An Engaging Travel Essay Example

Posted on April 11, 2024

A travel narrative essay is more than just a description of a journey you had or the places you visited. These are narratives that cover the experiences, emotions, and insights gained along the adventure. Crafting a supreme quality essay about travel experience includes putting together vivid descriptions, personal reflections, and cultural insights in order to transport the target audience to faraway lands and experiences. Below, we will dive into adventure storytelling, exploring techniques and examples to inspire your own journey memoir writing adventures.

Unpacking the Journey: A Narrative Exploration

Wondering how to craft a travel essay that rocks? Make sure to start it with a hooking narrative that pops up at the very beginning. For example, you can go the way that world-known Elizabeth Gilbert did in her book, Eat, Pray, Love:

“I am having a relationship with this pizza, almost an affair.”

By using this pizza-flavored opening sentence, the author entices you and invites you to join her on her adventures of self-discovery somewhere in India, Italy, and Indonesia. Just one short sentence becomes a powerful tool that sets the tone for the whole work.  

Balancing Personal Reflection with Universal Appeal

We’re not telling you to become the next Elizabeth Gilbert (well, you never know). However, by taking some simple steps, you can promise an intimate exploration of your travel experiences right at the very start of your essay.

  • Stay authentic no matter what. Be honest when talking about your travel adventures. At the same time, it is crucial to try to connect them to broader/universal truths.
  • Make reflection part of the story. It’s OK to pose thought-provoking questions in order to encourage your audience to dive into their own experiences and perspectives.
  • Find common ground. We recommend pondering over the emotions or experiences that people tend to share across backgrounds and cultures.

Capturing Moments: The Essence of Travel Writing

When it comes to the heart of every travel experience essay, there lies the ability to capture moments in time – the sensations, sounds, and sights that make this or that place unique. Whether it’s a crowded Montmartre, the bustling markets of Marrakech, or the gorgeous architecture of Rome, an effective travel writing essay is a tool that you can use to transport your reader to the place you discuss in your paper.

We offer you the chance to consider this extract from The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton:

“Journeys are the midwives of thought. Few places are more conducive to internal conversations than a moving plane, ship, or train. There is an almost quaint correlation between what is in front of our eyes and the thoughts we are able to have in our heads: large thoughts at times requiring large views, and new thoughts, new places.”

If you don’t know how to start a travel essay, De Botton’s words are an excellent way to evoke a sense of introspection and wonder in your readers and encourage them to contemplate the link between self-discovery and world exploration.

The Path Less Travelled: Unique Destinations Explored

When you’re exploring destinations that everyone knows, tons of materials exist to dig information (and inspiration!) from. However, if you venture off the beaten path, storytelling opportunities may be pretty scarce. Whether it’s an overlooked historical place in Bosnia and Herzegovina or a remote village in Chile, writing about unique destinations can infuse some fresh perspectives into the essay. We recommend taking a look at the essay “In Search of the Blue Agave” by Barbara Kingsolver. In her work, the author narrates her trip in the agave fields somewhere in Mexico:

“The fields stretch for miles, neat rows of blue-green agave plants rolling into the horizon. The air is thick with the scent of earth and tequila, and as the sun sets behind the mountains, the sky ignites in hues of orange and pink, casting a surreal glow over the landscape.”

The way the woman describes a corner of Mexico that not many tourists know about is quite encouraging. It feels like her personal travel experiences inspire you to join her in the exploration of lesser-known lands.

In the sample essay on travel experience below, you can see how a student describes a journey to a small Romanian village in the Banat region, Gărâna:

“In the heart of Romania lies a hidden gem, a remote village known as Gărâna. As you dive into the area, seemingly frozen in time, you hear the winds whispering the name of the village literally untouched by technologies and progress. Hidden from the world outside, Gărâna envelopes strangers in an aura of tranquility and antiquity while hosting one of the most enduring jazz festivals in Central and Eastern Europe.”

