Travel Writing



July 7 - August 3

$225 (if registered by 6/13/2014); $250 (after 6/13/2014)*
Instructor: Erin Street; Guest Instructor: Virginia Morrell

This class is all about exploring the world around you—whether that’s through a trip to Marrakesh or by investigating the hidden gems of your own town. We’ll think about ways writers investigate new territory through art, adventure, conversation, culture, and food.  Participants will learn techniques to observe in detail, record their experiences, and turn those experiences into essays that will be of interest to a wide readership. Class members will write two short pieces and one essay.

The class will be lead by a Creative Nonfiction instructor, with guest speaker Virginia Morell.  Morell is a regular contributor to National Geographic and Science, and the author of several books, including Animal Wise: The Thoughts and Emotions of our Fellow Creatures, and Blue Nile, which traces her journey through Ethiopia. Morrell and Stone have chosen the selected readings for the class, and students will have an opportunity to discuss these readings—and their own writing—with Morell in a group video conference on July 12th.

Week 1: Observation and Note-Taking Techniques

Travel writing can allow you to share your experiences with others—but not if you’ve been so involved in writing that you’ve forgotten to actually experience your trip. During this week we will talk about how to observe with a writer’s eye and record travel experiences for use in future writing (as well as how to best make use of notes from past experiences). We will discuss keeping a journal as well as which details and information are most important to note down during your experience. Participants will choose a subject for their Week 3 essay and will write a short piece (up to 500 words) to share with the class.

Week 2: Adding Narrative

Sometimes travel overwhelms us with a wealth of beautiful sights and sounds. But a good travel essay must be more than just an expanded brochure or descriptive passage. In this class we’ll discuss how to bring an overall narrative or larger theme to your travel writing. Participants will write a short piece (up to 500 words) to share with the class.

Week 3: Incorporating Research

While your own experience is an essential part of a travel essay, adding research information can allow you to create a more detailed and informative piece of writing. During this class we’ll discuss how to gather research information—before, during, and after a travel experience—and how to incorporate this information into an essay. Participants will also submit their long assignment (an essay of up to 4,000 words).

Week 4: Revising and Completing Your Essay

During this week we will discuss techniques to revise and polish a travel essay to make it ready for publication, as well as some best practices for publishing travel writing. Participants will also share their Week 3 essay with a small group of classmates for Peer Review.

Questions? Check out our FAQ page, or please direct them to our Director of Education, Sharla Yates at yates[at]

Please note: due to space limitations, registrants may withdraw anytime until 5 pm EST on Thursday, July 3, 2013, but will forfeit a non-refundable application fee of $50. No refunds will be granted after this date, but course credit may be transferred during Week 1 (fees and restrictions apply). For more information please read our FAQs.

*Registration includes a 4-issue subscription to Creative Nonfiction for U.S. residents only. Participants outside the U.S. can contact Kaylee Ritchie at ritchie[at] to receive an ebook, Creating Nonfiction: Lessons from the Voice of the Genre, in lieu of the subscription. We welcome students from anywhere in the world!