Travel writing: useful exercises to describe a place

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Travel writing tips and useful exercises to start telling about a place.

Travel writing is the story of people, places, events and our relationship with them. Once we understand which type of travel writers we belong to, we just have to start observing the world, living it and telling it.

Some travelers write down their movements, itineraries, emotions and events in notebooks, others record the events by speaking to a tape recorder and then transcribe them, others enjoy the moment and subsequently report information and emotions on paper or PC. The modalities are different but the basic rule is one: when you write always remember the purpose of your trip.

Following some rules, in fact, we must ensure that those who read us identify with our emotions and, through our words, imagine the place as we perceived it while visiting it. To do this we can start by following a simple content scheme:

  • person
  • displacement
  • environment
  • meeting
  • events
  • reality, where we are now

Starting from this scheme we add some elements of the prose in our story:

  • descriptions full of emotions
  • a simple thread of the story to follow: departure, development, return
  • details of the environment that give an idea of what we have seen to make the reader imagine being there with us at the moment of the journey
  • insertion of historical notions and useful information to find the places we tell

In Italy, excellent examples from which to take inspiration to start understanding how to tell a place are the journalist Paolo Rumiz and the village expert Franco Arminio.


Try to describe in ten lines a place you see for the first time, then repeat the same exercise but telling it from the point of view of another person who sees that place with a different mood from yours or on a rainy day . How do you think the story of that place changes? How will the place be perceived by the reader?

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