How to practice travel writing?

Write about something else besides travel writing. Lauren and I were joking about the smell of the room the other day. She walked into the room and said it smelled like bathroom. I was frustrated by a lack of description about the smell. A bathroom smell can be many things ranging from good to terrible; lysol, bleach, sewer, mold, public, poop.

With that we decided to try a creative writing exercise and was actually quite fun. A quick google search resulted in dumb exercises and some good ones. We found this list and chose to sit down and write about the smell of an orange for 5 minutes and share our results with each other. It was surprisingly fun and a great creative outlet. It helped give us a glimpse into our styles of thinking and also unbiased material to critique. If we critique our travel write-ups, we both had distinct experiences and sometimes differ on how to best represent what we did.

I want to do more of these exercises to practice writing and take a break from talking about what we’re doing all the time. I really enjoy writing and especially writing home to our family but trying to do that on a schedule every week can be tedious. And the last thing I want is for my email updates to be tedious or boring.

Here are the results of our first try.

The smell of an orange reminds me of…


The smell of an orange reminds me of endless summer soccer. Of sweating in the heat while running around on the soccer field with my hair tied back, frizzy curls escaping their pony tail. Oranges meant salvation in the form of a break from drills, goals, soccer balls. The soccer moms would take turns bringing the oranges to our games, always brought in clear plastic bags, devoured by ravenous 8 year olds. Except I never actually ate one single slice. I hated oranges.


The smell of an orange reminds me of peeling oranges with mushy frustration. Getting the rind stuck under my fingernails, desperately trying to get some sort of meaningful purchase under the skin of this little orange beast in order to reveal the citrus treasure inside.


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