Having grown up in Seattle, I am no stranger to what some refer to as "dreary" weather. My last trip began in early March and I was stunned to find how temperate central Europe was in comparison. Furthermore, the reduction in ticket prices is approximately $300 between early March and early May. I'll save the $300 and bring a couple sweaters and a rain-coat. Perusing my travel books, it seems as though most all sights stay open, and the slight reduction in open hours is more than compensated for by the lack of lines.
Some of the best travel essays I’ve read over the years had a definite, central theme. It is important to identify the central themes of your article or essay before you try to write it. Decide at the outset what main point about a place or experience you want to convey.
Though I continue to work as a travel blogger and greatly enjoy it, I have expanded my scope as a writer to include personal travel narratives (or short-form travel memoir).
Our travelling experiences can allow us to banish some of the biases we have towards places in the world, that we have unpleasant preconceptions about. In Margaret Laurence’s “Down East” she tells of her biased view towards the East, namely Ontario. These views stemmed from her origins, and were carried with her throughout the first half of her life. It was not until she actually lived in Ontario, that she realized how inaccurate her conceptions had been. In the end Margaret came to love the place she had once despised. We ourselves can learn from Margaret’s experience, by trying to base our views on actual personal experiences instead of the stereotypical views of society. It has been my observation that we tend to base some of our decisions on negative media. This may be safe in some instances but there may be a chance of misfortune. We may miss out on something so spectacular that another location has to offer.
Last month, I gave my first personal travel writing seminar to a group of bright budding travel writers. This post is comprised of advice I gave the seminar participants and “best practices” I’ve discovered over the past two years of writing personal travel essays.
Sharing our travelling experiences with others can motivate action. By expressing our positive insights we can influence negative outlooks that others may have on a specific place. We can inspire others to seek out there own personal learning through travels of their own. It may seem impossible to make any sort of difference, but just sharing small experiences with friends or family, like my friend shared with me about Africa can really help to form illustrations in the mind. At my high school back home in Victoria, British Columbia, there was an opportunity for a dozen students to go on an exchange to Nunavut. A few of my classmates took this opportunity. Many of us were skeptical of there decision due to the seemingly strangeness of this distant and unusual place. We pictured igloos, Eskimos and ice cold breath. Who would ever want to go there? Upon their return from their one-month venture into the unknown, we were surprisingly jealous of their experiences. The students shared their trip with the school through a simple presentation. They shared with us the native customs their food and leisure activities. They also conveyed a real sense of the community there and the bond that the Eskimo people have with one another. Our preconceptions had been very wrong. I can now share that second hand information with others that may question life in that region of our globe. On a wider scale we can volunteer and show our support for benefits that go towards helping specific places of interest to us.
Prior to diving into this project, let it be known that I have already visited Paris, at the tail-end of a three month backpacking tour of Europe while on a shoestring budget. My traveling experience then was geared more towards taking in the "must-see" sights, visiting as many countries as possible and having a lot of drinks with people from many different countries. I had a wonderful time but, having grown up a bit, as well as having lived in a world-class city for five years now, my intentions and expectations for this journey will be far different.
In this essay, I will be comparing the space travel of today to space travel of the future and the science behind how these forms of travel work and how one form is more effective than the other.
Here, I will purchase a Carte Orange, which is essentially the Muni pass of Paris. For 16 Euro you get unlimited rides through zones one and two for a week. This will require me to bring a small, passport size photo. This is a far better deal than the Visite Paris pass, or the carte of ten tickets I purchased again and again my last time here. Afterwards, I will be free to travel on the RATP system without being concerned if I have the proper coins or enough tickets.
Have you ever stopped to wonder what people on the other side of the world think about where you live? I have often thought about this as I have entered some new and strange environments. Should I expect exactly what I think? In most cases, I had already built up a preconceived idea in my mind of what it would be like. I have come to realize just how much travel helps to open our minds to the world, and how it allows for the opportunity to share our learning with others.
The Chartres Tourist Information building is located in front of the cathedral. Here, I will sign up for Malcolm Miller's tour at 12pm. After this, I will hang out for awhile longer, maybe eating a packed lunch on some grounds nearby and getting a coffee at a nearby cafe. I have heard too many wonderful things about Chartres to bolt too quickly. According to the Eye Witness Guide, there is a mass given at Latin each evening at 6pm, which would be near sunset -- again, to illuminate the stained glass. Having never been to a mass, much less in the mystery of Latin, this seems like too great an experience to pass on. After this, I will have dinner in Chartres. I will return to Paris around 9pm, at which point I will return to the hostel and see if it is a good night to mingle with my fellow travellers.
From here I can walk up the Thames a bit, take a hard left and go to Westminster Abbey. I will pay the ten pounds for entry and a tour, mill about, have a coffee in the cloister and attend the evensong that is put on at 5pm. Afterwards, I will wander over to Buckingham Palace and admire it from without. While I would feel negligent having not seen it journeying London, it is a low priority and, hence, is relegated to a viewing at night. After this I will return to my hostel to officially check in, meet some travellers and see if they would like to grab some dinner at a pub. Or I could do some laundry, which will probably seem pretty necessary at this point.