Crafting Your Hood: Travel Writing From Your Own Backyard with Julie Graham

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List Price: $199.00


You don’t have to go to Tokyo, Paris or Abu Dhabi to create an engaging and informative travel essay. Travel narration can come from journeying into your own neighborhood and exploring your town or city through the eyes of a travel writer. This class will show you how to discover the hidden treasures around the corner that can become opportunities for travel essays. I’ll encourage you to look for the unique features of the place you call home, and help you get started on a well-crafted essay for future publication. Along the way we’ll look at what makes an exceptional travel essay, different formats used in the travel writing industry, and we’ll delve into structural tricks of the trade that will deeply engage your reader.


October 30 - November 27, 2017

Class Objectives


*Explore the many different types of travel writing, including: promotional, narrative essay, blog and travelogue.

* Design a self-guided tour of your city, identifying unique writing opportunities.

*Employ your travel writer’s toolbox, playing with literary devices and structural techniques designed to enhance your writing.

 *Develop an outline for your local journey piece using the techniques and formats you’ve studied throughout the class.

* Create the first two paragraphs and broad outline of your narrative travel essay to share with your online classmates and teacher.

Class Offerings


Week One

You’ll form an understanding of the extensive category of travel writing as we talk about the different styles and formats of the genre and the major differences between them. Reading excerpts of writings from literary travel narrative, contemporary travelogues and current blogs, we will discuss the travel writer’s “voice” and how they act as both narrator and participant.

Week Two   

The journey begins! First we will discuss setting and sense of place in travel writing.  After walking or driving around your neighborhood, town or city, you’ll begin to look at it through your new understanding of “travel writer’s eyes. ” Offering up ideas that interest you, you’ll sift through the options thinking about what you want your readers to learn. What draws you in? Will it be an historical restaurant? An old bodega? A lovely park with native plants? A broad overview of the town as a whole? Discussing the various options will help you define your intention for the essay.

Week Three  

This week you’ll get to know your travel writer’s toolbox including: varied and rich sensory details, the art of research, syntax and diction,  humor and pathos, and an understanding of the narrator’s role. You will also begin to outline your travel essay in broad strokes.

Week Four

On this last week, you will submit an opening and second paragraph of a travel essay based on your neighborhood, town or city, which will be available to all students for comments. You may also submit a final outline of the full travel essay (optional).

You’ve learned a lot about the world of travel writing in these four weeks and now you’re equipped and well on your way to creating a rich, detailed and engaging narrative travel essay about the place you call home.

About Julie C. Graham

Julie has written award-winning articles on Halloween in Obidos, Portugal, theater costuming in Berkley, California and izakaya-hopping in Tokyo.  Her work has appeared in Pilot Getaways, including destination vacation pieces on Sundance, Utah and St. Helena, Carmel and San Diego, California. Although trained as a news journalist, her penchant is for literary travel essays and memoir.  She earned her degree in Communications and Journalism from Mills College and her Masters in Creative Writing from Antioch University, Los Angeles.  Julie has two teenaged kids and a dog named Jasper; all of them drive her crazy, but when she travels, she misses them fiercely.