better bit of memory-making.
5 = Don’t Be Afraid To Write More Later
In full, as a recap, or as addendums and edits, going back on your memories, thoughts, impressions, recollections, and — often with the help of photos or videos — forgotten bits is not a bad thing. One set of posts I wrote about a vacation in Hawaii didn’t get written until pretty much one full year after we got back from our trip. (There were various reasons for this, none worth going into here.) The result was a slightly different style of posts, but some settled recollections — memories that hadn’t quite faded, and had time to accumilate some perspective — from a solid vacation one year later. I don’t suggest, neccessarily, waiting that long, but I am suggesting that travel blogging — for those who would rather leave their computers behind — is not impossible, and can still (days, weeks, months or even a year after you get home) be a very rewarding experience.