As you set off on your adventures this year consider having something more than a collection of photos on Facebook or Flikr to share with people when you return. A travel memoir can be a rewarding path to self-discovery as well as a way of recording your travel memories.
Wendy Dale the author of Avoiding Prison and Other Noble Vacation Goals: Adventures in Love and Danger offers some interesting suggestions on how to create a travel memoir as opposed to a diary or journal.
- Your book has to be about something…There has to be a thread uniting your travels. Are you a foodie who traveled in search of culinary adventures? Did you discover the best bluegrass festivals? Were you in quest of trophy trout?
- The opening of your book is critical and it has to explain what made you embark on your journeys… We have to know a little bit about you in order to even care what happens to you later. And secondly, there needs to be a motive for your travels. What triggered your trip? Did you fall in love? Get divorced? Lose a job? Was it a life-long dream or a spur of the moment decision? Was the trip carefully planned or somewhat random?
- Look back and find the themes in your travels…When you think in terms of theme, you give a reader a reason to root for you. It is taking the time to reflect on the lessons learned and insights your trip gave you into some aspect of life that separates a memoir for a simple journal which just lists the stops you made. Did your experiences teach you the value of tradition? Did you learn that life is richer if you allow room for spontaneity? Did you learn that you had a lot in common with people no matter where you met them? It is the themes you discover that convince your reader that your book has something to say to her.
To read more about Wendy Dale’s thoughts on travel memoirs click here.