4. Relive your entire experience

This is the most beneficial aspect of writing about vacations. A few months ago, I read my travel story from our first trip to Hawaii. This trip was back in 2001 and I was instantly transported back to Diamond Head, Hanauma Bay, and beautiful Kawaii. The picture of me sitting on Secret Beach, in Kawaii, doesn’t tell the story:

The only other person we saw on this long stretch of beach was a deeply tanned man with long blond hair walking near the water towards the same rock edifice. As we got closer to him, I thought, “hmm, his bathing suit must be skin toned… wait a minute… he is not wearing a bathing suit.”

“Hey Paul,” Julia said abruptly, “that guy’s not wearing a bathing suit. He looks like Fabio.”

That he did: Fabio in his birthday suit.

Fabio lay down on the flat rocks at the edge of the rock outcrop and a few feet from where the waves spayed up onto the shore. Fortunately there were no flagpoles in sight.

Some stories still rattle around inside my head and I’ve submitted them to writing contests. Our trip to Mangaia, Cook Islands, occurred in 2006, but I was able to write about it in 2018, again reliving the entire experience in my head for several weeks while I wrote and edited the story. I was amazed at how well I could recall major events during our two days on Mangaia and could close my eyes and be transported right back there. Of course, never be afraid to utilize some artistic license to increase drama, suspense, comedy, or wonder.

To make stories more manageable, I’ve started breaking them into chucks, usually bookending them around meaningful events or days. It didn’t always do this. My Thailand story in 2004 was a 90 page stream of consciousness but I was highly motivated to write given that I was suffering writers’ block while attempting to compete a Masters’ thesis. (Spoiler alert: I never finished my thesis). I haven’t read my Thailand story in quite a while, so it’s almost time to relieve that incredible experience.

During this unique and unprecedented time in history, and facing the prospect of not traveling for many months, if not more than a year, what better activity is there than reliving, in detail, your amazing travel experiences? It’s a form of escapism that you are intimately familiar with, because you lived the adventure. Now, if you are still not convinced, there are several other reasons to start writing about your travel experiences. Stay tuned for Part 5: Intangibles.

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