What inspires you to write? For me, my writing inspiration comes from my many travels around the world.
If you ever dreamed about how to become a travel blogger, use the images in the post and the blogging tips covered here at InspireFirst for inspiration.
I have kept a travel journal throughout most of my life to capture my emotions and thoughts while visiting new places. Journaling is a great idea as we often forget the feelings we experience when discovering a new destination.
I take many photos when I travel to remember the scenes, activities, and sensations. As they say, a picture tells a thousand words. When you combine written expression with photos, it’s almost like being there.
Since I started my travel blog, I have been writing about my travels to over sixty countries. I have been reflecting on different trips I’ve had over the years and sharing my experiences with others. I want to inspire people to visit these places, just as these places inspired me to write about them. Believe it or not, learning how to become a travel blogger is seamless.
I find that different destinations bring out different emotions in me. I will share with you three of my travels and how they inspired me differently.
Inspired by the Nature of Iceland
A trip to Iceland is like no other. This country is incredibly beautiful. I had heard about and seen many pictures of this paradise over the years. I finally put a trip to Iceland on my bucket list and made it happen in 2017. Nothing could have prepared me for the sights and emotions I experienced when actually seeing this place.
I’m a lover of nature at heart. If you put me outdoors surrounded by nature, I’m one happy camper. If you give me a camera at the same time, I’m an extremely happy camper! The Icelandic scenery I witnessed could easily make for a Iceland travel blog.
Iceland shouts out ‘nature’ in its purest sense. Every turn along its 1,332km/828mi long Ring Road brings new and intriguing vistas to marvel at. The landscape is diverse and often reminds you of being on another planet.
We didn’t do long hikes during our trip, but we did short walks to see some really cool spots. There are gorges that you can easily access. Sometimes you have to drive off the main road a bit to find these places. We visited the gorge called Fjaðrárgljúfur, and it was as beautiful as my photo shows.
We drove the Ring Road in only seven days and stayed in different hotels each night. One thing you should know is that accommodation in Iceland is expensive. Most of the simple hotels are 3-star quality, but with 5-star prices. I was also surprised at how few accommodations you can find. I would definitely recommend booking early during the high season to find a place to stay.
Many people book camping cars to drive and sleep in along the way. I think that would be a fun option to do next time. We chose hotels because of the long driving days we had. I wanted a nice comfortable bed to sleep in each night.
If you like waterfalls, you will love Iceland. There are many popular ones that attract tourists, but you will see others just along the main road. What I found fascinating about the waterfalls was the rainbow effect from the sun and water. It is a photographer’s dream to capture that!
There are so many unique and fascinating sites to visit in Iceland. One of the most amazing scenes I witnessed was Jökulsárlón which is a large glacial lake in the southern part of Vatnajökull National Park. The lake size has expanded over the years due to the glaciers melting.
This area is considered one of the natural wonders of Iceland. You can easily park and walk around the area and even take a boat ride to get up close to the icebergs. You will see many birds and seals frolicking in the cold water.
There is a variety of wildlife to see in Iceland including horses, sheep, and birds. My favorite sighting was the adorable puffins we found in the area of Dyrhólaey. There were hundreds of these delightful birds flying around a cliff and rock structure offshore. There are 8-10 million puffins that inhabit Iceland, amounting to more than 60% of the world’s entire Atlantic puffin population. If you get lucky enough to see them up close, it will be a highlight of your trip!
The scarcity of people in this country, even during our August high season trip, was very welcoming. It was like we had this huge island to ourselves. I believe most visitors stay in the southern part of Iceland where you will see some of the main attractions and highlights, especially that of the Golden Triangle. I was happy that we did the full Ring Road tour to take in the ‘road less traveled’.
One thing is for sure, you will not get bored in Iceland if you love nature. We were lucky to see the green dancing Northern Lights one night. We slept in a plastic bubble another night which was a very unique and fun experience. I hope to return again to find more inspiration to write!
Inspired by the History of Sicily
This island, off the coast of southern Italy, is another place that inspired me in a different way. Sicily has a long history, separate from its motherland Italy. Sicilians do not like to be considered as Italians. I’ve never been much of a history buff, but it’s hard to avoid learning about the history of ancient places like Sicily.
Sicily is the largest Mediterranean island and is just southwest from the ‘toe’ of Italy’s ‘boot’. Sicily was colonized by the Greeks in the 8th century BC. You can witness its history by visiting the Valley of the Temples, the Greek Theatre in Taormina, and the Segesta Temple.
We spent nine days driving around this island in April 2015. The first stop we made after flying into Catania was the ancient town of Taormina. This city is known for its theatre which held more than 5,000 people in the carved stone seats and benches. Today, there are modern seats where they hold operas, symphonies, and film festivals in the summer.
