Saturday, September 6, 2008

Travel Blogging: The Outer and Inner Journey . . .

My trip to Spain is coming up and I am so excited to finally be visiting this beautiful, lively and diverse country. After being high on my "must see" list for a long time, I finally decided that this year it was time! And for me, the decision came fairly quick and easy.

After my last trip to Venice (which by the way I loved) and my experiences during the trip and in writing my report I discovered a big area of needed improvement.

For that last few years, I have been a member of the Slow Travel Community board where travelers from all over the world ask and offer advice, share information and are supportive of each other. They are incredibly generous, creative and talented travelers and I want to be able to take myself to that level. But in order to do that I need to make certain changes. I have challenged myself to improve my research, note taking and writing in preparation for my next and third solo trip.

So between now and then, I will be posting several pre-trip entries about my upcoming trip to Spain. I'd like to write about what I intend to see and do, my thoughts about what I'll be seeing, my feelings and why I want to see them. The topics will include where I'll be visiting, the art, history, culture, churches, museums, architecture, food and drinks, the people and what I think will be one of my trip highlights ... Flamenco!

I'm going to dedicate the next two months before my trip to learning how to write better, how to improve my travel blogging, how to pay attention to details and at the same time use this time studying all the things I'll be seeing. When I see a painting or visit a church I want to be able to have a good understanding of it's history. And when I do, I think I'll be able write about them much better.

If I can to describe my travel and writing style in a nutshell, this quote says it well:

" Every trip consists of two simultaneous journeys: the outer journey and the inner journey. The outer journey is everything external: what you're seeing, hearing, smelling, doing, etc. The inner journey is what's happening in your mind. Great travel journals weave these two journeys together." -- by Dave Fox's Internet article, "Create a More Vivid Travel Journal-10 Tips to Enliven Your Writing.

Stay tuned . . .


  1. Thanks for that great link - I am going to print that out! Those are some great ideas.

    I always keep a journal when I travel - I usually write in it whenever I sit down in a restaurant or cafe. I don't always bother writing in complete sentences though - sometimes it's just impressions or things I don't want to forget. And I usually do some writing on the plane ride home too while things are still pretty fresh in my mind.

    I like the "inner/outer" journey concept but it's hard to write about the inner journey sometimes. Like with the churches...there are some of them that I love so much but I can't really explain why!

    I can't wait to read all about your impressions of Spain. I'll be curious to see if it's a place you want to return to again, how it compares to Italy, etc.

  2. Hi Annie, thanks so much for your comments. I like your idea of sitting at a cafe and writing down impressions and notes.

    I know what you mean about the inner/outer. I think when I'm really into something, it can also be a mystery to me where it comes from. I'm thinking that maybe it just comes from my heart and there's no other explanation needed.

    I'm really happy that you have a connection to these churches and you write so beautifully about them. If it wasn't for your articles, I probably would not have discovered them on my trip . . . and that would have been my big loss! And I bet it's the same for others.

    It will definitely be interesting to learn what my impressions will be of Spain! From what I have been reading, I'm pretty sure that I will really enjoy myself. But then of course it hasn't stopped me from already thinking ahead to Italy 2009 at the same time! :)

    Have a great week Annie!

  3. Kathy, this is a very thoughtful post. I've been having some of the same thoughts myself. I've been trying to do more research about things I'd like to see before my trip, and posting about them on my blog has helped focus that research.

    I hope to pay more attention to what I'm seeing and doing during my trip, and sometimes keeping a journal does help to focus the mind. I have a tendency to visit a place but not pay close attention -- while I'm there, I'm already planning the next site or thinking about whether my shoes are pinching or where to go for lunch! At the risk of cliches, I'm hoping to be more present during this trip.

    I hope that you accomplish your goals in preparing for your trip. I think you've already got a wonderful base of writing and research to build on!

  4. Hi Sandra, thanks so much for your comments. I've been really enjoying reading your blog a lot and it gave me the idea of doing pre-trip blogging with more details on what I want to see in Spain. It was your last posts about the frescos and the underground Perugia that gave me the idea. Thank you!

