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Writing Away: A Creative Guide to Awakening the Journal-Writing Traveler (Travelers' Tales) Paperback – August 1, 2009

4.6 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Spalding reminds us to journey conscientiously, to arrive awakened, and to write with all our hearts. This is a beautifully vital antidote to the frenetic buzz of blogging and texting, to be savored and shared.” —Alexandra Fuller, author of Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight and The Legend of Colton H. Bryant

“Lavinia Spalding has given travelers a witty, profound, and accessible exploration of the hows and whys of keeping a journal. Novices and veterans alike will find inspiration and fresh ideas on every page, along with practical suggestions to bring out the best writer in anyone…. Buy two copies—one to meditate on at home and another to dogear, underline and carry alongside your own journal en route.” —Anthony Weller, author of The Siege of Salt Cove and Days and Nights on the Grand Trunk Road.

“Spalding doesn’t just give you ideas for keeping a travel journal—she makes a convincing case for why keeping a travel journal is important, and how this personal writing ritual can deepen your journey in unexpected ways. Recommended for anyone who endeavors to travel mindfully. —Rolf Potts, author of Vagabonding and Marco Polo Didn’t Go There

About the Author

Lavinia Spalding is author of With a Measure of Grace, the Story and Recipes of a Small Town Restaurant. She is a regular contributor to Yoga Journal, and her work has appeared in such publications as Sunset Magazine, Post Road, CitySmart, and Inkwell. Although her inextinguishable wanderlust prevents her from ever really staying put, she currently lives in San Francisco.
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Product Details

  • Series: Travelers' Tales
  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Travelers' Tales; 60035th edition (August 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932361677
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932361674
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.6 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #724,768 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Becky Wright on June 20, 2009
Format: Paperback
I'm both an on-and-off journal writer and an avid traveler, so Writing Away seemed like it would be the perfect book for me. Well written, and scattered with travel journal excerpts and wonderful travel themed quotes, Writing Away was a pleasure to read and never turned into one of those dry boring "how to" books.

I immediately noticed that it got my creative juices flowing. Memories of my most recent travels came back with all their vivid details, and I itched to write down and document these moments with the wonderful writing tips and tricks that Lavinia shared. I also started journaling more faithfully - her motivating mantras, such as making yourself simply write one word in your journal every day, made sense and were really effective for me - I've written more journal entries in the last week and a half than I have in the last four months. And I think my writing has improved too - Lavinia shares with the reader the importance of noticing the little details, writing honestly and in ways that will record the daily life of your trip so that when you reread your journal years later you are transported back to this wonderful experience. While I can't wait to apply these tips to my next travel journal, I've found that they're helpful for writing in my normal daily journal as well.

Writing Away, in addition to being full of helpful writing advice tailored towards the traveling experience, also contained several chapters and discussions that I hadn't been expecting, but really enjoyed.
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Format: Paperback
Reading this book made me think of the times I have been in a beautiful, strange or unfathomable place, and I wanted to hold every detail, to really pay attention to the way I feel and what is happening around me. Ms. Spalding urges us to keep these moments alive by slowing down and writing. Not quick flashes of status updates or twitters, but thoughtful, tactile, pen to paper journal writing. She accomplishes this with sage advice, humor, and insight. This book is quite simply a delight to read. Her writing style is fun, clever, and familiar, like talking with a friend. I have found myself staying up way too late at night, just to read one more chapter. She has even inspired me to take up daily journal writing again.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I, of course, read this to motivate myself and give some direction on starting a Travel Journal and it definitely served its purpose. I have years' worth of vacation pictures sitting on my hard drive, and others lost to failed hard drives. i vowed to make a photo book for each trip but that hasn't happened yet, of course! I love her quote in the book about the definition of procrastination: "waiting to do something until something much more important needs to be done." haha

I figured a travel journal was best solution in the short term so I wouldn't forget my trip when i actually get around to make photo books (retirement maybe?). I only read about 75% of the book because I felt like I understood the general idea and I'm not much of a reader anyway. towards the end, the book goes into all sorts of cutesy ideas for themed entries of the journal in case your day is so boring that it's not worth writing about. i'll tell you, it's hard enough for me to even open the journal each day, without having to think of a theme that I should be concentrating on collecting info for all day. the vacation I started with was a 5 week trip (1 wk for my brother's wedding, 1 week with the family in Orlando and 3 weeks of guided tour in the UK with my husband). it was so busy that I didn't need to fill the pages with extra stuff like what the book talked about (finding strangers and having conversations with them, or writing about the smells of the marketplaces, 10 things you are ashamed to admit that you hate about travelling with your vacation companions, etc). i was exhausted at the end of each day and usually barely squeaked out a single page nightly.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've been waiting for years for someone to describe to me my own experience of travel: travel has always felt more than geographic or cultural, but I haven't been clear on how or why. I've kept travel journals since I was a kid, off and on, and re-reading them I get fleeting glimpses of that sense of significance, of existential tremors, of old stories coming apart. Having just finished Writing Away, I'm suddenly possessed of a vocabulary, and quite a rich one, for describing this sense. The author uses the distinctive language of Buddhism, with all its emphasis on impermanence and the apparent solidity of 'mental phenomena', to unpack the deeply unsettling experience of being foreign to a place. I felt a little resitance to this appraoch at first, but now I'm convinced that this analogy, between travel and meditative mindfulness, is a fecund one. We go somewhere unfamiliar, we cross a literal and figurative threshold into the unknown, and we realize not only that we have become habituated and inured to our daily shuffle, but that even our home town is full of mystery and intrigue, and that only habit and non-reflection have closed us to it. The author makes the simple point that crossing a threshold and honestly recording the experience in a journal , without editorializing, makes travel a fertile opportunity for self-discovery and the development of empathy. Several chapters approach this idea from different angles and make it clear. I highly recommend this book for journalers, travellers, and for anyone who's interested in writing as a means to discovery.

I also want to add that the book is very well-written and entertaining.
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