Every trip I’ve ever taken, I’ve always brought along a journal. Sometimes, I fill the pages with long-winded rants; crazy scattered dot points, frustrated artistic impressions and games of hangman. The possibilities are endless, and it’s up to you if you share it with others; but it’s something tangible for you, and you alone.
Here are five reasons you should keep a travel journal:
Record: Whether you’re travelling for a week, month, or even one year, your travel journal is a way of documenting your journey. Somewhere to store all the fun and fantastic things you see, do, hear and taste. It’s all in one place; whether handwritten, electronic, or photographic. Your journal becomes an outlet for all the truths and discoveries you make during your adventure. It can host business cards, train ticket stubs, stickers or details of a new friend. Or even your weekly planner, to-do list, receipt numbers and games of hangman, or tic-tac-toe.
It might be your only evidence that you saw someone famous (AHEM, Samuel L. Jackson)!
On the road: your journal will also be your companion, your friend – where you don’t feel pressured to tell everyone how great a place is if you secretly hated it. It also keeps away unwanted ‘friends’, when you look all broody and deep in thought.
Reflection: When it’s (eventually) time to go home, this journal could be used to question the universe about the meaning of life, or used to brainstorm and plan your next adventure! It could be quite enlightening (or frightening) when looking back on oneself’s.
You might also come across a recommendation another traveller gave you, or even a recipe that you wrote down and want to recreate at home.
Research: Sharing a particular event, or itinerary, with family and friends always comes up for us. So, where else to start but revisiting your travel journal for the most accurate information you have handy?! Like I say, always help a brother out!
It’s also a good foundation for writing a book about your adventures, or in our case, starting a website for all to see.
For when your memory is failing you: For yourself, or your future grandchildren – a self-proclaimed fascinating account of events that are told from your point of view. I mean, c’mon, no one can say it’s not factually accurate, if it’s in print!
I even read about a man publishing his journal 50 years after he completed his overland journey from Germany to Australia. His name escapes me, but I will get back to you!
Treasured keepsake: After you get rid of all your ‘I Heart [insert city or country name here]’ and dorky magnets, I can almost guarantee that you won’t have parted with your travel journals. No matter how poorly written they are.
Practical tips for keeping a travel journal:
- Don’t like long essays? Then don’t write one! Dot points are your best friend ❤
- Don’t buy a journal that is too bulky, or you don’t like the front cover and/or internal layout. If it’s too big or too ugly, you’ll feel compelled to fill the pages to ‘get to the end’, it becomes too tedious of a task, then you just don’t document anything! If you happen to finish the journal, buy a new one. Too easy!
- Get a decent pen. One that writes smoothly and doesn’t smear under your hand. I find pens you acquire from hotels work a treat.
- Glue or sticky tape keeps all those loose mementos from falling out
- Are you travelling with another person? Share the writing tasks, or poke your travel buddy’s brain for ideas or to remember what you ate for breakfast!
- Don’t get caught up in your messy handwriting, or poor grammar. Who cares? It’s your journal, you can write, draw or scribble anything you want!
- If you want to save the trees, why not give these a go:
Happy travel journalling,
Bag Most Travelled