Do you want to remember how the sun kissed your skin? The song of foreign welcome? The discovery of new flavours? Well travel journaling is for you. It isn’t, if destinations are tick boxed or when “switching off” means precisely, well… switching off.
What is a travel journal
In short, a travel journal (especially a tattered one) is the keepsake of an experience rather than the record of an event and since memory is slippery and the mind prone to float, it is an anchor that makes you pay attention to the moment and slows you down. As feelings, emotions, observations and facts are rolled into one, it becomes a sacred and profoundly personal space, rich with the texture of your experience.
Why bother, I am on holiday!
It does not have to be complicated. In fact, recording every aspects of an experience can be terribly tedious. It doesn’t even have to be a dedicated journal for each holiday, a journal can be a collection of glimpses into particular experiences.
It sharpens attention and awareness
As you suddenly notice the sound of the seagulls, the rhythmic energy of the streets, the pattern of windows, the contrast of colours in the landscape, it reconnects you with your senses. Sometimes, we need to step back and observe to participate better, journaling is an exercise in paying attention and developing awareness.
It makes you appreciate the diversity and relativism in the world
Some languages are whispered and soothingly flat in tone, others are booming and expressive yet people communicate. Some cultures dress flamboyantly, other uniformly, each have their own form of elegance. No matter the diet, hunger is kept away. In noting diversity, tolerance blossoms.
It makes use of the left and right side of the brain
The left side of the brain may be interested in the history or architecture details. The right side may chip in on how this resonates within us. We like it or not, it startles us, it makes us ponder and wonder. It makes us curious and more inquisitive. Emotions, facts and feelings become rolled into one to potentially create a portal toward self-discovery.
It is a vehicle for living the experience in the moment
By opening ourselves to the experience, becoming an observer and basking into our senses, there is no tomorrow to rush to. For even the shortest moment of time, we enter the “zone”, feel part of the “flow”.
It makes you curious… and people curious about you
Have you notice how people smile benevolently to those writing or drawing? It may be an appreciative nod toward sketch, or a tentative “are you a writer?”, those are invitations for exchanges, then fuelled by your own curiosity. It is all about connections…
Sharpening awareness, stepping back, integrating all aspects of ourselves, being in the moment, creating bridge between people: how wonderful!
I wouldn’t know where to start
Everybody is different and the purpose of the journal is very personal:
- Is it for you only and in this case capturing “the flow” may be a series of observations augmented by the occasional memento
- Or is this something to share and show and this may be an exercise in creativity?
If it just for you, a solid journal with a reliable pen attached maybe be the only thing you need. The occasional ticket, menu or wild flower slotted between pages and anecdotes, reflections and impressions taking precedence. That would me my style.
If you are of a more creative type, the richness of display, writing and mementoes may be more the focus. Some travelling prompts may be of help to stimulate the mind. A prompt is something that gets your creative juice going: it can be a word, a phrase, a question or an image. The idea is by choosing words, or through careful illustration, we process information, making an experience more meaningful or memorable. Maybe a good starting point is:
W – Write What happened and Why
R – Reflect
I – Investigate feelings and thoughts
T– Take time to reflect and write
To add interest to your creative journal, create chapters for days or events, adding colours, decorative tapes, mementos, and fancy lettering. Things to collect include tickets, menus, notes, maps, flowers, sand, wrapping, stamps, business cards, feathers, and of course, postcard, brochures, photos cut in various sizes, capturing big landscapes, and little details, full people and details… Why not rub a few coins, leaves, tile texture in? If you leave a few blank pages at the beginning for a table of content, it will make it look even funkier. Add some envelops and pockets to keep things tidy and add to a sense of (re)discovery. Finally, embellish the cover with some of your bounties to make it truly special.
On the practical side, consider including as back up from your phone:
• Your contact information (name, phone number, address, country, emergency numbers)
• Reference/copy of travel documents for reference: passport numbers, flight times, your itinerary, contact info (accommodation, friends)
Am I really the ‘Travel Journaling’ type?
In fact, it is neither about travel, nor journaling. It is about being open and embrace its magic. So why not applying the same idea to all kinds of experience, be it a one-day event (wedding, communion) or a time in life (pregnancy, student life, specific project) … Even better, how about a journal, with snippets of life as it happens, without fuss, recording just being…
Fancy having a travel journal made exactly to your purpose?
Check our Journal builder and let your mind wonder