How to Write a Travel Memoir

Posted by Kristen Hamilton on September 26, 2018 at 6:00 PM

Although I mostly specialize in fiction editing, I make an exception in the world of non-fiction books when I work with memoirists. Although most memoirs focus on a piece of the author's past, especially those that are poignant and meaningful, other memoirs are fun and exciting in a different way: travel.

I don't know about you, but I love travel so much. I have a map of the world with pins marking where I've visited, and as the years go on, my adventures continue to spread farther in each direction. I'm constantly planning my next trip and daydreaming of faraway places.

On a 2013 trip to Paris!

So when a client recently approached me asking to help him find direction for creating a travel memoir... Well, it was a pleasure! Talk about combining work with play. Here's a list of 3 of my top tips when putting together a travel memoir.

1. Document, document, document.

Some travel memoirs take place over a period of several years of travel, while others document a short trip. No matter what type of travel memoir you're planning, write down everything, especially things that surprise you.

2. The best travel memoirs are ones that have a physical journey and an emotional or mental journey.

Perhaps your travels take place with a partner or a family member who raised you, in which case you might find yourself reliving memories from the past. What a wonderful parallel journey! Some travel memoirists come to a profound understanding of culture, of goodness in the world, or of themselves. Creating an arc of this emotional understanding—that takes place during the physical trip—is what creates the best type of memoir.

3. Take into account the cultural differences.

One of the best things about travel is the culture of other places, cities, and countries. Be sure to share that in your memoir—perhaps if you have an interesting story from the back of a taxicab in a foreign country, maybe a language barrier, that’s gold to include.

Ah, writing and travel—two of life's greatest pleasures.

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Book editor Kristen Hamilton is the owner and sole employee of

Kristen Corrects, Inc., where she provides manuscript editing

services for traditionally and self-publishing authors. Several

authors whose books she has edited have won awards and have

topped Amazon's best sellers lists.

Reading is Kristen's passion, so when the workday is over, she

can usually be found curled up with a good book alongside her

four cats. She loves watching cat videos and scary movies,

eating pizza, teaching herself French, and traveling, and she is

likely planning her next vacation. She lives outside of Boise, ID.

Categories: writing

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