On Sicily’s eastern edge you will find Mount Etna, one of Europe’s highest active volcanoes. I couldn’t believe how majestic this snow-covered volcano appeared. I wanted to see this volcano up close, so we booked an excursion one day to hike up part of the volcano. We had to wear snowshoes due to the heavy snow remaining in April. It was an amazing experience!
Another interesting fact I learned about Sicily’s history is the symbol on its flag. It is called the Trinacria and is a three-legged woman that symbolizes Sicily. It was first adopted in 1282 by the Sicilian Vespers. The Trinacria then became the Sicilian flag in 1943 during World War II. After the end of the war, the Italian government recognized Sicily as an autonomous region, independent from Italy.
In addition to historical sights to visit in Sicily, you will find gorgeous landscapes. I was especially intrigued by the white cliffs called Scala Dei Turchi in the southern part of the island near Agrigento. The name ‘Scale of the Turks’ derives from the fact that in ancient times the ships of Arabs and Turks found shelter in this bay. You can walk down to the water and across these bleached-looking smooth cliffs.
If you go to the town called Trapani, you will see many windmills. They say they are among Europe’s oldest salt marshes. The windmills were once used to drain water from the basins. Drawing salt from water is a slow process, similar to desalination, and is important to the serious water supply problems confronting Sicily.
Salt extraction was a technology known to the ancient Egyptians. It dates to the time of the Greeks and Romans. The salt extraction process still continues but the windmills were a medieval development.
Sicily is a surprising mix of history and stunning landscapes. This place definitely struck a chord with me. It inspired me to write about my experience and keep the memories fresh.
Inspired by the Culture of Vietnam
Another inspiration for me to write comes from immersing in different cultures. I was lucky enough to visit this captivating country in 2014. I spent two weeks traveling through Vietnam, starting in the northern city of Hanoi, then to the central part of Hoi An, and finally to the southern city of Ho Chi Minh.
What surprised me most about Vietnam was the culture. It was extremely different from anything I had seen before. Some people would be shocked by how people live there. I simply thought it was fascinating.
One of the first things I noticed was the simplicity of the Vietnamese lifestyle. You don’t see fancy cars or houses. Most people live in tiny shacks or high rise apartment buildings. They ride bikes or scooters for transportation. And most importantly, they seem happy living in the way they do.
In the bigger cities, you will see an overwhelming number of scooters. We saw families of up to five people on one scooter! There was no notion of people staying in separate traffic lanes. They would weave in and out at a very quick pace. And crossing the street was a life-threatening risk we had to take!
Although many people didn’t wear helmets, a lot of them wore masks to prevent inhaling heavy exhaust fumes. I was surprised at how some women wore fully covered clothing, over the face, legs, and even their hands. I learned the reason for this is that they don’t want to expose their skin to the sun. Darker skin is a sign of poverty or lower class in Vietnam. The people who work in the fields usually have darker skin.
An interesting culture in Vietnam is the fishing villages, especially near Halong Bay in the north. We passed many colorful floating shacks on the water where people live. That is something you don’t see every day! I loved the peacefulness and simplicity of this area.
You could see people relaxing in their hammocks and hanging laundry outside their tiny floating houses. They seemed so relaxed and content. I was very intrigued by this way of living. It made me think of that minimalism phrase, ‘having LESS is MORE’.
In the cities and in the countryside, I noticed how people squat or sit in the streets. They have extreme flexibility with their bodies! It doesn’t seem to bother them to rest for hours in a crouched position, sometimes cooking in the streets for their families or to sell their local food specialties.
Vietnam is indeed a fascinating country worth the visit. The people are friendly and the climate is warm. You will see many spectacular sights everywhere you go. Of course, you have to accept their lifestyle and culture to fully appreciate the experience. Keep an open mind and you will love this unique destination.
Have You Found Your Writing Inspiration?
I hope the description and photos of my inspirational travels have motivated you to find your writing inspiration. Whether you write in a paper journal or on a computer, I find it very therapeutic to express thoughts and feelings. Learning how to become a travel blogger was the best change for me. It is something that comes from within and that no one can take away from you.
When I turn my thoughts into a blog post on my JanAdventures travel blog, I followed the advice of InspireFirst. Specifically, there are two great articles that have helped me, the 5 Steps of the Writing Process That Every Blogger Should Do and 3×3 Writing Process: 9 Key Steps for Writing More Amazing Blog Posts. Writing quality and engaging text is a skill that can be improved with the help of good advice and tips. The starting point is simply to find your writing inspiration!