tips fOR TRAVELers, a writing prompt

a good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving ― LAO TZU

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here is a prompt I use myself, particularly when feeling stuck & restless. also! it's a great transitional exercise for students entering the classroom; it helps to focus disparate energies & provides raw material they can draw from when in need. 

suggestions for keeping a TRAVEL LOG:

choose a SETTING: 

  1. the one you are in now
  2. one from your past
  3. one you have not traversed, but exists or did or may in the future (i.e. Napoleon era France; Mars yesterday; the tundra between an ant hill & a flower; a diner in Mobile, 2075; the circulatory system of your lover the day before you met)

you may wish to INCLUDE:

  1. date: actual or invented
  2. weather/atmosphere/socio-political climate or other external mood 
  3. what you & your party (if w/others) have done since last (real or imagined) entry 
  4. what you have observed about terrain, shelter, equipment, baggage (physical, psychological), OR other people, animals, etc.
  5. prediction for the road ahead
  6. an arrival &/or departure 
  7. something heard, overheard, touched or smelled
  8. a memory OR revision of thought

mORe suggestions:

  1. USE VIVID CONCRETE LANGUAGE—what you can see, hear, smell, taste & touch.
  2. minimize abstractions & language describing emotion.
  3. play with scale, syntax, tone, persona. (do you write stories? catalog travels in the voice of a character through the landscape of your story). understate. exaggerate. invent.