In our last post, we explore the idea of travel journaling and how:
- It sharpens attention and awareness
- It makes you appreciate the diversity and relativism in the world
- It makes use of the left and right sides of the brain
- It is a vehicle for making you live the experience in the moment
- It makes you curious and people curious about you
So how to sharpen awareness, step back, integrate all aspects of ourselves, be in the moment and create a bridge between people? Here are a few prompts and ideas to get you started.
Travel Journal Prompts
A rich memory keepsake is not only descriptive, it is also reflective and appeals to all the senses. W-R-I-T-E is a nice and easy rule to remember:
W – Write What happened and Why
R – Reflect
I – Investigate feelings and thoughts
T– Take time to reflect and write
… Let’s start the journey!
Writing What happened and why: Setting Your Story Line
- Why this destination, what is your intent
- Describe planning your journey, activities, and to-dos. You may want to make it more tangible and practical with addresses and opening hours, reservation details, etc…
- Describe your journey from here to there, departure and arrival, accommodation
- Have a chapter a day
- All good story has a conclusion: record your return leg and ‘re-entry’ feelings
Reflect: Add depth
- What were your first impressions?
- Observing around, what have you learned, what surprised/startled you, what is different from your ‘normal’?
- What are the learnings for the next trip (what to pack, to do, to avoid…)
- How are your expectations and reality matching?
- How are people relating and being relatable?
Investigate Feelings and Thoughts: A journey to the Interior
- What delighted, disappointed you?
- What are you grateful for today? Have any of your feelings/perceptions changed?
- What are you missing, wish to bring back home, leave behind?
- What positive and negative emotions are you facing?
- How do find being out of your comfort zone?
Take Time to Reflect and Write: Relax
Give yourself space and time to write:
- From a public bench, public park, a terrace, a cafe
- When waiting for your plane, bus, visa etc…
- When soaking the rays or the rain (in a shelter 🙂
- When in a museum, religious spot, remembrance garden, on the side of a fountain
- …And accept that NOT being on the go is part of the process
Embellish: Add Texture
Be as thorough or brief as you wish, it will add texture nonetheless.
- Put a name and imaginary activity to a passer-by or imagine the bygone events linked to a place
- Draw, paint, doodle, emoticon, zentangle, add washi tape, colours
- Describe the fauna, flora, weather, smell
- Include some interesting local words and names
- Describe the food, the drink, the manner in which it is presented and served
Mementos make Memories Tangible
Consider adding the following to your journal. Keep flat items in pockets or envelop between the leaves, or glue chunkier items on the cover.
- Food: Menus, restaurant receipts, rub coin change, stick a picture/magazine cutting, coaster, wine label, packaging and wrapper, napkin
- Transport: all tickets, maps, and timetable
- Nature: dried flower. sand and grit, draw bugs, draw the weather, keep a soggy brochure, feathers, small shells, small flat shiny quartz
- Activity: Entrance tickets, leaflets, bracelets, business cards
- Communication: stamps, postcards, receipts
- Fabric: Turn the T-shirt/hat/bandana that was a good idea there but not so much here into the cover of your journal.
- …and of course, stick those lovely pictures! Cut them in different sizes and have them focus on the big (landscape, buildings, crowd) as well as little aspects (working hands, smiley face, gargoyle detail) of your journal. If you keep them in your phone, sim will take your memories away!