    Journaling is one of my weak points when I travel, but I am definitely determined to do better this trip. And by reading everyone's blogs I'm learning a lot.

    Thanks again for your comments! Have a great time in Italy! Only 5 days to go . . .

  5. This is a great post! Since I started blogging and reading all these wonderful ST blogs, I have become more aware of my shortcomings as a traveler. I have always focused on research but failed at note taking and documenting much of what I see. Like you, I hope to improve in these areas, especially the writing. English is not my native language and I often struggle when I have to put my thoughts into words. I’m good in Spanish but boy do I struggle with English!

    It’ll be very interesting to read your impression on Andalusia. I checked your itinerary and just realized that we won’t be able to connect in Spain because we have to be in Atlanta on November 8, so we probably be leaving the 6 or 7. I’m bummed but the date in Atlanta is set in stone (my brother’s big 65th b-day).

    I will now take a closer look at the link you posted.

    Have a great week!

  6. Hi Maria, from reading your blog I'm so surprised to read that you struggle with putting your thoughts into words. I find your blog to be among my favorites because I really enjoy the way you write and express yourself. You write so well, that it seems like it is effortless for you.

    I know that I'm going to really love my stay in Andalusia (but the new and improved writer in me will be able to specifically provide a detailed description of why I will love it! :)

    Oh, I am so sorry that I will just be missing you in Spain. I think that we will literally be passing each other in the sky! I fly into Madrid I think on the 7th so I won't even be in Andalusia for a few days after. It would have been so special meeting you in person . . . but who knows maybe next time! Or maybe somewhere in Italy! :)

    I have to thank you again for everything . . . especially helping me to finally buying my tickets. Finding and sharing your family vacation photos and getting the name of Los Gatos. If I can find an internet cafe after I finally get to see my flamenco show I will definitely blog about it the next day!

    Have a nice evening Maria!

  7. LOL at what Sandra said about thinking about "whether my shoes are pinching" - I can relate to that. So many times in Venice, I've started thinking about my sore feet instead of what I'm seeing. That's when it's time to find a cafe!

  8. Kathy, thanks for the link to that article, and for your own thoughts on the subject - wonderful post!!

    I love when the words that flow out of my fingers actually reflect the thoughts going on in my head, sometimes it is just so hard to capture those swirling thoughts in phrases that make sense to anyone else!

  9. Hi Annie, I also laughed when I read Sandra's comment about the shoe pinching. She can definitely keep it real! It certainly does provide an excellent excuse for finding a nice cafe (or gelato place) to rest our tired feet. Not that I really need a great excuse to do so. :)

    Have a great evening Annie!

  10. Hi Anne, thanks for your comments. Glad you find the article interesting.

    I love reading your blog and I think you do an excellent job in capturing your thoughts very well.

    As for me, I always have to be moved and inspired before I can write about something. And the inspiration can come from reading someone's blog, viewing a photo or reading something.

    Thanks again. Have a great evening!

  11. I finally got a moment this morning to sit down and read your plans. I wanted to pass on to you that you are doing a great job writing about your preparations and feelings. I struggle so much with writing especially as I get older. My brain has become fuzzy and I just struggle to get back to the point as Anne mentioned above where "words flow out of my fingers".

    You are going to have a wonderful journey.

  12. Hi Marta, thank you so much for reading my plans and for your feed back. I enjoy reading your blog a lot and I always find what you write about so interesting. It's hard to detect any signs of struggle on your part, since it reads so well.

    I really appreciate your comments and taking the time to provide feedback. I have been very fortunate to have so much support from everyone . . . you, Annie, Maria, Anne, Girasoli, Leslie, Sandra and also everyone on ST like Shannon, Doru . . . the Slow Travel community has become such a big part of my life now. And it's more than just about travel . . . it's about how I can learn to see and appreciate life, it's about understanding different cultures, art, history, people, . . . and the list goes on! Some days I'll read something and somehow during the day, I'll remember it and things just click after applying what I read. So I am very grateful for all the words that continue to flow . . .


It's me Trekcapri (aka Kathy). Thanks so much for visiting and leaving a comment.