Time will come when I have to pack my bags and leave Vietnam, but for now, I want to gather and record as much as I can.
Whenever I travel, I bring a 'handy dandy' notebook with me. So many things happen during travel all at the same time - sensory overload from places, food, colors, culture, people.
As someone who enjoys writing, I can't let all of these slip through my fingers. I try, as much as I can, to merge travel with writing using these four ways:
1. Set aside quiet time to write about the day's events.
2. Find details in the big events.
What was the name of your boat man? How did you find that rusty bicycle that took you to a hidden beach?
The particulars make our encounters unique to us and, hopefully, fascinating to the readers.
Here's what I wrote about traveling to Thailand last year.
3. Talk to strangers.
Travel is the time to engage in small talk, even if it sounds intimidating. Through these conversations, you can gather useful information, make connections with fellow travelers even if it's only for a short time.
Often, the most captivating stories are found in people, not in the sights.
Here's what I wrote while I was in between countries.
4. Go small.
Writing about a trip can get overwhelming. After ticking boxes in your list of things to do in a matter of days, it's hard to know where to start.
Focus on one story - the local dish you tried for the first time or the friendliness of your Airbnb host - and grow your narrative from there.
I recently made a list of small joys. Read it here.
"Travel brings people out of their heads and into their hearts." Gloria Steinem
Do you take note of places you visit and people you meet as your travel? Can you recall a remarkable story from a recent trip?
My book, From Where I Stand, is a book filled with poems of my trips within and outside the Philippines.
You can read a few of my travel stories here.
I am writing from Indochine Coffee, Da Nang, Vietnam.