5 Tips For Keeping A Travel Journal

Keeping a travel journal is my favorite form of documenting my adventures so that the memories stay with me forever. No matter where I went while I was abroad, my travel journal was always snuggly tucked away in my bag.

Journal BWBefore my travels abroad, I had only kept journals sporadically. I had a terrible habit of writing a few pages in one and then purchasing a brand new, shinier journal in hopes that its pretty cover would trick my brain into writing daily.

It wasn’t until I landed in Korea that I realized the importance of writing in a journal from cover to cover. There’s a certain joy that comes with writing in the last page of a journal (which hopefully you’ll know one day after reading this article!).

All it takes it a little discipline (choose a writing schedule and stick to it), patience, and lots of ink to begin enjoying the habit of writing in a journal.

Not sure where to start or what to write in your journal? Keep these 5 tips in mind and soon you’ll have a journal that will rival the memoirs of Eat, Pray, Love.

1. Include itineraries and dates of big trips

One mistake I made when first starting a travel journal was not writing down my travel itineraries along with dates. Before a big trip, I would write my itinerary down on a blank page so I knew what I had planned.

Sometimes, my traveling would go off rail from my original plans. Looking back and seeing what I had planned and what my adventure actually looked like is fun. Sometimes plans changed for the worse and sometimes for the better. Either way, I’m able to experience those memories when I reread my journals.

2. Not every entry needs to create an epiphany

There’s no need to focus on writing like a poet. For some people, writing as if it will be read becomes so overwhelming that they stop writing altogether because it becomes a task instead of just being fun.

Remember that these entries are for your eyes only, so write in a way that’s true to you and comfortable.

3. Add a reflections paragraph after significant events

After writing down the details of really big events I experienced (missed travels, huge festivals, epic moments), I like to write a paragraph or two with my own personal reflections on the moment. It’s really interesting to have the ability to see what my thoughts were at a certain time in my life.

Sometimes, I’ll even shake my head and smile when reading my past reflections because I was so occupied with things that didn’t matter – it makes me happy to know and have proof of my emotional growth.

4. Include small tokens of memory

Your journal doesn’t have to be just entries. Make it in such a way that you enjoy keeping the journal. I like to have pages with pressed flowers and a small description of the place I plucked it.

I also like to add little newspaper clippings (even though I can’t read them, I like having that small tangible object as a reminder of the countries I visited). Train tickets are also something I love to slip into my journals along with a description of the trip. I can’t sketch, but if I could my journal would be littered with pictures.

5. Remember, you will appreciate all of these memories in the future, even the mundane ones

As I lived abroad in each country, life fell into a routine, but I wrote in my journal anyway. Some of the entries about my normal life are some of my favorite memories from my journal because they trigger my memory.

I wrote about the fruit stand I visited every day and the couple who owned it (a sweet old lady and her grumpy but adorable husband). I wrote about foods that I ate almost every day in Taiwan and Korea but forgot in my immediate memory once I got back home after my traveling.

Things that seem boring or uneventful can still be written about in your journal.

What’s your favorite form of documenting memories while traveling? Have you ever kept a travel journal? We want to hear all about it in the comments section below.

 

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