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The semester is over, and now the students are taking final exams. I have completed teaching a Special Topics in Local Travel Writing course in our Business Communication department at Stevenson University, and I have one thing to say.
I loved it.
As any form of travel is wont to do, a true travel experience tends to have the ability to open our minds—and our hearts.
My students were posed the task of traveling like a travel writer, spending two days in their selected place of choice, and then writing about it. I have to say, the topics were varied and interesting. Each student put his or her own spin on it, and the articles reflected who they are as both travelers and people.
When you take the time to travel (with travel being defined as “stepping outside your own door”) and experience your surroundings and cultures in a way that you interpret it, you have tackled a form of sophisticated travel writing.
Although the course is titled “Local Travel Writing” because they embarked on local travel for their assignment, we also critically analyzed noteworthy international travel writers throughout the semester such as Paul Theroux, Andrew McCarthy, Pico Iyer, and even Elizabeth Gilbert. A travel writer can travel—and can observe—but then he must assess the travel and put it into a context that reflects his thoughts, visions, and experiences. This type of introspection makes for some fantastic writing (and reading), as we uncover not only our spot of travel, but also something intrinsic to our own being.
Of course, there is one downside to teaching such a 400-level course: It makes you want to travel somewhere, anywhere, or everywhere.
But in the end, I guess that’s not too much of a hardship.
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I am very proud of my students and want to share their writing with you. To read our travel magazine site, visit More Than Maryland by clicking this link.