Monday, December 14, 2015

Keeping a meaningful travel journal - some tips from around the web

I am a compulsive keeper of travel journals. Indeed, I keep a journal all day, every day, no matter where I am in the world. I have my own particular system, which I have developed after many years of travel and writing about my travels. Here are some other great travel-journal keeping tips that I have discovered online:

1. There are no rules - The pacsafe blog says that you should just forget all of your pre-conceptions about journal keeping and use your travel journal as a source of pure pleasure, to be written in whenever you want, however you want to.

2. Find a vintage map of your destination and put it in your journal before you go - Cities and places change, but they also stay the same. Writer Yolanda Edwards uses old maps she has printed out from the internet as a visual aid and prompt in her journals.

3. Work out who you are keeping the journal for and why - Is it for your own future reference? For future publication? For your children? On the Wanderlust blog Lyn Hughes reminds us to be realistic about what we are using our journal for, because our intent should influence the way we write and what we are writing. She is so right.

4. Maybe you should be keeping a travel blog? - At Solo Traveler Janice quite rightly reminds us that there is a technological solution to our urge to record. A travel blog is open and immediate and can let everyone we know see what we are doing on our journey.

5. Pick the right journal - This one is about as subjective as you get. One woman's perfect journal is another's nuisance. All writers are particular about their tools, and Amanada Kendle at Vagabondish wants you to make sure you have the journal that feels just right for you. Moleskine? Spiral bound? School exercise book? You be the judge. It's going to be your constant companion. One more thing: When you look back over the old journals, just seeing the book's ccover and picking it up will remind you of the thrill of your old journey.

6. Make sure you have written down all the practical stuff - It is essential you record the date and location at the very least! You want to know where you were when you came up with that amazing insight. Debbie Busch on BootsnAll even suggests you have a template of necessary information that you can check off: Destination, Date, Accomodation, Restaurant, Site etc. It's a great idea.

7. Create an acrostic - Yes it's corny, but it can spark your creativity and help sum up your feelings about a place. Kelly Westhoff on Go Nomad uses this technique when she is journalling abroad.

8. Information gathering - When you get home and your friends ask you about a particular destination, having a journal to turn to can be immensely useful. Women on the Road says we can use our old information-gathering to remind us where a good restaurant was (write down its full address and how you got there - i can guarantee you WILL NOT remember!), or a location to avoid.

9. File postcards in there - This is a tip I use a lot. When you visit a location, the available postcards can often be quaint, and will always feature the most important visual cliches of the area. It can save you having to describe, say, the Taj Mahal, but remind you that on Saturday the 18th you were there. I also stick in tickets and fliers and smallish brochures. I love seeing them later.