7 tips for your travel journals
As mentioned in my first blog on travel journals, this time I am going to talk about some techniques to pull everything together. (If you didn’t read the first blog, please do go back to it, as it tells you what you need.)
One thing I’ve learnt in my many years of journaling is write up everything I’ve done on a daily basis. I also realised soon enough that if the journal is not finished by the time my plane lands back home, it probably won’t ever be completed despite my best intentions. Life takes on a new impetus in one’s home environment and generally one just can’t prioritise one’s holiday memories in the same way as putting food on the table. (Even if writing is one’s bread and butter.)
The small notebook that I carry around wherever I go when I’m travelling is invaluable. I like to keep it with me to note down smells, sounds, and particular details one can’t really write down in a bulky journal while moving about. I also use this notebook when travelling by car. Each time I get a chance to transfer information from the small notepad to the journal, I tear up the page and throw it away. I like to write in full grammatical sentences in my journal – good practice – but others may not care so much. Perhaps these people would be happy to stick those notebook pages in directly. So just in case you are one of them, only write on the one side until you know.
Here are some of my other tips:
- Always write down the date, day (you can lose track of this fairly easily as time is rather elastic out of your comfort zone), place that you start and where you end up. Like this: 6 June 2016, Monday, Cape Town to Windhoek (Namibia). This may seem obvious, but if you don’t do this, when you try to refer back to your journals for whatever reason, it’s quite difficult to find specific entries without this.
- Stick in the business card of the hotel or brochures or maps you collect with the information you write yourself. Lots of our friends have been able to benefit from our travel experience as I can generally look up the contacts we made there and pass them on.
- I like to draw things as I go as well. If you are also able to draw, sometimes a quick sketch – even a bad one – helps explain more technical things better than words do.
- Sticking in other stuff – I often collect feathers, labels, leaves, postcards or small bits of art to stick in my journals. Lots of writing with no white space is a lot more boring to look at than a bit of colour.
- Take time to sit in a coffee shop, café or restaurant and people watch – it’s amazing what you see when you stop that you want to write down. And anyway, sitting in these environments is excellent for creativity, as you will know from reading A coffee a day.
- Keep your journal in a plastic bag – in case of rain or other bad weather, or any wet environments (kayaking, fishing, canoeing).
- Never bring a journal on holiday with you from a previous holiday – if your journal gets lost or stolen with your belongings, you’ll lose two holiday memories, not just one, which to my mind is a crisis.
What tips have you go for other people wishing to keep a travel diary? And do you like to read them back when you get home?