Break Your Trip into Ideas

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A crystal-clear geyser at Yellowstone National park.

I just got back from an epic two-week road trip across the U.S. What did I learn about writing? A ton. If you want to write for travel magazines, or just want to tell great stories about places you’ve been or things you’ve done, keep these tips at the top of your mind:

  1. Write during the trip.

Between driving, sightseeing, setting up camp, and socializing, there wasn’t much time for writing. Luckily I was with my boyfriend, so every couple of days I would pull out my laptop and write several pages about every major or interesting thing that had happened. I ended up with ten single-spaced pages of journaling, which I will hone later.

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South of the Border (of the North Carolina border, that is) is an obscure, strangely large place; a tourist trap of violent proportions. When my boyfriend said he lost the car keys in one of the four or five massive buildings we visited, I got anxious. Somehow we found them.

       2. Take pictures: artistic, informative, and just plain interesting.

Your pictures don’t have to be perfect if you’re going to used them to jog yourmemory later, so take as many as you want and don’t delete any until you gethome to look through each one. You never know what gem you’ll find.

        3. When you get home find a time and place to sit down and break your trip into ideas.

I got an interview with the owner of a unique Colorado store that I’ve always wanted to write about. I have 45 minutes of our interview recorded, as well as pictures of the owner and the shop itself, and dozens of half-formed ideas. Tomorrow I’ll sit down and jot as many ideas about this one store as I can, and then I’ll worry about distilling these into just a few really good ideas to pitch to magazines.

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The Grand Canyon was more epic than I recall during my last visit. The south side is better, if busier, than the north. I suggest that people go here, but be prepared for traffic, thousands of tourists, and sunburns.

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