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Writing Abroad

A Guide for Travelers

“Tell me all about your trip!” It’s a request that follows travelers as they head out into the world, and one of the first things they hear when they return. When we leave our homes to explore the wider world, we feel compelled to capture the experiences and bring the story home. But for those who don’t think of themselves as writers, putting experiences into words can be more stressful than inspirational.
Writing Abroad is meant for travelers of all backgrounds and writing levels: a student embarking on overseas study; a retiree realizing a dream of seeing China; a Peace Corps worker in Kenya. All can benefit from documenting their adventures, whether on paper or online. Through practical advice and adaptable exercises, this guide will help travelers hone their observational skills, conduct research and interviews, choose an appropriate literary form, and incorporate photos and videos into their writing.
Writing about travel is more than just safeguarding memories—it can transform experiences and tease out new realizations. With Writing Abroad, travelers will be able to deepen their understanding of other cultures and write about that new awareness in clear and vivid prose.


Writing Abroad explores the ways in which journeys and travel experiences can be a rich and compelling source of insights about people and cultures both familiar and unknown.”

Best Books for Writers | Poets & Writers

“This book is a summary of what Chilson and Mulcahy have learned that has worked during many years of classroom teaching: arduous cultural research, compulsive journaling, choosing the form of the narrative—using techniques of a documentary or profiles of people and setting—followed by the process of writing, revising, editing, rewriting. . . . The book may be labeled a guide for travelers, but it’s also about good writing someone else will want to read.”

Winner, Best Travel Book Award | Peace Corps Worldwide

“Prepares us for observant travel to the mall or around the world to some exotic destination. The examples they use to highlight their tutorial discussions are excellent. Along the way, (Chilson and Mulcahy) challenge us with provocative prompts and writing exercises to help sharpen our awareness.”

Portland Book Review

“Chilson and Mulcahy remind us of the joy of writing in order to learn what we think, and they invite the traveler to slow down and go deep in order to engage and negotiate difference. What they ultimately argue is that writing and editing create a means to reflect on the fascinating nature of life in a world populated by a range of others who have new things to teach us about how to be human in the 21st century.”

The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad

“This is an exciting book. In an age of globalization, where crossing borders is complex and nuanced, Chilson and Mulcahy provide a comprehensive way to look at and learn from our experiences in other cultures. Readers will return to this book over and over again for ongoing guidance.”

Brian Whalen, president and CEO, The Forum on Education Abroad

“This excellent, portable guide will appeal to travelers who want to write about their journeys effectively and engagingly. Its tools and techniques can help writers deepen observation, improve engagement, and enhance learning while on the move, and create rich work upon return.”

Jordana Dym, editor of Mapping Latin America

Table of Contents


Part I. Encountering Cultures

Chapter One. Getting Ready
Chapter Two. Discovering New Cultures
Chapter Three. Encountering Another Language in Your Own Voice
Chapter Four. Documentary Forms and Methods
Chapter Five. Portraits and Profiles
Chapter Six. Writing about Place
Chapter Seven. Religion, Politics, and History
Chapter Eight. Travel Writing in the Age of the Internet

Part II. Return and Revision

Chapter Nine. Revising Your Writing and Your Life
Chapter Ten. The Varieties of Literary Form

Selected Bibliography


Peace Corps Worldwide: Best Travel Book

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