A Park. A Man. A Tube Sock.

From start to finish the whole thing took less than a minute. Tucked away in a park overlooking Podgorze, the air filled with the spring time chirrup of birds and the riotous tones of children in the playground. After days of record rainfall, the sun had finally come out and so had the neighborhood. I sat on the park bench to revel in it. To soak the heat into my bones. To salvage my ever diminishing opinion of Krakow. And thats when the man appeared.

He stalked into the clearing, single-minded in this endeavor. And to be perfectly honest, I hardly noticed him at first. I had things on my mind, like how was I going to finish researching this book when I had run into every conceivable frustration in this city? Power outages, unexplained closures, and militantly resistant archivists. Whatever this man, or anyone was doing in the park that day, was my last concern. Until he stopped.

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Travel Writing Strategies: Part Three – What’s the Conflict?

We’re on a travel writing roll this month. The summer sun is making a comeback and it’s bringing along the itch to travel. While I don’t have a big plan (yet), I am looking forward to the next big adventure. And when I drag out my world map… ok, so I have a wall-sized one and it’s permanently on display. Like I was saying, when I’m gazing at the map, plotting a world tour, not once in my wanderlust-filled delirium have I envisioned the above train wreck.

Travel writing strategies include one of the biggest concepts in all writing: conflict. A lot of times, conflict gets a bum rap. It’s like, yeah, I know, there should be problems, obstacles, fractures, a pick-your-word for upset – but what exactly does that look like? Sometimes it feels like an amorphous idea when you’re dreaming up travel adventures and far flung escapades. It’s the last thing anyone wants to think about. The best advice I’ve ever gotten regarding conflict came from my thesis adviser. If you know what your character wants, you know what can come between her and getting what she wants. You can place many obstacles (conflicts) in her path. With travel writing, you’re the character and the crazy travel environment will insert lots of obstacles to getting what you want.

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Travel Writing Strategies: Part Two – Tales of Adventures Past

It’s time to take our travel writing strategies in a totally different direction. Normally, when I have conversation with people about travel writing and essays I’m working on, they’re pieces from a recent trip. Most likely, it’s the last trip I went on and I want to capture the essence of that adventure while it’s relatively fresh in my mind. With every day that passes back at home, the memory fades just a little more. What I want to talk about today is writing about a travel experience in the distant past, maybe a trip you took as a kid, or something from the first time you were in Beijing and you’ve been back several times since.

There are a few reasons one might want to look back to old travels for material.

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