This class will be a platform to help launch your writing about your travel experiences on Semester at Sea, while deepening your critical thinking about travel and your ability to engage your audience. We will read strong examples of travel writing, including vivid and thoughtful pieces about the various countries and regions we are visiting. In class, we will discuss these examples to try to draw out the qualities of the best travel writing. Each student will write in travel journals every day of the journey, providing a fund of keen observations, rich insights, and broad reflections to draw on for more developed essays. Each student will also keep a travel blog and write a post after each port of call. In workshop classes, we will explore the strengths and weaknesses of each student’s best travel essays, with the aim of helping one another to develop and hone these pieces to fulfill their strongest potential. By the end of the course, each student will ideally have at least two polished, engaging, sensation- and reflection-packed pieces of travel writing; a permanent record of port-by-port experiences in a travel blog; and the skills to continue writing about and reflecting on travel for many years to come.
Field WorkCountry: Japan
Day: 2 - Thursday, 28 January
“Writing a Temple Town: Nara, Japan.” In this ancient temple town, we come into close contact with the aesthetics, religious traditions, and natural beauty of old Japan. We will visit the town with an eye toward reflecting on and writing up the experience in a compelling travel essay. Our objective will be to develop our ability to engage, reflect on, and explore a hallowed cultural site through our writing. The essay will make visible some aspect of our experience in the town—the cultural nuances, the built environment, the social structure, the history of the place, or the touristic coding and packaging. The essay should be reflective, original, and packed with sensation.
1. To observe closely the aesthetics, religious traditions, and natural beauty of old Japan.
2. To reflect on and write up the experience in a compelling travel essay.
3. To develop our ability to engage and explore a hallowed cultural site through writing that is reflective, original, and packed with sensation.