Sea: The art of travel writing

Have you ever taken a trip that you wanted to capture in a bottle? Sometimes, pictures just won’t do and cheesy souvenirs fall short. Travel writing can help fill this void, especially if you want to share your experiences with someone, even your future self.

Travel writing comes in many forms; there are your typical magazine articles and journals (even TV shows), but in our technology-driven world, travel literature can include travel blogs and vlogs (or video logs). Many twitterers even provide tiny up-to-the-minute travel updates to followers. Taken as a whole, they provide cool stories and memories.

The written word

Although fictional, Sea by Heidi R. Kling takes us to a very nonfictional Indonesia in the aftermath of the devastating tsunami that struck there in 2004. Readers feel like they are actually there, with passages like this one:

We rode out of town, deep into the lush jungle, passing men and women wearing triangular woven hats as they worked in fields of rice patties …. Small mountains peeked through a mist of ashy clouds …. Suddenly the silver air thickened and it was like we were cruising through a rain cloud.

Kling not only captures an event, but the feel of the event — the atmosphere, the foliage, the people and the essence of the experience. Travel writing can do all of this. In fact, Sea was largely inspired by the author’s husband’s travel journals. On her website, Kling writes:

He spent a total of four weeks at an orphanage in Indonesia. And even traveled up to Banda Aceh and observed the devastation. He heard horror stories, yes, but he saw hope.

When he came home, he was a different person. Seriously. I was working on another book at the time and he said, “You need to write about this.”

And thus, Sea was born.


One of my favorite travel personalities is Anthony Bourdain. While technically his travels revolve around exotic cuisine, his shows offer much more depth — they are narrated like a travel journal or blog would read. Here’s Part I from his visit to Indonesia. (Just a warning, there is some language.)

Here are some of my favorite travel sites. Go visit and get inspired!

Have a great tavel tale of your own? Enter our contest to win a copy of Sea!

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