Writing a Travel Memoir: Some Points to Consider

By Editorial Team Sep 19, 2021

Writing a Travel Memoir: Some Points to Consider

Travel memoirs contain some of the world's best literature. Travel memoirs such as Bill Bryson's "A Walk in the Woods," Julia Child's "My Life in France," Jamie Zeppa's "Beyond the Sky and the Earth," and John Higham's "360 Degrees Longitude" are all critically praised and generally adored. What is it about these autobiographies that makes them so inspiring? Each is a deft blend of vulnerability, connection, and exoticism.

To write a fascinating travel memoir, you must first and foremost be a great storyteller—something we can assist you with.

Let's get this party started.

A Travel Memoir Is Not the Same as Travel Writing

Let us make an essential distinction right away: writing a travel memoir is not the same as producing a guide book or a generic book about how to travel.

While the latter two may offer broad tips on what to see and do for the travel-minded tourist hopeful, the travel memoir focuses on the writer's experience and takeaway.

  • A travel memoir may appeal to readers who have wanderlust, but it is not necessary to have a love of and a desire to travel.
  • A good tale is the sole true necessity for a travel memoir.

A reader, on the other hand, is unlikely to curl up with a non-narrative guide book.

Blogging, guide books, tutorials, and other forms of travel writing have their uses, but they are not the same as memoirs. A travel memoir is more than just a collection of experiences in a particular region. It is a written record of the author's awakening or progress.

Unless you're being paid by the visitor's bureau to create a marketing leaflet about the destination, your trip memoir should be private, honest, and centered on the emotional takeaway.

Related: Make Yourself a Literary Hero by Writing an Autobiography 

Allow Yourself Some Time

You can't write a travel memoir while you're on the road. At best, you're jotting down field notes or keeping a travel notebook. A memoir, on the other hand, must have a deeper significance that becomes apparent only at the end of your journey. Before you begin writing your book, you must think on your travels and consider the main topic of your story.

  • The best stories arise when the authors have had time to breathe and achieve much-needed self-awareness.
  • Allow it to settle before writing with self-awareness.
  • Recognize how the experience has altered you, and then write from that informed vantage point.

You might not have everything sorted out. You might be the type of writer that understands their thoughts while writing, like me, but it's still vital for subconscious processing to allow yourself space after an incident and before writing.

Define Your Personality

When writing any form of memoir, you must determine your voice.

Your voice is a synthesis of the following characteristics:

  • Your distinct viewpoint.
  • The language and cadence with which you write your story.
  • The manner in which you choose to tell the story (i.e. humorous, relatable)

Many travel memoirists adopt a friendly, self-deprecating, or conversational tone, but keep in mind that you are not limited to this style. You have the option of being aloof, formal, or matter-of-fact. The tone of your voice will influence how the reader perceives your story, so adopt a tone that conveys the sentiment you want to communicate.

Concentrate on the Meaning

The takeaway, or moral of the story, is the most crucial section of your trip memoir. By the way, this advice applies to any memoir. Keeping a trip journal of what happened and when it happened is tedious. It's the literary equivalent of playing a slide show of vacation photos.

However, if you go beneath the surface and share not only what happened but also what you learnt from it, you will establish a better relationship with the reader.

  • Discover the universal takeaway that any human above the age of 12 can grasp.
  • To accomplish this, you must take the reader on two different but parallel trips.
  • The physical journey and the emotional journey are the two types of journeys in your travel narrative.
  • It is quite simple to write about the incidents that occurred throughout your journey. It's more difficult to write about what you learned on the trip.

Your book's meaning is linked to its theme. Whether you choose a popular memoir theme such as self-discovery, grief, or coming of age, your theme will help you connect with readers who can relate to your struggles.

Select the Most Appropriate Stories

I'm one of those oddballs who believes that there is no such thing as a banal narrative, only a mundane method of delivering it. This is why it is critical to edit yourself and have professional readers edit your work.

  • You're prone to ramble on and on about every thing that occurs during your voyage if you don't edit. We're all prone to rambling, not just you. This is why we require editing.
  • Always keep the theme in mind when revising yourself. This will allow you to include stories that support your subject while eliminating those that are nice but inappropriate. You must be a theme slave. That is how crucial it is.
  • Don't try to describe the complete story from beginning to end. Instead, assemble together a story that is related to your overarching theme.
  • Don't try to make yourself look too good.

You're going to sound like a jerk at times. You are a human being. Your reader is a human being, and they will understand. Indeed, accepting your basic idiocy is what will endear you to the reader. It will also make your experience more real and relevant, which is the whole idea of reading a trip memoir in the first place. Readers enjoy accompanying you on your emotional journey and, perhaps, observing your growth.

Unfortunately, self-preservation necessitates that we always attempt to look attractive. When writing your travel memoir, resist the impulse to do so. Or, at the very least, edit it out.

If this is going to work, you must be willing to seem ridiculous. When visiting new places, the reader will not expect you to be entirely prepared and flawless. You're going to make a mistake. You're going to irritate folks. Some of the food will be repulsive to you. You're going to store your preconceived notions beside your socks and undergarments. However, you will also connect with the reader since your honesty will be relatable.

When you hit the wide road, keep an open mind.

The plot may not unfold as you had hoped. You'll be startled and changed in unexpected ways, but that's the gift of travel. You have to display the cringe-worthy before to document how you've evolved for the better.

Read also: How to Write a Personal Narrative Essay

Titles are essential.

For a trip memoir, especially if you're an unknown author, a clear, catchy, or enticing title will be critical to your early success. While I don't believe in judging a book by its cover, I do believe in judging a book by its title, and I assume I'm not alone.

  • At the very least, make your title distinctive, whether it's descriptive or fascinating.
  • It should be a title that your reader will recall when suggesting your memoir to their friends.


Even if you've moved on from the events in your memoir, they're still a part of your life. Most of us lack the objectivity required to separate pieces of our tale in order to locate the underlying spark.

Here's where we come in. Because memoirs are so personal, you'll need an objective set of eyes to help you craft a stronger narrative. Let's connect you with an Eprowriters professional editor to work on your memoir.

Related: Wish I Were There: The Life and Times of a Travel Writer


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