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“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.”
Packing the duffel with the bare essentials and hopping into the car, getting behind the steering wheel and driving with no perfect destination in mind – we all dream to live such a life, don't we? Travelling to unseen places and exploring what it has to offer can be an enriching experience. However beautiful can travel be as an experience, writing a travelling essay can be quite a challenge. It may seem easy to come up with the ideas that you want to include in the essay but putting them into coherent sentences can be difficult. Your words should be impactful enough to be able to sweep the readers off their feet and take them on the cliff or make them feel the saline breeze on a beach.
A perfect travel essay must reflect the journey and highlight the little-known facts about the region. It should be infused with the character and culture of the place. If you are feeling stymied while writing a travel essay, then we have some brilliant tips for you that can make the task considerably easy for you.
Here are 8 tips that you can cash on to produce a winning travelling essay:
Before you choose a topic for your travel essay, keep the time spent in the location in mind. If your trip is just for a couple of days, then do not make the mistake of writing about an entire city. Think it out practically – is it possible to travel through a city in just a few days? Take for instance your essay is about London. It is quite an insurmountable task to be able to cover all the distance even in a week. So stick to a particular destination so that you can include the nuances and minutest details of the place to paint a picture in the reader’s mind with your words.
Also, the destination need not be about an exotic locale. It can be a story about an idyllic rustic location in the suburb of the teeming city. It can be about a cottage up on the hills with just the view of snowy valleys and iced peaks. Your words should give the sense of exploring and not touring. The essay should not be like a guide. It should be a view of the location through your lens.
Before starting to write a travel essay, do your research. A travel essay isn’t a made-up story so there should not be any fake information. Readers will be looking for more than just the necessary information about the must-visit tourist attractions. So you need to go beyond the surface and include more about the history of the place. Just do not write about the restaurants – talk about the cuisine of the place and the story behind it, if any. To get into the innermost recesses of the location, you can speak to the residents of the area. To bring richness in your travel essay, you must reveal another side of the destination.
The key to an impressive travel essay is to be able to break down the location into kernels and write the core details about them. As mentioned earlier, so not just write about the tourist attractions and restaurants in the destination. Write about the lesser talked streets and unknown landmarks and the history behind them. If the place is known for its delicacies, write about how the cuisine has evolved and who had started it. From quaint bookstores to ice cream parlours to run-down shabby pubs – shed light to such nuances to bring your essay to life. You can even mention the negative things that you have faced in the place – like irregular transport modes or impolite locals. These little details will help you make your essay more impactful.
Since a travel essay is more like an anecdote, there is no specific format to write it. Therefore, a travel essay gives you the scope of setting your foot into the unchartered areas of creativity. You have got the creative freedom to write what you want. You can study how the natives of the locale speak and learn some of the basic words and phrases they use. To put them into writing you can read the local newspaper to get the pulse of the city you are in. Using the colloquial lingo can help the reader get a closer peek into the lives of the people living in the place. It will reflect a slice of how they live their way of life. Your words should be simple and yet impactful to portray and not just merely narrate. Touch every bit of the rust in the roof to make the reader feel like they are on the same journey with you.
The travel essay is your story. So add some personal experience in the story and at the same time do not make it self-indulgent. Include stories that can resonate with all your readers. Your experiences should be able to bring the reader back to the travel destination and connect him with the place. It should be the perfect blend of narration of the experiences you had while on the trip along with a vivid description of the place. To achieve the balance, write your essay in first person perspective to give a real touch to the story. Include the most interesting bits that will help the reader connect with you. You can even include the quotes of natives living in the area you had visited.
Like every essay, the introduction is the key to make it an impressive read. The opening should be capturing enough to attract the reader’s attention. It should leave an impact and should make them want to go on reading the piece. Start with an unknown fact about the place and leave it hanging from the cliff. Use a tone of suspense to excite the readers to keep them guessing about the contents of the essay.
