Musings On Travel Writing

by Dr. Jessie Voigts /
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Aug 14, 2014 / 0 comments

Why do I write? Why do you care? You may have seen the blog hop that’s been going around this summer, where travel writers share why they write. It’s a fascinating look at how all of us share our journeys. As you may surmise, each writer is different – and inspiring. For as you know, travel writers are a motley crew – some backpackers, some luxury, some family, some in specific niches, some following certain passions (scuba diving, trains, and the like) – but all are passionate about sharing the world.

My friend Leyla of Women on the Road: Travel Stories for Women passed the travel writing blog hop torch on to three travel writers (including myself). It’s my joy to discuss my own travel writing path – and share three travel writers with you.

But first, a bit about Leyla:

Leyla Giray Alyanak is a former foreign correspondent with a passion for travel and improving people’s lives in developing countries. At 43 she made a major decision to reinvent herself and left to travel the world solo for six months. She was gone more than three years. Leyla now works for an international development agency in Geneva and she blogs at Women on the Road.


Leyla Giray Alyanak, Women on the Road

Leyla, as you can see here and in her writing, has a certain joie de vivre that is contagious. I urge you to fully explore her great site and writing!

And now, on with the show - four questions on travel writing…


What am I working on/writing?

I am always working on something for Wandering Educators – whether it is a foodie finds, a review of somewhere we’ve been, or a destination piece (these usually center around bookstores, Paris (or bookstores in Paris), Ireland, Scotland, family travel, or the beach).

One of my favorite things to do is teach writers how to become better. Our Youth Travel Blogging Mentorship Program is now 3 years old. I am passionate about working with my students, and watching them grow and develop as writers. I’m very impressed with their writing chops!

I also write a monthly column at Transitions Abroad (a site I LOVE, and you will, too!), and a weekly column of really cool travel resources at The Educated Traveler.  


Our family in Scotland, on Loch Ness (across from Urquhart Castle)

Our family in Scotland, on Loch Ness (across from Urquhart Castle)


How does my work/writing differ from others of its genre?

The thing I love most about writing is the research. It’s the academic in me, I can’t help it. I’m happiest when I’m researching and then thinking up ways to share the goodness. I tend to involve myself fully and then wind up with a huge reference guide masquerading as an article with lovely photos.


Why do I write what I do?

To share the world; to teach about people, cultures, and ways of being; to help people learn more about the world. But really, deep down? I’m curious and love learning. I’m just feeding my brain.


How does my writing process work?

The view from my desk is extraordinary – I face the lake. Whenever I write, my computer monitor is surrounded by a view of water, trees, and nature. It’s almost a thinking meditation – all day. I also muse over topics and phrasing while I am doing other things (swimming, cooking, eating, playing, reading) and then when I sit down, it all pours out. I rarely need to edit much, as it’s all done in my head beforehand. Plus, there's all that research to back me up...


Sunrise over our lake

Sunrise over our lake, as seen from my desk


And a bit of tag, you’re it for more travel writing goodness. I pass the travel writing blog hop torch these three travel writers - I encourage you to visit their sites and dig in!


Gretchen Garrison is a Homeschooling mom of four and has been married for 14+ years to a man who supports her ongoing adventures. Starting her blog, Odyssey Through Nebraska, came about when she realized that not all area families were exploring the Nebraska places that she and her kids tended to frequent. This has led to her also writing for the quarterly Lincoln Kids Newspaper to also promote and encourage adventures in Nebraska’s Capital City. In addition, she has done several feature stories for the L Magazines. Her goal is to continue to write about what she loves: her faith, her family and stories about the people and places in her state.

Gretchen Garrison, Odyssey Through Nebraska



Bret Love is a veteran journalist/editor with 21 years of experience. As bloggers, he and wife/partner Mary Gabbett built their niche ecotourism site Green Global Travel into one of the Top 30 Travel Blogs in the world. They are extremely passionate about educating and inspiring people to live and travel more sustainably, and encouraging bloggers to focus on strategic, sustainable business development.

Bret Love and Mary Gabbett, Green Global Travel



Stefanie Van Aken, a Las Vegas native, writes about her 5-Star adventures with her little entourage at As a luxury family travel and sophisticated lifestyle blogger and freelance writer, Stefanie contributes to both local and national publications sharing stories about visiting Las Vegas and other fabulous destinations all over the US and the world. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @RockStarMomLV.

Stefanie Van Aken,






Why do travel writers write? Here's my take...

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