The twisting mountain road was barely wide enough to let two hotel shuttle vans pass as we climbed to our lodging high above Gero. Unlike the monochrome town below, this ryokan (traditional Japanese lodging) was a work of architectural art that blended in with the dense jade-green forest.
The trip to Japan in 2017 included two of the top three onsen (Japanese baths). Although it was not that long ago, memories of that trip are already fading. As I ride out the COVID-19 pandemic, thoughts turn to my past travels. My website features most of my 400+ travel, food, and wine stories and serves as a personal travel journal and photo album.
It wasn’t that long ago many of us travelers resorted to written travel journals to log our trip memories. Who over the age of 50 doesn’t have at least one travel journal or photo album on their bookshelf? For those of us who have joined the travel writing profession, we now have either our own website or dozens of published articles that serve us well when memories of past trips fade.
It’s easy to look up a link to a story published months or years in the past to remember the highlights of any given trip. These published stories have our written memories of awesome trips to both faraway places and some in our home states.
After you’ve taken lots of trips and stayed at dozens of hotels, it’s easy to forget essential details. With your published travel articles, when friends ask for hotel recommendations, all you have to do is look up the link to your published story and send it to them. Your friends can read the detailed information at their leisure.
Who can remember exactly what the name of a particular restaurant was and what you ate wh
ile dining there? Your published food articles detail the quality of the wait staff, the types of food, prices, and what dishes were the best. Most of us will benefit from this type of recorded knowledge when it comes time to consider going back for another taste.
After a year or two of travel writing, try and remember all the wines you’ve tasted. I’ve been to so many wineries my memories are fading on what wines I liked best. One of my favorite winery experiences was Poppies Vineyard in New Zealand’s Wairarapa Valley in 2015. After five years, I couldn’t tell you what my favorite wines were at Poppies, but my published article on Adventuress Travel records specifics for as long as the website stays live.
If you decide to publish a travel book, your published stories will be an important part of your research. As you read over your treasure trove of published works, a thread will form to help organize your thoughts. Even if it’s only a book you self-publish for family and friends, your published travel articles are a priceless resource to write the book of your adventures.
Your published articles are also valuable when sending queries to editors. In this day and age of travel writing, it’s essential to have an easy source referencing your published work for editors and destination marketing organizations (DMOs). You can quickly email either the editors or DMOs links to your published articles similar to a résumé.
In the world of travel websites, anyone can get published to start their travel writer’s journey. GoNOMAD.com published my first article, and that was before I attended GEP’s Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop. After the workshop, I published no less than 75 stories each of the next four years.
When the pandemic hit, I wasn’t able to travel much. After a couple of months of staying home in Maryland on lockdown, I realized what a pleasure it is to travel back in time by looking at the photos in my published articles and reading the details.
Some stories might disappear from websites they are on, but most are still there to take a trip again. Consider printing every story you’ve had published to keep in a folder. It would be good to keep your digital stories on a flash drive or backed up on the cloud. This protects you from computer crashes and travel websites that disappear.
With the pandemic keeping me from taking big trips, I’m OK having a break and being an armchair traveler. This crisis will pass. In time, I’ll sort through my stories to plan a second visit to some of my favorite destinations and some new places too.