Upon doing research prior to my first European adventure, I searched for travel tips and one thing that came up the least was advising a travel journal. I happened to come across this advice on Pinterest and I am glad that I did.
The suggestion was that you buy a small notebook and track your trip. Naturally, I enjoy putting a pen to paper. However on this trip, I wasn’t so sure that I wanted to make time to do that. I was looking for something more feasible, which in this day and age is social media and all other forms of technology. I told myself that taking an actual notebook was just something more to pack. But I also knew that if I trusted myself to chronicle my trip electronically, I probably wouldn’t do it. Well, what’s a girl to do?
I decided that an electronic journal was just not for me because I wanted to include tangible items in this. My suggestion to you would be to do what works best for you. You will be the one doing all the work, so do what you feel is more natural to you. Either way you decide to keep track, here are my starting points for writing a travel journal.
Consider the audience. Who is this for? Who will be reading this years down the line? Personally, I don’t have a filter to begin with so I typically just write what I’m thinking or feeling in that moment. I feel it’s more authentic that way.
Include lots of details. I discovered that knowing small details are great for starting conversation. Not only that, but if you ever return to that particular destination, you’ll remember exactly where it was you made that first memory. For example, it’s best to include things like your itinerary, people you meet along the way (details/descriptions about them along with contact details if you plant to keep in touch), summaries of the places you visited, and then an overall favorite spot or moment.
Remember that you’re writing a story. Some people forget the purpose behind this and end up writing lists and when you go back to reflect, these lists won’t rise any emotion from you. Therefore, I highly suggest including dialogue from a conversation you had or overheard and even phrases you frequently heard. Be sure to include the day and the date. Seems like a natural thing to include, but we can forget very quickly. Also include your senses! Include details about the weather, how you felt when you woke up, what your surroundings look like, how you were feeling that day, no details are too small.
Save everything. Okay, don’t save everything. However, I always save things like receipts, to-go menus, food wrappers, maps from any tours I went on, newspapers, etc. It’s hard at first to remember to save these, but it will become second nature. You could easily snap a picture, but the tangible item is usually more nostalgic. These items will add so much more sentiment to your journal.
Write immediately. If you don’t do it now, you won’t do it at all. In addition, by writing when the moment is fresh on your mind, you have less opportunity to forget the details. I typically found myself writing while I was at lunch or catching a train. It was easy for me to decompress and gather my thoughts. So, try to find an opportunity where you are able to do that.
By recording all these memories and information, not only will you have a unique souvenir, but you will also learn a lot about yourself. You will also learn how to actually see and observe your surroundings. You will realize that your adventure is truly unique. You will improve your memory, your ability to articulate and you’ll even remember all those networking opportunities that you came across!
Plan your trip and get to writing! You won’t regret it!