Tuesday, October 14, 2014


Every aspiring travel writer's packing list must include a journal.  Whether you choose a notepad, a tablet, or a fancy bound book with a lovely cover doesn't matter as much as having a means to record your notes and impressions about your trip.  Even more than the photos, your journal brings back each day of the trip in vivid detail.  Photos capture a bit of what you see, but the journal can include all of your senses, as well as your thoughts and emotions during the trip.

In fact, when Rob and I travel, our senses are so overwhelmed by all of the new sights and experiences that we often have trouble remembering what we did two days ago, much less remembering the entire trip!  We keep a record of our trips on a blog, Travels With Robby.  But that website is just a personal journal.  Each post is a record of one trip...a diary of our own experiences, so it is probably only of interest to Rob, myself, and family members and friends who want to share the experience with us.

It's a great beginning, but as the aforementioned aspiring travel writer, I wanted to learn how to mine these personal stories for the little gems that could be cut into polished travel tales.  For help with this, I turned to an  award winning travel writer, master travel blogger, and great writing teacher, Dave Fox of Globejotting: A Home for Global Storytelling.

I "discovered" Dave while searching the web for help with travel journaling.  He had an older website with pages of good advice, including strategies to help with the biggest problem we travel journalers face - how to find time to journal when we are busy enjoying a trip.

Over the years, Dave expanded his services.  He turned his good website advice into a thoroughly enjoyable book, Globejotting: How to Write Extraordinary Travel Journals (and still have time to enjoy your trip!)  Dave is also a humor writer, winner of the Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop Book Proposal Contest for his book, Getting Lost: Mishaps of an Accidental Nomad, and he put his humor to good use in his Globejotting book.

Dave also offers online travel and humor writing classes and these classes resulted in some of the best writing I have ever done.  Dave provides thorough and thoughtful feedback to his students in a tactful, friendly, but honest way.  He also hosts a forum for his writing students where they can share and critique their stories.  I am currently taking his new class, offered through Udemy, on creating publishable travel tales, "Travel Writing and Publishing: Globejotting 2.0."

For those of you wondering about his own travel "credentials," Dave is a world traveler with years of experience.  He lived in Norway as a high school exchange student and used his Norwegian and journaling skills to become a guide on the Scandinavian tours with Rick Steves.  He has led travel writing trips to Vietnam and Botswana, and he currently lives in Singapore with his wife Kattina, a science teacher at an international school there.

I encourage those of you with travel writing aspirations to check out his website and other services.  With Dave's help (and good advice from my Writers of Kern critique partners), I hope to turn some of my own travel journals into true travel tales that will bring the joy of traveling to a wider audience.

(If you are interested, you can also check out my two stories that have been published on Globejotting!  My Husband's Other Wife and Quetzal Quest.)


  1. Joan,
    Great post with such wonderful information. I'll definitely check out Dave's website.

    When I've traveled in the past, I've kept notebooks recording the date, location, temperature, mileage and notes about the travels. I even have one (buried somewhere) of the trip I took in high school to New York with a theater group.

    You've given me some homework - to find the notebook/journals and not only relive the trips, but find something new to write about.


    1. Joan, I love going back to my old journals. The ones from high school make me laugh. I was in love with a different boy every other week. (And what's funny is that I had completely forgotten this until I read it in my own handwriting!)

  2. I recall your sharing this and the two stories you have linked back in the critique group. You might want to read my comment on Jumping Joan.

    1. I will, Terry! I see we have both made it up to the letter G. If we post one a day for the next few days, we might make it to the end of this challenge!

  3. This motivates me to a younger time, when I had zero kids and a tank full of gas. Thank you for the read.

  4. I *loved* "My Husband's Other Wife." So cute. She's beautiful. And the article is funny and sweet. Thanks for sharing it. Now I'm off to read the other one.

  5. Great travel writing tips, Joan. Thanks! xoA

  6. with some luck I will have letters L and M by the end of the weekend.