Travel Writing & Writing When Traveling

I’ve yet to try travel writing—guidebooks, travel essays, insightful treatise on wonderful places, or handy hints about staying out of trouble in exotic destinations—but I do write when I travel.

Next week I’ll be on a plane to Argentina. I plan to dance Tango, eat steak, visit the port of La Boca, check out a few museums in Buenos Aires, drink lots of wine, and visit the famous falls in Iguazu. I’ve been to BA before, but this will be my first trip to one of the natural wonders of Latin America. I’m looking forward to a new, different, and peaceful experience during my trip. I will write. I always write when I travel. The change of scenery inspires me. The phone rarely rings. The pace of a vacation allows for more relaxed time. And I’ve become expert at finding excellent places to write.

In Seville it was in the garden around the pool at the hotel. I sat under the trees, in the shade, off to the side, where I was protected from the sunlight gleaming on the surface of the pool, and where the buzz of voices in different languages was a distant hum.

In Berlin, there is a particular café that was perfect! I was there for a couple of weeks on that visit and by the end the folks at the counter knew me. I’d go there in the late morning, and sit with locals enjoying a quiet summer day. I’d be gone before the lunch rush, but stay there long enough to put in a couple of hours of solid work.

It doesn’t hurt that many of the places where I’ve traveled add a cookie or a chocolate to your plate when you order tea or coffee. That tends to invite the feeling of belonging.

In the Netherlands, where I often stay with friends, there’s a rooftop deck that haunts my NYC daydreams and a comfy living room adjacent to—but not inside—the buzz of busy people.

Maybe I should try to write an essay about writing when you travel? What do you think? The idea popped into my head as I sit in NYC at my desk consumed with travel daydreams.

The view from a window seat.


  1. oh…nostalgia. 🙁
    Back when I was 21, was I ever 21? Anyway, I spent a year in Europe, roughly half of that in France. I studied French at the Sorbonne and worked as a live-in nanny to make ends meet. Every evening after the boys were in bed, I’d walk down to the local bistro and have a croque monsieur chased by multiple coffees. And there, in the buzz of a busy bistro I’d study until 10 or 11 each night. The waiters got to know me, and the one time a drunken lout tried to come on to me, one of the waiters told him off in no uncertain terms.
    I remember staring at The Man in utter astonishment because I was so deeply into Stendhal I wasn’t even aware of him until he started shouting at me for ignoring him. All the talk and clatter had become white noise…
    That really was one of the happiest times of my entire life. Not the drunken lout but the sense of being free as a bird, and yet belonging.
    I envy you more than I can say. Happy writing!

    • Candy Korman

      I will have that cafe writing experience, but it’s unlikely on this trip. In BA, I’ve been told to keep my computer in the hotel so… I guess I’ll scribble in notebooks while drinking a cortado (Latin machiatto).

      I love the story of your total immersion in Stendhal!

      • Candy Korman

        Let me know what you think!

        The book—and the author—were hyped to the max. At the very least, I expected him to be more personally insightful and reveal the results of deep introspection but… it’s a surface look and a series of pat conclusions. His explanation of the battle ready Hillbilly honor code—punch first and don’t bother asking questions—on how he grew up and its impact on him as an adult functioning in a complicated world is simplistic. I’ll spare you my rant about his ZERO understanding of other communities (ethnic groups, religions, races. Perspective is not just putting your own life in a context, it’s about stepping back and seeing the larger landscape of similarities instead of the shortsighted perspective that only sees other people having advantages that are not given to you.