Travel Writing Exercise: Breakfast

When you’re a teacher, you have to get up super early.  Sometimes, it’s hard to remember to eat what is supposedly “the most important meal of the day.”  Breakfast is actually my favorite meal and I always make room for it!

One of the coolest things I’ve seen while traveling is the different things people eat for breakfast.  In America, I’d say a traditional breakfast consists of eggs, bacon and some kind of starch (potatoes, pancakes, waffles, toast), maybe some cereal, juice and coffee.  In Ghana, I ate porridge, fresh fruit and sometimes toast and eggs.  And in France, I had pastries, jam and cheese.

Write about breakfast you’ve eaten while traveling.

Feel free to leave some of your favorite breakfasts in the comment section.  Here’s a fun little guessing game as well!

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In what country would you eat the following foods?

Costa Rican Cuisine Breakfast

1) Rice and beans, buttered toast, eggs, rice, beans and a fried plantain.

File:Full English Breakfast.JPG

2) Mushrooms, beans, black pudding, sausage, tomatoes, bacon, eggs and fried potatoes.

File:Lao soup.jpg

3) Hot soup, chilies, salad (soda optional!)

File:Palestine breakfast.jpg

4) pita, hummus, tomato and cucumber salad, eggs and labaneh (creamy cheese covered in olive oil)

 

Travel Writing Exercise: Unsafe

©KatkaTravels

There has been a lot of buzz lately surrounding safety and the independent traveller after Sari Sierra, a 33-year old woman from New York City, was discovered dead near some ruins in Istanbul, Turkey. It was her first time out of the country and she was traveling alone. Many criticized her decision to travel on her own as a woman, which was countered by a wave of solo traveller backlash, but the point remains – what does it mean to be a safe traveller?

You can prepare and research a place all you want, but no matter where you are, there may be times when you’ve felt unsure or unsafe. It could be in a big city like London, or a rural Asian fishing village. Most times we return home unscathed, but every so often, something triggers the emotion of fear within us. You can create a very compelling travel story based on an event where you weren’t 100% sure about your well being.

Write about a time where you felt unsafe while traveling.

Below you can read a vignette I’ve written as an example, to get you started.  Feel free to leave your story in the comments section, or send me an email and maybe I’ll feature yours next week!

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They shut the electricity off every other day in Ghana.

The government blames it on a drought in Lake Volta, which is Ghana’s largest source of power, but Stephanie thinks it’s more of a political move to garner votes for the upcoming presidential election. Regardless of who is right, the sun sets at 6:00pm on the dot, and Ghana becomes a thick curtain of black.

Growing up in New York City I never experienced complete and total darkness like I do here in Ghana. There is always a source of light somewhere, this weird purple-red haze that sits above the buildings, blocking out the stars, like a natural ceiling filled with light pollution. But when it gets dark in Ghana, you can’t see the space before you, even when the moon is out. It’s eerie.

The rest of the group left the internet cafe early, but I remained behind for an extra hour to catch up on personal matters. I volunteered to pick up some groceries – bread, eggs, bags of water – but the enchantment of the internet caught up with me, and soon I saw that the sun was setting. My flashlight was at the villa and if I was going to make it back before everything turned black, I had to leave now.

The sun set quicker than I thought that day; in an instant it seemed as though the world had been swallowed up. I feel nervous walking back to the village – most of the stores have close up, and I still haven’t bought the bread. They warned against walking around Hohoe alone at night, in the dark, but that’s exactly what I’m doing. What if I get robbed? Kidnapped? Someone could swoop out in an instant and take me away, hold me for ransom. Even if I yelled for help, the robber would decree in his native language that I was only joking, he knows me, we’re good friends. And then, I’d be gone.

I see a little shack with a single light bulb running, pumped by a generator. There is a skinny boy standing at a table, where he is selling loaves of bread. Anxiously, I walk up to him and buy two loaves.

“You are from America?” he asks. His smile is large and welcoming.

I nod. “Yes, that’s right.”

“You like Ghana?”

“I do,” I reply, but I’m anxious to leave.

“We love you!” he tells me. I’ve never seen him in my entire life, not a day since being here. And I’ve been here for almost three months. “You are a superstar, thank you for liking my country!”

Suddenly, a gaggle of little Ghanaian children swarm around me. But not in a scammy way, like how beggar children will enclose an innocent tourist and demand money. No, these children are hugging me, smiling, singing songs, saying they love me. Not one of them goes for my daypack. Not one of them asks me for money.

“They like you,” the boy at the table says. “Because you are nice. They want to walk you home.”

It’s then that I realize how most people are good people, and not out to hurt you, and that these people have so much more to worry about than stealing some little white girl. Because everyone in this village knows everyone else and everything that goes on, and they are protective of visitors, and each other. Word would get out fast. I wouldn’t be missing for long.

The fear subsides, and I walk home alongside seven talkative Ghanaian kids. Sometimes, the hold my hand.

Travel Writing Exercise: Snow

Berries I used to pass beneath in Žilina

It’s been snowing lately on Long Island! Not very much which is good, because I am not generally a fan of snow, but just enough to make it seem wintery and pretty. It covers the ground with fluffy whiteness but not enough to make that nasty gray-brown slush once the cars run over it.

If you travel in the winter to a place that experiences the same seasons as you, chances are, you’re going to encounter a little bit of snowfall. Sometimes, it’s charming. Sometimes, it’s horrendous and screws up your plans. I’ve lived with snow my entire life, but I have to admit, one of my favorite things is watching someone who lives in a warm place experience snowfall for the first time in their lives. It’s really cute and makes me remember how excited I used to get when I was a kid, watching the first flurries fall.

Write about snow.

Below you can read an vignette I’ve written as an example, to get you started.  Feel free to leave your story in the comments section, or send me an email and maybe I’ll feature yours next week!

Travel Writing Exercise: Relocation

Setting up in our new place – woo!

I just moved to a new apartment! Hooray! It’s awesome and it feels so good to be back HOME and away from areas of potential flooding and closer to my favorite bar that serves pitchers of beer for $5! The past two weekends have been spent moving from one place to the next and it’s been exciting, stressful, exhausting and joyous all at the same time. We are pretty much settled in now, but it got me to thinking about how moving totally sucks and how there are people who move around on the daily.

Many travellers are nomadic by nature – living out of a suitcase or backpack, never settling in for too long, never feeling enough attachment to one place for fear they will never travel again. Or some travellers fall in love with a particular place and move their permanently. What’s your story? What’s your style? Always on the go, or comfy-cozy just-move-once?

Write about relocation.

Today’s example is a bit brief but you’ll get the idea…

Travel Writing Exercise: “AWESOME!” Moment

My AWESOME moment was getting to see the Northern Lights in Iceland. Killer!

Travel is awesome!  Duh.  Let’s talk about how awesome it is to travel and the awesome things travelers do!

Awesome is defined as such:

1: expressive of awe <awesome tribute>
2a: inspiring awe <an awesome task>

b: terrific, extraordinary <had an awesome time>
Surely, during your travels, you’ve stumbled across something that cannot be described as less than “awesome.”  It’s one of those overused and usually out-of-context words but it’s one of my favorites and I will continue to use it because sometimes, I don’t have the words to convey all the emotions I feel about something.  So I just say “this is so AWESOME!”
Write about a moment that was “AWESOME!” for you.
I’m loving the emails I’ve received lately and some of the comments I’ve been getting to!  Thanks for being vocal ya’ll.  Can’t wait to hear about the awesome things you’ve experienced while traveling!
Love ya,
Katka
PS new website coming soon…YEAH!