Travel Journaling: How to Write Extraordinary Travel Diaries

Supercharge your journal writing! - Writing a travel journal should enhance your vacations, not gobble up precious time!
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Instructed by Dave Fox Lifestyle / Travel
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  • Lectures 17
  • Length 1.5 hours
  • Skill Level All Levels
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
    30 day money back guarantee!
    Available on iOS and Android
    Certificate of Completion
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About This Course

Published 1/2014 English

Course Description

Taught by a bestselling travel author, professional writing coach,
and former website editor for Rick Steves' Europe!

This course originally cost $39.
The price has been adjusted to fit Udemy's new pricing guidelines.

The stories we collect when we travel are some of the biggest tales of our lives. We get to keep those stories for a lifetime -- if we can remember the details. Journaling about them in a travel diary, helps keep our memories vivid.

Most travel diaries fizzle, however. By day six of a big trip, people struggle to recall what happened on days three, four, and five. They return home with mostly blank pages, or bland writing that fails to capture the full spirit of their travel adventures.

What’s the tool most people use to document their travels? A camera. Nearly everyone brings a camera of some sort on their vacations. Yet there is so much we can't frame in a photograph that we can capture in a well-written travel journal – all of our senses, the unique emotions we experience in unfamiliar places, the tales we hear from people we meet, challenges we overcome, that sense of wonder we feel as we travel through foreign environments, and so much more. You can also journal in tandem with your travel photography to tell the stories behind the photos.

So if travel journaling is such a powerful tool for remembering our trips, why is it a struggle for so many people? There are two common frustrations many travel journalers express:

  • It’s hard to find time to write in the middle of an exciting vacation.
  • Their writing falls flat. They are having some of the biggest adventures of their lives, yet their words are merely step-by-step accounts of their days. Their writing fails to capture the full scope of their adventures.

This course will help fix both of those problems.

You’ll learn how to splash bold and vivid details into your travel journals – quickly – so you maximize your time for exploring and your writing won’t gobble up precious vacation time.

You’ll also discover writing techniques that enhance your experiences, making you more aware of your surroundings as you travel. And you’ll learn fun and efficient ways to write, so that travel journaling doesn’t feel like a chore in the middle of an exciting trip.

This lively and informative workshop includes 75 minutes of video lessons and set of supplementary readings. Best-selling travel author and humorist Dave Fox teaches you how to write boldly and adventurously as you explore the world. You'll write vivid accounts of your trips, gain a deeper awareness of your surroundings, and keep your memories alive and bright for years to come.

This course is for you if:

  • You've tried writing a travel journal in the past but you want to do it better
  • You've never journaled about your travels before and want to do it right the first time
  • You haven't managed to get much written on previous trips and want to write more – in ways that bring you deeper in touch with your surroundings and make your journeys more exciting
  • You haven't journaled about past journeys and you wish you had. (There's still time to write about trips you've already taken – even if you think you can't remember the details. This course will show you how!)
  • You're an aspiring travel writer who needs help spotting and collecting the "raw footage" that will make for great travel tales later. (My follow-up course, “Travel Writing: Explore the World and Publish Your Stories,” teaches you how to transform your on-the-road travel journals into tales for others to read.)

So sign up today and get ready to write, and travel, like you never have before – with an enhanced awareness of your journeys and an ability to write about those trips in ways that will keep your memories bright for years to come.

“Dave Fox understands how journaling can help that great trip become a candy jar of memories that you can dip into for the rest of your life."

-- Rick Steves, PBS TV host and author of Europe Through the Back Door

Also check out my other writing courses on Udemy:

  • Travel Writing: Explore the World and Publish Your Stories
  • Professional Humor Tricks for Writers, Speakers, and Other Misfits
  • Write-Brained 1: Overcome Writer’s Block and Write With Confidence! (The first in my new series of courses on the psychology of writing explores how to cure writer's block, writer's overwhelm, and perfectionism to make you a more productive, more confident, more successful, and happier writer.)

What are the requirements?

