How to write Travel Articles that Matter

As a creative individual, what’s your mission?

Does the concept of Oneness relate to travel?

And how important is the concept of Oneness when travelling?

Today I’m going to discuss some of the answers to those questions. Consider this as a thought-provoking reminder: while you may not consider yourself a creative person, you most certainly are. Even if you never write, photograph, or make a single coherent note, your friendships are your creation. So today we’re going to talk a bit about purpose, growth, oneness, and how they relate to your role as a creative being. Yes, you’re a creative being. Sorry, but its unavoidable; you can’t help it. 🙂

An Unexpected Outcome

The Element of Surprise is often overlooked as a key element in creation, whether it be visual, audible, or the written word; so this certainly applies to travel writing. For instance, travel writers must constantly put their readers into a state of wonder and surprise. Without it, the writing feels stale and predictable. Even if you never write, a good example of creativity in a social setting is humor; and as any comic will admit, surprise plays a key role in humor, as well.

Have you ever sat down and asked yourself, “What exactly is humor anyway?” If you think about it, humor can only arise out of an unexpected outcome. It can only arise if there is some flavor of surprise. Good writing is no different.

Our Shared Mission on this Blue-Green Planet

As a travel writer, it’s my mission to provide you with enlightening new perspectives of this beautiful blue-green planet we call home. It really is a magical place, and too often we forget that as we sit in our man-made above-ground caves as beauty lurks outside. Life is so much more than our routines. It’s about discovery. It’s about growth. It’s about inspiration.

And as a travel writer, I deeply feel that it’s my purpose to inspire you with these new perspectives, and (if I’ve really done a good job) make you think differently about the world around you. Perhaps through what I share, you’ll realize more and more that the Earth isn’t the dangerous, unforgiving place that some sources would have you believe. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying it’s without danger. Any environment that fosters growth will have dangerous elements, but danger is certainly not the defining characteristic of Earth. In my experience, the defining characteristic is Growth: a natural unfolding of progress.

You’re lucky, because people who live in a growth-inducing (catalyzing) environment such as Earth’s, will mature over time. Life paths that are dangerous and self-destructive are not a sign of a mature, conscious person; but mature, self-aware life sees itself as a fragment of a larger whole and doesn’t seek to destroy its neighbors because it realizes a universal truth: by hurting others, it hurts itself.

Our mission is to always remember and act on this truth.

It Takes 10,000 Hours

A popular idea floating around right now is that it takes 10,000 hours to become a professional at a skill, so it’s no surprise to me that after writing over a hundred articles, I am only now finally beginning to feel good about how I balance length, depth, and personality in my writing. And I’m excited that I can see this improvement quite obviously when comparing some of my articles from years passed. It’s truly a great honor to be able to share my experiences with you, and I feel that I’m just beginning to hit my stride in my writing capability.

I’ve realized that as I mature as a creator, I become better and better at discerning the quality of the creations around me, and what I see in the writing sphere is a good example.

What’s the deal with travel sites “churning” out content?

These days, I’m surprised sometimes at how some sites seem to write rather passionless articles again and again. I find myself asking certain questions: Does the web really need another story about how to best spend your money? Does the blogosphere (if that’s actually a thing) need another guide on how to use your time most effectively? Does the computer-internet really need another post talking about how “blogging saved my life”?

Maybe, just maybe, it doesn’t.

Maybe this whole web would be better served if writers were painfully honest and wrote about what they actually cared about instead of what they felt would generate page views (or worse, what they were being paid to write so someone else could generate page views).

At what point do people begin to stop recycling ideas and start actually doing their life’s work?

More Honesty = More Value

So here’s the crux of the matter: the more honest you, as a creator, are about your own feelings, the more valuable what you create is. Say it out loud if you didn’t the first time: The more honest you are, the more valuable what you create is. You need to say that out loud because your more likely to actually remember this timeless piece of information.

No matter what kind of content you create, it’s very important to be really, really aware that you’re creating for a real person, who may have arrived at what you’ve created from a variety of places. They may be seeking inspiration, comfort, or any one of a million things.

If you’re a travel writer, they may want a specific question answered, they may want to hear a story, or they may want to just look at some of the beauty you captured on your last trip to Galapagos. But no matter what they seek, the more honest you’re able to be with yourself when you create it, the more they’ll be able to identify with what you’ve created. And the reason for this relates to the concept of Oneness I mentioned earlier.

You see, when you’re really, really aware of how a person enjoys your work, you can put yourself in their shoes. When you can do this, you can anticipate their needs. When you can anticipate their needs, you can make smart choices about how to frame what you’re trying to say. I’m not saying you should only write what you think you’re audience is expecting. That would actually be the stupidest thing you could do, because if you depend on your audience for guidance, the chances of you ending up in a place that resonates with your heart’s path is close to nil. So find the message that resonates with your heart. Then, stay true to your message, but don’t forget who’s hearing it.

How Travel Writing Encourages Oneness

As I see it, one of the highest goals a travel writer can have is to inspire and grow the awareness of Oneness between people, and other kinds of creativity are no different. In the case of travel writing, when you honestly relate your experiences of another culture, not only do you highlight some of the fascinating qualities that are unique to the culture.

But more importantly, if you’re honest with yourself, you invariably come to the conclusion that, once you look under the surface-level appearance, the similarities between peoples and cultures far outweighs the differences. And sharing these types of stories affects us on a deep level, because we already know in the unspoken places of our hearts, that we are all One People, and always have been.

An excellent expression of this is in the song “Braided Hair” by 1 Giant Leap:

(removed from YouTube by a copyright troll)

“Because We are One, and We Should Know We are One”

In short, by expressing yourself honestly, you help the entire planet. The practice of telling stories and relating your experiences of other cultures is just one example. Through honest communication, we realize more and more how we are so incredibly and intimately connected as a people on this planet, and it serves as a wake-up call for us all. The more harmony and cooperation we can create between the differing cultures of the Earth, the more loving and enjoyable this planet will become; and perhaps most importantly, the sooner this planet will become a congruent, harmonious society that’s poised for exploration beyond our own little star.

I look forward to that day… don’t you?
Let’s make it come faster.
We can, when we decide.

2 bits on How to write Travel Articles that Matter

  1. Great post! I agree with it, having these things make us unite and being united we can save the earth easily..

  2. Pingback Carnival of Storytelling – April 14, 2011 | Be the Story