This badge sends you on an adventure in URI’s backyard! Based on the idea that places have a profound impact on our experiences and our identities, this badging pathway gives you the opportunity to share your unique perspective on a special aspect of URI with other students.
After reading and analyzing examples of travel writing, you will choose a theme that uncovers some hidden, unconventional, unfamiliar, weird, or offbeat aspect of URI such as “Historic URI,” “Queer URI,” “Animal Kingdom URI.” Then, you will find and visit several locations around campus that fits your theme, taking field notes while there that detail your observations and ruminations (aka reflections.)
Finally, you will compose either an online multimedia guide or a reflective travel essay to share your travel experiences with other URI students. You will create multiple drafts, get feedback, and revise your drafts to create effective communications.
Note: This is a research-intensive badge.
If you enjoy this badge, consider signing up for WRT 305: Travel Writing in the Department of Writing and Rhetoric.
Learning About Travel Writing as a Genre
Read one (1) travel essay from the collection at BBC Travel Journeys.
Read one (1) travel guide, either Son of Providence: The Weird Legacy of H. P. Lovecraft OR Hidden Newport Guide: https://www.atlasobscura.com/things-to-do/newport-rhode-island
Complete this Travel Writing Rhetorical Analysis Chart to compare and contrast the formats. Be sure to look at this guide to summarizing and this guide to the rhetorical audience before completing this chart.
Brainstorm a list of possible “travel” themes that would work for URI and/or surrounding communities (feel free to use the ones in the introduction above but also add your own). Make sure that you can identify A SPECIFIC audience for the theme (i.e., URI students who love nature and want to find the best spots for outdoor activities). Brainstorm a list of places that you should visit to represent a possible “tour” for your theme.
SHARE YOUR THEME, PLACES, AND AUDIENCE WITH INSTRUCTOR.
Go on your adventure! and create a double-entry field journal (12+ pages of notes) of your findings.
- Grab a pen, a notebook, and your Smartphone or camera and travel to a beginning point.
- Set up your notebook so that each page becomes a double-entry space for recording observations and ruminations. Each page should have a place for your site or location and the date and time of your observation as well as one column titled “Observations” or “What I observed” and another titled “Ruminations” or “What I think and feel about the observations.”
- At each stop, pull out your notebook and write what you see. (It’s helpful to imagine you are an alien from another planet, and you’ve never been to this place and you have to report back to your leaders on everything you see, hear, smell, touch, taste.) Try to fill at least three pages with details, images, and observations. At each stopping place, write more than you think you will need! Look for the unlikely, the surprising, the odd, the sublime, the disturbing, the jarring—the sights, smells, textures, and sounds that create a specific sense of place. Shoot for the level of descriptive detail that you read in the works that you read in Level I.
- Take photographs and record audio clips of your travel “destinations.” Make sure you capture different angles. Think about what features of the destination are most important/interesting to your theme. With what images best capture your theme? Of which features should you take close-up shots? What is better shown at a distance? Do you want people in your shots? Take more photographs than you need.
- Feel free to make sketches of your “destinations.”
Finding Your Overall Impression
- Write a one-paragraph response answering all of the following questions: What insights (aha! moments) have you gained from taking the slow time to really experience the places connected to your theme? What insights might matter the most to your theme and might matter to your audience? What is the dominant impression?
- “A dominant impression is a quality, mood, or atmosphere that reinforces the writer’s purpose. It is primarily a feature of narrative and description-based writing. The dominant impression is sometimes called the controlling idea. In this sense, the writer must be consistent. For example, the dominant impression of one snowfall could be ‘gentle, crystalline, and romantic.’ Another snowfall could be ‘blinding, whipping, and suffocating.’ However, the writing would be inconsistent if the author described the second snowfall further with words like ‘soft,’ ‘whispering’ or ‘magical.’”–Nicole Mueller
- Carefully read back over all your field notes looking for evidence that can help you build your dominant impression. When you find good evidence to help you develop your direction and focus, highlight or underline it.
Conduct library research. Find 3-5 credible, reliable sources from the library on your travel guide theme or individual stops.
- Create an annotated bibliography. Each entry MUST BE IN MLA FORMAT and must include all of the following:
- A one-sentence summary of the source (use summary guidelines in Resources)
- An evaluation of the source (use the CRAAP test). You must state why the source is credible, timely, and accurate.
- A statement of how this source will enrich your audience’s understanding of these places
Based on what you determine as the most viable direction in your field notes, create an outline or sketch of your travel guide or essay. Use the guidelines in Writer/Designer pp. 183–185.
Using your outline or sketch, draft your travel guide or essay. You should have between 800–1000 words in the travel guide (plus multimedia) or 1200–1500 words (plus multimedia) in the travel essay. Add whatever multimedia from your field journal that seems appropriate to your selected genre, your theme, and your direction. Use attributive tags and an MLA Works Cited list to credit your library research sources.
GET A PEER REVIEW AND INSTRUCTOR FEEDBACK ON YOUR DRAFT.
- Based on peer and instructor feedback, revise your travel piece.
- Create a metacognitive reflection on your travel writing experience.
Required Artifacts For Submission:
Level 1 Folder
- Rhetorical Analysis Chart
Brainstormed list of travel themes, places, audience
Level 2 Folder
- One paragraph response and dominant impression (Gdoc)
- Field journal (12+ pages of notes) (you can use the Genius Scan app and submit the field journal in your Google folders or submit hard copy) with highlighting or underlining
- Annotated bibliography of 3-5 sources in MLA format
Level 3 Folder
- Outline or sketch
- Draft of travel essay or guide (Gdoc)
- Peer review recording (audio or video file)
- Revised draft of travel essay or guide (Gdoc)
- Metacognitive Reflection
Developed by Genoa Shepley and Stephanie West-Puckett with generous support from Heather Johnson, Kim Evelyn, and Jim Henry.