As a young journalism student exploring her field for the first time, it is intimidating not knowing exactly what I was passionate about. I did not have huge affinities for fashion, health, sports, or music. I wasn’t into tech or science enough to report on it for the rest of my life. All I knew was that I have travelled my entire life, and I loved to write. It never clicked that I could do both. Not until I took MAG 300, or Travel Writing at Syracuse University’s Madrid program summer 2015.
I decided that this past summer, I was going to take classes in Madrid. I love to learn. No seriously, I do. There’s not a subject that I don’t like—well, besides geography… and biology. I decided to fill what would have been my empty summer months with adventure and knowledge! YAY LEARNING! I was especially excited to take the travel writing class that the program offers. This would be my first chance to discover what my *journalistic passions* were.
I fell in love with travel writing immediately. It was our very first reading that made me realize how passionate about travel writing I was. It was an article called The Seven Myths of Being a Travel Writer by Tim Leffel. In his article, Leffel debunks some of the biggest myths about being a travel writer. After my professor read out each myth, he would ask, “now, does this sound like something you’re still interested in?” And as the list went on, the less people raised their hands. Except for me; with every myth, I grew more and more eager about the idea of doing this for a living. I didn’t care if I wouldn’t be rich (myth #1), or my stories wouldn’t always get picked (myth #6). It’s the personal growth from experiencing something new that is the most valuable.
Over six weeks, I developed my writing skills to include travel writing as a style in my repertoire. I produced four pieces that I am very proud of, and use as writing samples. I got to report on places that I had the chance to discover. I now feel completely comfortable as a Madrileña.
The most important thing that I drew away from the class was about the scope of travel—something that I had not realized before. Travel is as expansive and luxe, or as rough and tumble as you want it to be. You can go to both Seoul and down the street to your neighborhood’s popular juice bar, and have there be a gripping travel story in both. Both are exotic and one-of-a-kind, and most importantly, worth sharing. Travel is not one size, and I should go, discover and then tell everybody about it.