The Transformative Experience of the Journey via Recollection and Reflection
The travel memoir offers an opportunity to examine a number of issues in terms of creative non-fiction. Travel stories focus on individuals who become strangers to themselves when they exile themselves from the environmental and cultural factors that have defined them thus far in service of self-discovery. They link up with the grand Odysseus-like impulse of traditional and modern literature that can profoundly alter identity when they travel and write about their experiences. Topics to consider would include a discussion of three particular aspects of this kind of storytelling. First, we must discuss the idea of fiction vs. fact and try to decide how much of each is essential in terms of crafting biographical material. Sometimes fiction can reveal truths more clearly than facts and so it could be said that truth lies in the interplay between these two critical aspects of storytelling. Further the idea of the diary as self-revealing and as an essential part of the transformative process journeying is meant to promote is a critical discussion as well. Experience is not fully integrated by writers and certainly not experienced by readers until it is written down and shared. This then leads to an analysis of the powerful draw travelogues’ mythological aspects have to audiences that, by in large, never travel but are rabidly addicted to this kind of story because these travel tales are vehicles for self-evaluation via contact with what we can call “others” (other cultures, other uncomfortable places, and travelers vs. nontravelers).