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We understand that the process of sharing one's story on the Journey's Map can feel overwhelming. Especially if you have never done something like this before. This toolkit is intended to provide some basic resources and tips that can help guide you through the process. We have partnered with members of the community to provide tools and advice to help you get started.  Additionally, our team hosts 'open houses' where we invite the public to come ask questions, get and provide feedback and overall share your experiences in a supportive environment. 


Writing Tutorials

Ever wanted to explore your family’s history and stories but never knew where to begin? Alison Hong Nguyen Lihalakha, author of Salted Plums: A Memoir of Culture and Identity, shares three simple methods to get you started. Explore journaling as a way to reflect upon and begin writing your story, use photos to inspire and inform personal essays, and build on personal experiences to create your own story canvas.  


Alison was born in Vietnam and grew up in the United States. She has spent more than a decade living abroad with her husband and children. In Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, and, most recently, the Republic of Korea, Alison made friends and explored new customs and cultures while sharing her own. She recently traded in her globetrotting life for a slightly quieter one in Hawaii. Her memoir Salted Plums is an Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPY) Bronze Medalist, a National Indie Excellence Awards (NIEA) Winner in Multicultural Non-Fiction and a Finalist in Asian American & Pacific Islander Non-Fiction.

Tutorial 1: Journal Writing

Documenting your life - the big and small moments

Tutorial 2: Personal Essays

From Photos to Stories - A picture is worth a thousand  words

Tutorial 3: Short Story Writing

Short Stories - If you can imagine it, you can write it

From Conversation to a Short Story

Mỹ Việt Story Slam 2020 alum Lynn Kim Do shares her experience in capturing a phone conversation with her mother and later turning it into a short story about her mother's journey to America through the " Amerasian Homecoming Act" and how her mother found her American grandfather. Explore the short story "Above Trash" on the Journeys Map. 

Experience Sharing

From a Phone Conversation to a Short Story

AAPI Stories and Viet Narratives

Telling our own stories is one of the most powerful ways to combat minority myths and stereotypes associated with AAPI individuals. Our community is incredibly diverse with unique experiences and stories collectively can educate, create empathy and connect people. 

Presented by Associate Professor Marguerite Nguyen of  Wesleyan University. Professor Nguyen focuses on 20th - 21st-century American and Asian American literature and she is the author of America's Vietnam: The Longue Durée of U.S. Literature and Empire (Temple University Press, 2018) and co-editor of Refugee Cultures: Forty Years after the Vietnam War (MELUS, 2016). Prior to Wesleyan, she spent time researching dynamics of race, migration, environment, and narrative form in Southeast Asian American cultures of Louisiana. Her next project, "Refugee Ecologies," is based on this work and interprets American literature as a fraught practice of world building in contexts of disaster and displacement, particularly as depicted by writers of color. Her work has been supported by fellowships from the Andrew Mellon Foundation, American Council of Learned Societies, and National Humanities Center. 

Tutorial 1

Introduction to AAPI Stories 

Tutorial 2

Evolution of Viet Narratives

Tutorial 3

Why Your Story Matters


The VBP Our Journeys digital collective was made possible by a grant from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, a state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this project do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or the New Jersey Council for the Humanities.

If you have questions or ideas for improving the Journeys map please email us at  We look forward to hearing from you!

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