Journal writing on the ‘Camino with a Difference!’
“To understand a landscape truly it must be felt, but to convey some of this meaning to others it has to be talked about, recounted, or written and depicted.”
Christopher Tilley, A Phenomenology of Landscape
Participants are provided with preparatory writing activities prior to the commencement of the tour. En tour journal workshops and individual writing guidance will be offered. On completion of the tour additional support will be provided to help you to finalise your manuscript.
Following is a brief outline of our journal writing approach and an overview of preparatory and workshop activities.
1. The writing framework
Our basic framework includes four elements:
Description: of the places and people; of those feelings you experience in real time and place; and of the landscapes and the affect they have on you.
Additional material: the history of the cities, Camino pathways and villages that you are exploring; enabling you to absorb and to recognise the life of a place and its meaning: to consider the place and its people beyond what it means to a traveller, someone who is just passing through. The ‘life’ of a place, both past and present.
Reflection: your Camino can be thought of as an inner journey – a pilgrimage of sorts – as much as a physical, outer journey. Journaling provides an opportunity to focus on writing that is more personal, for some, ‘spiritual’ – those deeper, more reflective writing processes. You are invited to go back to the experiences of a day or a place, to reflect on the feelings you have had, being thoughtful about the meanings of your experience. It is a deeper language of the self: how the days have touched you, have reminded you of other parts of your life, given you space to discover new ways of thinking or feeling.
Conversation: we invite you to make the Journal a part of your daily experiences on our journey. There is also an opportunity to discuss your progress with Heather and within the group. This is always done in a very supportive and generous way – and of course, is not compulsory.
Following is a brief outline of what is covered at each stage.
Preparation for writing
Prior to the tour participants are provided with the following information:
- How to select a suitable journal
- How to prepare for writing
- Some readings: A few examples to stimulate and prompt your own approaches to writing and thinking about our Camino experience
Workshop 1: Beginning the Writing Journey
In this introductory session we explore:
- Ideas to assist you to articulate your reasons for taking this journey.
- Who you see as ‘the reader’ of your journal?
- Some useful exercises to prompt images – using photographs or memories of conversations are just some examples that can help you to start writing your first entries.
Workshop 2: Journaling along ‘The Way’
By this stage you will have done some writing. So this is the ‘hands–on’ phase of our writing program: we will read, discuss, share – either with the whole group, in pairs or individually. The focus will be on the relationship between your journey and the language that you are using to write about it: images, metaphor, spare and lean, language of emotion.
Workshop 3: Reflecting on our writing experience
Our final workshop will focus on the processes of your writing:
- How you are writing.
- What choices have you made about what to write?
- What has led you in your writing and where you want to go with it?
- The use of images and text.
- Has ‘the reader’s’ identity changed?
Participants who join a ‘Camino with a Difference!’ tour that includes journal writing will receive further detailed information about how best to prepare for this activity. Remember:
“Once you have travelled, the voyage never ends, but is played out over and over again in the quietest chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey.” Pat Conroy