  • A passion for travel
  • A desire to remember all the rich and colorful details of your adventures

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Bring destinations to life with rich details.
  • Splash those details quickly into your pages so journaling doesn't gobble up your precious vacation time.
  • Find times to write that don't compromise your opportunities for exploring.
  • Weave together your "outer" and "inner" journeys, using unfamiliar places as backdrops for self-discovery.
  • Elude your "Inner Censor" and write with confidence.
  • Explore alternative journaling techniques that add an extra dimension of creativity to your travel diaries.
  • Learn how to recall details you thought you had forgotten from past trips, and bring those memories back to life with your words.
  • Use your "rough draft" journals as a springboard for writing more polished travel tales. (A follow-up course on how to write travel tales for publication is coming soon!)
  • Gain a deeper awareness of the world around you so that journaling enhances your travel adventures rather than seeming like a chore.
  • Discover how to write extraordinary travel journals that keep your experiences vivid in your mind for a lifetime.

Who is the target audience?

  • Travelers
  • Writers of all skill levels

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.


Section 1: Introduction
Ready for Take-Off!
3 questions

After each section, we'll have a short quiz. Don't panic! These quizzes will be quick and painless! Some questions might seem obvious, but answering them anyway helps solidify the key concepts in your mind. And if you miss a question, seeing the correct answer will help you catch any important points you missed in the videos.

Section 2: Write Fast! Write Big!

One of the biggest enemies of great writing is perfectionism -- which often comes cloaked in insecurities about the way we write. Learn how to reframe your thinking about why you journal so you write with confidence and come home with pages soaked in rich memories.


The most common struggle travel journalers encounter is finding time for writing in the middle of an exciting trip. A big part of their problem, however, is they're not making the most of the time they do have. Perfectionism and a lack of focus can hinder us from writing our most exciting material. In this lesson, you'll learn a powerful technique to help you get to the point and splash tons of detail into your pages -- quickly. You'll write more and you'll do it fast so you stay on track with your adventures.


You want to write down everything that happens on your trip ... but you don't have time! You're on an adventure! In this lesson, you'll learn how writing your travel diary is a bit like making a Hollywood movie; you must trim away some of the details and zoom in on the most riveting scenes.

9 questions

How's it going so far? Let's review some of the key points we've covered in section two.

Section 3: Details! Details!

Often, our most exciting observations are buzzing on the fringes of our awareness. Bringing those observations into our writing requires learning how to shift our focus from sense to sense. In this lesson we discover how to bring our more subtle observations to the forefront of our mind so that we capture the hidden stories in our journeys, and become more aware travelers as well.

4 pages

Throughout this course, I'll have a few optional writing exercises and supplementary readings. In this first exercise, it's time to take a mini vacation!

3 pages

On the last night of my second trip to Vietnam (before I lived in Asia), I used the “Scan Your Senses” journaling technique as a launching pad for a post on my travel blog. While you don’t need to journal about all of your senses, in this blog entry, I did, followed by a recap of some of my trip’s highlights. Here's what I wrote....


There's a reason some journals fall flat while others sizzle. A few simple tweaks in the words you choose can transform your writing from bland to brilliant. If you've ever felt like your journals weren't capturing the full spirit of your journeys, it might be because you're making a small and common mistake that holds people back from writing their most exciting details. In this lesson, you'll learn what that mistake is -- and the simple way to fix it.

5 questions

Woohoo! You have now completed half of the sections in this workshop! Let's see how you're doing!

Section 4: Travel Journaling for Self-Discovery

When people write diaries at home, they often explore their thoughts and emotions. Travel journalers, on the other hand, tend to focus on the external world. In a foreign place, it's easy to fixate on what's happening around us, so that we fail to notice what's happening within us. But traveling to exciting and unfamiliar places in the world can also carry us to exciting and unfamiliar places in our own minds. Writing about your so-called "inner journey" can lead you into some of your best stories. It brings you a richer understanding of the significance of your travels, and it can be a big source of self-discovery.


Your Inner Censor is a little creature who patrols your mind, trying to "protect" you from your own writing. Most Inner Censors are hyper-critical. They stand in our way and squash our words. Is your Inner Censor holding you back from writing your boldest material? In this lesson, we discover how to sneak past our mental gatekeepers to get at what we really want to write.

3 pages

Say goodbye to your Inner Censor, once and for all, in this fun, three-part exercise.

8 questions

Now, onto our section four quiz!

Section 5: Journaling Outside the Box

Most people journal along a simple timeline of their days, writing about their experiences in the order they occur. This is a nice, simple way to organize our travel diaries, but in this lesson, we explore some fun, alternative techniques that will add a more creative tone to your journals.


