January 19

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How to Merge Travel With Writing

奥德萨

January 19, 2023


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. 


Traveling might mean packing your days with full-day tours, exhausting hikes, and being out all day. 

When you find it, use your downtime to write about what you did during the day, how you felt and what makes them worth writing about.

This photo was taken during a group hike to Lioness Rock. This climb to the top took a lot of courage and steady knees. Hiking in Norzagaray, Bulacan, 2014.  

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. 

Snorkeling in the clear waters of Maldives, 2021.

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.

I took this selfie on the train not knowing I was going to be late for my flight to Krabi, Thailand. Thanks to the young Thai lady sitting nearby, I found out I should take the train going the opposite direction. Bangkok, Thailand, 2022. 

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

A vintage-looking restaurant somewhere near Truc Bach Lake in Hanoi, Vietnam.

"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.

奥德萨(Odyssa

关于作者

奥德萨是一位来自菲律宾的作家。她是《像一个新太阳升起》的作者。关于爱情的诗集》。不在家里工作或写作的时候,她会出去遛狗。她喜欢旅行,练习瑜伽,沉迷于书籍和韩剧。对她来说,抽出时间进行日常练习或仪式是给自己最好的礼物。

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