Posted by: Ginny Prior | January 5, 2012

World’s most published travel writer kicks off speakers series

 

The author of our textbook kicks off first week of class

By Alana Armstrong

Don George has a resume that would impress superman. He has traveled to over 80 countries and gets paid to travel. I was so excited to meet him. I myself had used his guidebooks as faithful companions on my own adventures. When he walked into our class the first thing that really surprised me was the fact that he seemed normal.  In a crowd I would never have guessed that his voice was the one that I faithfully followed for almost four months as I studied abroad.

The second thing that noticed about Don George was how quick to laugh he was. He seemed generally amused at everything that was going on around him. Even in a small classroom he seemed perfectly at home and even more interesting he seemed happy to be there. For someone who has gone and done some amazing things in his life to look so engaged and interested in the simple workings of a small college class really impressed me.

 

He then gave advice to our class, who like him were writing travel stories. His advice was very simple and catchy. He used headers to highlight the things that would really help like “show not tell”. He also was able to really illustrate how important word count is in an article.

The most interesting point though was his style. He is an expert in travel writing. Millions of people use his guides and know his name.  Yet when he came to the class he did not preach, or lecture he simply just talked. It could have easily been a discussion with friends over coffee and yet it informative.  He was casual not forceful, he had no need to prove his reputation or defend it, he just lived up to it.  Of all the writers and role models that I have had the opportunity to meet he was the first that seemed to be from the same planet as me.

The class was also given an amazing opportunity to read one of our travel pieces that we had written to him for critic. At first this paralyzed me in my seat. How could I ever hope to be even for one second a good enough writer to read something of mine to this superhero travel journalist. Yet after listening to his critic of some of my classmates I decided it would be unforgivable to pass up this one amazing chance. My heart almost stopped when I reached the front of the class to start presenting my story but again Don’s friendly nature radiated from him in a way that just made me feel better and my professors slight smile put me at ease. If the professionals in the room wanted to hear my story then the rest did not matter. When I was done I went back to my seat and braced myself for the worst. It did not come instead I received some praise and some very good advice.

For the rest of the day I glowed. I had met someone that I had truly looked up to and he had not been a complete disappointment. Instead it helped me realize that I might have a spark of true interest in travel writing. Don George is the perfect guest speaker to have because he is able to demonstrate just how down to earth a person can be even though they have done some amazing things. I would rate him a ten out of ten.

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