To help you get started on some theme journaling, I rattled off (at breakneck speed) a few sample themes and topics we encounter when traveling. Here is that list, in case you didn't catch it all, along with some additional themes suggested by students.

2 pages

Here's a quick example of the "Verbal Snapshot" journaling technique, excerpted from my book, Globejotting: How to Write Extraordinary Travel Journals (and still have time to enjoy your trip!)


Travel can be a frustrating passion. For most of us, it's not the sort of hobby we can do all the time. But journaling about your travels when you're at home can help satisfy your cravings to be out and exploring.

In this lesson, we talk about journaling before and after your trips. You'll explore your travels from fresh angles. And... if you have past adventures you wish you had journaled about, I'll teach you a trick to put yourself back in those moments. You'll be amazed how details you thought you had forgotten -- even trips you took years ago -- will come flooding back once your words start flowing.

6 questions

In section five we've covered some creative, alternative journaling techniques. Let's see how creative you are!

Section 6: How to Avoid "Empty Notebook Syndrome"

We've talked about how to write fast, but that still doesn't answer the question, how do we find time to write in the middle of an exciting trip? Now that you've learned all of these exciting writing techniques, it's time to slay the time dragon that can make it so challenging to squeeze writing time into your days. Journaling should enhance your travels, not pull you away from your adventures. In this lesson, you'll discover how to find time to write without compromising your time for exploring, and you'll learn some fun motivational techniques so you don't run out of steam along the way.


We wrap up our travel journaling adventure with a recap of what we've covered so the things you've learned stay solid in your mind. And Dave tells you how to reach him if you'd like to learn more. Coming soon: A follow-up course in how to transform your travel journals into tales you can share with friends and family, post on blogs, or publish professionally.

7 questions

Wheeee! It's the final quiz of this course! Let's review what we covered in section six!

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Instructor Biography

Dave Fox, Bestselling Travel Author / Writing and Humor Coach

Dave Fox is on a mission to help people tell scintillating stories. He's a professional travel and humor writer, a writing and humor coach, a chronic storyteller, and the author of two bestselling books. Dave thrives on stepping outside of his cultural comfort zones in search of adventures and misadventures. He also makes really good sandwiches if you ask him nicely.

Originally from the United States, Dave started travel journaling at age seven when his family moved to England for a year. During that time, he developed an obsession with foreign cultures, which eventually morphed into his travel writing career. He also developed a British accent, which eventually morphed back to a mostly-American accent, but he respects your right to spell "humour" with that extra "U" if it makes you happy.

Dave's love for humo(u)r writing evolved in early adulthood when he discovered office memos didn't have to be boring. He fled nine-to-five life in 2001 on a mission to expand beyond office memos, and published his first book of travel-humor essays three years later after winning the Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop Book Proposal Contest. He has been teaching writing workshops for more than 20 years. He has been making sandwiches even longer.

Dave has worked as a Public Radio news anchor, a tour guide for Rick Steves' Europe, an international cruise ship lecturer, and an iguana groomer. (Okay, not really an iguana groomer. Iguanas get cranky when you try to groom them.) His work has been featured on the History Channel, Channel NewsAsia, and national radio broadcasts in the US and Australia. He has also been an opening speaker for Princess Märtha Louise of Norway. (True story: When the princess told Dave he spoke excellent Norwegian, Dave replied, "Thank you, Your Majesty. So do you.")

For 16 years, Dave guided tours around Europe for Rick Steves' travel company. He has lived in the US, England, Norway, and Turkey and Singapore. He currently lives in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, where he works as the Vietnam correspondent for TTG Asia and freelances for a variety of other publications including the Straits Times of Singapore, and Singapore Airlines' magazine and website. His work has also appeared in books by Rick Steves, Lonely Planet, Travelers' Tales, and the 2014 Moon Guide to Burma.

Dave's own books, Getting Lost: Mishaps of an Accidental Nomad, and Globejotting: How to Write Extraordinary Travel Journals (and still have time to enjoy your trip!), have both been Amazon travel bestsellers. He is currently working on a new book, The Ghosts of Bui Vien Street, about modern life in Ho Chi Minh City.

Dave shares his travel tales, humor essays, and writing advice on his website. (Please see below for the link.) He is available for one-on-one writing and travel coaching via Skype, e-mail, and in person.

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