For certain places, words may fall short in being able to explain the exact description of a place. You cannot describe how the sky looked with the mountains seemingly touching the clouds or the horizon fading beyond the sea. Certain things cannot be explained in words – like the color of the sky or the water! This is where pictures come in! Providing real images of the place in between can help the readers stay connected. Vivid photos can also make the readers understand the story better by bringing them closer to it. So make sure you take breathtaking pictures of the place you are writing about. The images will help your essay stay in the readers’ mind longer.
With the above tips, we are sure you will be able to write an excellent travelling essay that will impress your professor and fetch you a good grade.
And if you are still unsure about putting these to use, then below is a winning sample to show you how it is done!
I have visited London several times, and yet it is amazing how I find something new to explore every time I visit the capital city. My visit last autumn too did not fail to surprise me. With the hustle and bustle and the rich royal history, London city has a lot to offer. Since I just had a few days to spare, I wanted to make the best out of this trip.
Although vast and sprawling, I decided to visit most of the city on foot this time. Now since in my previous visits I had seen most of the tourist-y attractions already, I wanted to take the path less travelled this time to discover the hidden gems of the city. The last time I had been to London, I had missed out on the chance to visit the chock full of literature and history that awaited me in the Shakespeare Globe Theatre. Being a student of literature, visiting the place where the Bard of Avon once enacted the plays he wrote was a spellbinding moment. And guess what? I also caught a staging of the Macbeth before I left the place. Before heading towards the Hyde Park tube station, I grabbed some of London’s famous Fish ‘n’ Chips from the oldest food market of the city, the Borough Market. From Hyde Park to Tower Hill in under fifteen minutes by Tube, I began exploring the Tower of London. It was there that I heard a guard speaking about where he hailed from. A quick conversation with Peter, I had gotten intrigued to know more about his village – Suffolk in Lavenham. I asked him how to get there and Peter, being the quintessential helping guide that Londoners are known to be, told me that I could either take a car from central London. Or I could wait for the next day and take the train from Liverpool to Sudbury and then take the bus route 753 and reach in around two hours. Having nothing to do, I spent that day in the British Museum and walking on Oxford Street.
The next morning, I started my journey to the quaint village of Suffolk. I had picked up a book about the village where I learned that the village had once housed Henry III in 1257. And a bonus for all the Harry Potter fans – the village also starred in ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’ as Godric’s Hollow where Hermoine and Harry are seen to be visiting Bathilda Bagshot. On reaching the village, the first thing that grabbed my attention was the picture-perfect silhouette of prosperous medieval England with all the half-timbered houses. The lime-washed and brightly coloured buildings added an idyllic element to the village with the De Vere House standing out from the rest. Adding to the rustic touch was the fifteenth-century St Peter Church with its soaring height of a 141ft tower. The autumn breeze welcomed me as I walked on the leaf-covered high streets. I saw some young guns cycling around in a park and called out to them for directions. My stay for the trip was an Air BnB home-stay where I had to put up with an elderly couple – the Havishams. I still remember how on reaching the gate of the house, I had caught a waft of crumpets and hot scones. After an exchange of banalities followed by me gorging on the scones, I had found out about the hidden gems from Mr Havisham who happened to be quite a cheerful talker. He told me what a must-visit Hadley’s was when in Suffolk. I had then set out with a local map to find the hidden gem. On reaching I had found that Hadley’s was a cutesy ice cream shop, almost run down, run by an old lady. Here Rebecca told me how the ice cream parlour was opened back in the 1850s and was still known for their hand-made sorbets.
Like the sorbet, my stay in Suffolk had been a sweet experience – a trip of revelation. The tour – with all the lonely walks – had in an inexplicable way helped me to get my perspectives right. It isn’t the exotic locales and the flight above the clouds that make travelling my drug. Rather, it is little but beautiful discoveries like Suffolk that feed my wanderlust. Thank you, London. Thank you for being a wonderful experience, once again.
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