Some encouragement and tips for recording your travels

Do people still keep handwritten journals?

Maybe they have advanced to electronic records, much like my travel blogs, that once started out as scribbled notes in the back of a old school exercise book.

Whether or not you keep a journal, I would encourage you to document you travel experiences. Not only is it a nice thing to reminisce over, and spark memories, but it can be handy as a reference to help others who are travelling to a destination you have already visited.

When I started blogging about my travels, it was merely to keep my friends and family updated on what I was up to, and to avoid having to go over the same stories time and time again when I finally returned.

These days, I am so glad that I took the time to write along the way, as I often look back and reminisce over a trip or two, especially when I am busy preparing for another.

You, of course, won’t see the benefits until you have given it a try, but how many of you have tried before, but never kept it going, and now slightly regret not having done so?

Writing a journal is a very personal experience, and therefore there are no rules about what or how you should write… it really doesn’t matter.

I wanted to share a few ideas to help you with writing a travel journal. As I think you will get the most pleasure out of it if you consider including some of the following:

1) Itinerary – this seems sort of obvious, but whether you just record the main destination, details of towns and cities or a complete count of every place you visited. It’s up to you.

Details of a trip can fade from your mind in time. How many times have you struggled to remember the name of a place you’ve been? Just the act of writing about a place, commits it to your memory more firmly and makes it easier to recall later.

From time to time you may want to include a map, from a leaflet or postcard, or even just a little hand drawn sketch.

2) First impressions –  it’s always interesting to look back at your first impressions of a place after having spent some time there. Often when you have spent a lot of time there, you start to forget how you felt when you first arrived.

Those first thoughts and feelings can include being overwhelmed by differences compared to back home and may sometimes be quite extreme.  Writing about those feelings as you are experiencing them can make for some interesting reading later on.

Being shell shocked, feeling out of your comfort zone, or just being simply in awe can sometimes be difficult to put into words. I tend to try to find comparison destinations or moments where I’ve felt similar to describe those places.

3) Bring it to life – it isn’t just words and descriptions that can bring a journal to life.

I find stories are great to read back over sometime in the future.

I tend travel with bad luck, but try not to always be negative about a bad experience. In fact, whilst something bad is happening to me, I’m probably secretly thinking what a great travel story or blog post it will make later on.

Photos of course will bring a journal to life, but these can often be forgotten until after a trip, so add bits and pieces as you go, such as ticket stubs, postcards, maps and anything you pick up along the way.

More things are becoming electronic these days, so there will be less and less paper tickets. You will be looking back at your journal in a few years, when these little things no longer exist, and fewer people even know what they looked like when they did.

How fascinating is it to see what old tickets looked like in your grand parents’ day? In a few decades time, seeing the tickets and things we use today will feel like that, so keep it all!

4) Keep it fresh – I find that writing things down whilst they are still fresh in my mind is a sure way to ensure the little details are not forgotten.

If you’re short on time, taking notes that remind you of key memories and feelings really helps later on when you have time to write in more detail.

There is almost always something that you don’t have time to do, so I always try to make sure I record these quickly, in case of a future visit, as it’s often harder to remember what it was you didn’t do.

5) Tips and recommendations – you may not specifically be considering sharing suggestions with future travellers to you latest destination, but there may be a conversation at some point in the future, where you will be glad that you scribbled down a few tips and recommendations to share.

So, I encourage you to start a travel journal for you next trip. Or how about a blog?

It’s great to experience the world and share it with others, or even to keep a record just for yourself.

If you’re still not convinced, then what about a Smash Book or scrap book? All the family can contribute, and you don’t need to be creative…

I’ve just finished my first Smash Book of my travels, which has been my must have travel item for a while now. It’s been so much fun and now it’s finished, I am loving turning the pages and looking at all the bits I’ve put inside. What’s great about a Smash Book is that you can create one for anything eg creative walking, not just for your travels. Need some help or ideas – check out my craft blog here.

One thought on “Some encouragement and tips for recording your travels

  1. I still have all my old travel journals from 20+ years ago (locked up for fear of the children finding them!). One day, when life slows down a bit, I will read them again. It will be amazing to relive the experience and remember life as a reckless 20 something traveller.

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