Crafting Memorable Descriptions: Techniques and Tips

No successful travel experience essay example exists without descriptions that linger in readers’ minds. Use the tricks below to provide your travel essay with descriptions that will inspire your readers to pack up and go exploring the hidden treasures awaiting them somewhere in a secluded corner of the world.

  • Include sensory details. Use vivid descriptions of textures, smells, sounds, voices, tastes, and other elements to engage all of your target readers’ senses. “I saw a small local café with a rustic charm that attracted me at once. As I entered a small room, I dived into the warmth of the cozy interior with a strong aroma of coffee that I knew was freshly brewed. It seemed like all the visitors were enveloped in the mix of spicy, fruity, sweet, floral, and smoky scents, all passed down through generations…”
  • Use figurative language. Go for elements like similes, metaphors, and/or personifications in order to make all those scents, colors, and textures real and evoke responses in your target audience.
  • Don’t talk – show! Do not just include stats or facts. Your task is to share your experience by means of storytelling techniques and descriptive language. “As the sun began to set behind the sky-high mountains, I saw it casting a golden glow over the village of Gărâna. I sensed how a long-awaited peace was finally infused in my blood together with the memories that would stay with me forever just as my heart stayed in that remote corner of Romania.

Embracing Cultural Diversity: Insights from Global Travels

Essay writing on travel and tourism serves as an excellent platform to showcase the cultural diversity of the world. Not only does it foster understanding across borders, but it also transports readers out of their routine. When writing on culture diversity, you have a chance to inspire readers to wonder about the world we live in and become explorers themselves. Whether it’s the tradition among some Native American tribes of wearing a magpie feather as a sign of fearlessness, a tea ceremony in Japan, or the red envelopes containing money that are given on New Year’s Eve in China, focusing on the customs, traditions, and cultural values of other nations fosters mutual respect and appreciation.

Evoking Emotions: Connecting with Your Audience

Emotions are the cornerstones of successful travel memoir writing. Whether you’re delving into fascinating and surprising cultural traditions from around the world or your own personal adventures, evoking the reader’s emotions is task number one. Here’s how you can do that in your next travel essay:

  • Tap into emotions. Use storytelling techniques like anecdotes, personal experiences, stats, and/or visuals to evoke the emotions you would like your readers to feel, be it nostalgia, joy, compassion, or anything else.
  • Call for empathy. If you make sure to share your vulnerabilities or intimate moments, your readers will most likely empathize with your travels. “When wandering in the streets of Kolkata, I found myself immersed in the world of poverty and inequality. I met families with kids living in cramped quarters far from worldly wealth, power, and influence yet teeming with life and energy.”
  • Use a resonant note to end an essay. It’s crucial to leave your audience with a long-lasting impression that they’ll take away with them when they’re done with the reading part.

How should I structure my travel essay?

When working on a travel essay’s structure, we recommend using the so-called ‘typical’ structure. The traditional structure includes the following elements: an introduction, where you set the scene and introduce your topic; the body paragraphs that explore different aspects of your trip; and a conclusion that sums up the main thoughts.

Should I research the destinations before writing a travel essay?

Yes. Performing in-depth research on the destination that you would like to discuss can provide you with crucial details and valuable context. Plus, it can add accuracy to your destinations. At the same time, it enables you to include some historical background, impressive facts, and cultural insights into your work.

Is it OK to include dialogue in my essay about traveling?

If you need to add authenticity to your travel essay, you’re welcome to use dialogues, especially those that can help you show memorable interactions with local people or someone you were traveling with. However, make sure that the dialogue you include serves to boost the narrative without confusing your readers.

Can I make my travel essay a humorous one?

“Yes. After all, humor is known as a powerful tool in the world of writing if you know how to use it properly. Not only does it add entertainment to your narrative, but it also makes it more ‘alive.’ However, it is crucial to make sure that the humor you use is appropriate and doesn’t offend anyone.

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