A Traveling Class with Don George




I literally run along a concrete pathway to be on time for a literary appointment this morning. I run because the last fifteen minutes was spent going back and forth trying to decipher where Swasti Eco Cottages actually is and a long early drive is something I’ve never been good at doing. The second helpful man finally gives me the correct clue and thus, allow me to find my way to what already feels like a treasure quest. Much like Dorothy and the yellow brick road, a continuous yellow flower usually used in Balinese offering, was placed to show this sleepy traveler that it is indeed the right way. After all, yellow flower in the canang sari offering does symbolize the power of intuition.  

Eventually, 20 participants are sitting in the open-air bamboo bale. Few Australian, some Indonesian, an American. A diverse, jovial and eager to learn bunch of people; those classmates of mine. Most of us are inspired to be a writer, some has published her and his works and one is currently writing a travel book. Our classroom is surrounded by greenery and occasional bleating from pet goats in the compound can be heard together with a crescendo of cock-a-doodle-doo and wild bird calls. Don George, a respected and well-known travel writer from the States is our teacher for the one day writing workshop. 


Travel writing seeks to illuminate a place; educating and inspiring people about the world and sharing what one’s learnt in one’s travel experience.“It’s about figuring out what you want to say, what and how did you learned in that journey,” says Don. It is also about excavating and deconstructing your experience. He takes us aroud the eco cottages and shares with us his experiences of editing, writing and traveling around the globe. “A sign of less sophisticated writer is using too much adjectives,” he says and oh boy, don’t we make fun of that statement afterward.


a delicious and healthy lunch provided by helpful staff of Swasti Eco Cottage, we continue our class by writing a paragraph about our experience in that place. Don gives us a liberty to write about anything we find interesting and later urges us to read it aloud (gasp!). For about twenty minutes all I hear are a scratch on paper, rickety bamboo chair being nervously moved and twenty brains excavating hidden, sophisticated adjectives from dusty drawers of dictionary. Few encouraging words and nervous glances later, the first writer speaks up, including yours truly. I’ve been joining a workshop like this a few time and only this time, I find the courage to read my writing in public and that writing becomes the first opening paragraph of this entry. 

A successul piece of writing is when the writer managed to guide the reader to experience what he or she has experienced. Hence, pay attention to the details and always be curious. 

Being in a travel writer set of mind allows you to become a better traveler. 

The Q and A session afterward is truly fascinating. Don tells us some behind-the-scenes anecdotes and stories and tips on how to get published, his favorite travel book and how travel writing won’t make anyone rich but “you get rich in the account of experience.” He even read an excerpt  from his 1978 notebook when Bali was part of his trip. 

This might be the best workshop class I have ever attended so far in Ubud Writers and Readers Festival. I don’t think I will drop everything and take the plunge to be a full time travel writer or a digital nomad anytime soon, but this class is giving me a more thorough understanding on how to be a better writer, an open-minded traveler and perhaps, if I’m lucky and if I work on my writing hard enough, get published. 

1 komentar:

Berneo Alex said...

If we see in general views stuff like acadia national park tour from new york is always there for us and because we get to have ideas through i am sure understanding it all helps us always which is the need of it.

 

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Hello! I’m Eve Tedja

I have been a professional writer for four years.


During that time, I have worked as a permanent contributor for Let’s eat! Magazine, Hello Bali, epicure, and published my articles in several other magazines like Venture, Panorama, Bravacasa, and Bali & Beyond.


Words, sentences, stories... these are my passion. I love to take new challenges in writing for various format and media. I create contents for websites, blogs, and communication materials. I’ve also worked as a copywriter, translator, coffee book editor, social media coordinator, media consultant, and even writing for a specialty coffee packaging.


Interior design, travel, environment, culinary, culture, history, and social issues are some of the themes that I have worked with in the past. I love getting involves with individuals, companies, organizations, and communities with stories to tell.


I am available for assignment worldwide. Reach me at eve(dot)tedja(at)gmail(dot)com.

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