Something that I’ve always done no matter what kind of trip I’ve taken is journal, in one way or another. Journaling is something that can be hard to do, but it’s always rewarding. If you’ve never journaled before, I hope that you’ll consider my perspective and try it out for your next adventure!
Why is journaling so important? Journaling not only helps you to remember the big things – the who, what, where, and when – but it also helps you to recall the little things. The moments that weren’t captured in photos but that happened at another time or place. The funny quotes from the waiter at dinner or that one thing your cousin/friend/colleague said that stuck with you. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but your words can tell a story that is more than just a snapshot of time. The words that you use when you journal can be so descriptive and so telling of who you were and where you were, not just physically but psychologically and emotionally.
Journaling becomes increasingly valuable for you and for others as you age. Imagine 30 years from now, sitting down with your children or grandchildren and being able to read them an entry from a journal you kept during your favorite trip. Those memories captured on paper coupled with photographs will help you to recount your experience in the most accurate and special way.
So, how do you make it happen?
Make time in the morning – When you return back to your hotel/hostel/Airbnb/temporary home, you’re likely to be exhausted, and the last thing on your mind is sitting down and writing out all of the details of your day. If you’re too tired at the end of the day or simply forget, I suggest making some time each morning to record what you experienced the day before. Everything will still be pretty fresh in your mind and you can jot things down over your morning coffee or tea.
Type it – I will always be an advocate for handwritten notes, cards, letters, and journals, but to save time, typing is the way to go. If you don’t have a journal or want to spend the time to handwrite your entries, type it out! You can use down time that you spend on public transportation to type journal entries on your computer or mobile device.
Use your phone – Almost every second of every day you are in arm's reach of your cell phone. You might even be using it right now to read this post (and hey, thanks for reading!). You can use your phone as a journaling device, too. Something that I do when I travel is open up a new note and record short words and phrases throughout the day, so that I can remember the order of events and anything funny/interesting/notable. Sometimes this list is all I need to record. Other times I turn it into a larger journal entry or article. There are plenty of journaling apps and tools that you could consider, too!
Take photos for reference - Nothing is worse than remembering your thoughts and feelings about a place, but struggling to recall the name of it. Take a quick photo of a sign, door, business card, street light - whatever will help you to remember the details of where you were. It's always nice to reference those things later on when you're writing.
In the end, the choice to keep a journal is totally up to you. I love the concept of journaling because it helps me to remember the big things and the details, it takes me back to where and who I was at different times in my life, and it’s something that can live on when I no longer can.
In addition to keeping travel journals, I also journal about my day-to-day experiences. I keep a notebook in which I write 1 significant thing from each day, whether it be a thought, experience, or moment – good or bad – that happened that day.
Journaling helps you to appreciate every aspect of an experience as you recount it, and it freezes moments in time to take you back to a cherished memory or show how far you've come. If you're feeling inspired, start small and see where it takes you. Happy writing!