I started to keep a travel journal when it was a part of my grade for study abroad in college. While it was hard to keep up with it while travelling, it is now priceless to me. I have a few suggestions to help (that don’t include getting graded) keep a travel journal.
1. Write what you can, when you can.
Take it with you everywhere you go. I would jot down ideas throughout the day in a notebook. At the end of the day, I would write down the details and stories. Find a time that works for you! If you are a morning person, go to a local coffee shop and write.
I love to paint and draw, so when I got tired of writing, I would doodle what I was seeing or experiencing.
2. Don’t feel bad if you don’t fill up your journal.
Just because you don’t fill up your journal, doesn’t mean your trip wasn’t fulfilling. I have never filled a journal, but I am filled with stories and memories (hence the blog). To be super cheesy, it’s not how many words you write, but what is in the words you write.
3. On the plane flight back home, write.
I always write on the plane flight back to make sure that I wrote down what is most important to me. These are things that I want to make sure I don’t forget. I have them in my last section of my journal which makes them easy to find.
Sometimes it is just a list of my favorite things I did. Other times it is a detailed story of a conversation I had with someone.
4. Try a blog.
I created a travel blog when I went to Europe. While this was mostly for my mom, my friends and family could keep up with my experiences I was having. A blog is beneficial for people that prefer typing rather than writing. It also helped me organize my photos with my memories. I could write about an experience and have the photo to compliment it. It is also a good way to keep various people from back home updated.
Here is an excerpt from that blog:
To begin this blog post, I want to let yall know that I’m in a cafe in Europe writing this entry. I never thought I would ever be able to do this, and I am so pumped right now. anyways..
Yesterday we woke up and met to go to the Eagle’s Nest. There were no birds there. It was super foggy so I couldn’t see any of the remarkable views of the mountains. However, you can still google it if you want to see just how awesome it was. There was also a trail! even though it was raining and kind of slippery, I still went down the trail. (sorry mom). If you know me, you know that I love hiking. Heck I still wish I was back on my week-long hike that I did a couple of years ago. So, needless to say it made me feel alive hiking up and down that short path. I really hope I have that opportunity when I got to Switzerland to hike some more. I got a shot glass for my dad at the eagle’s nest gift shop, and for myself I got some legit socks.
Then for lunch we stopped in this small town where I got BRATWURST! I know my family back home was waiting to hear when I got bratwurst. It was amazing. I know what I’m getting for all the days that I’m in Germany.
Then we got back to the hotel and I headed out with some friends to Fuxn. Its sounds the way you kind of hoped it didn’t and means “fun” in German. No surprise here, I got some more Bratwurst. It was still amazing. I also got their house red wine, which was SUPER good.”
You see, it doesn’t have to make any sense, and can have the worst grammatical errors. The important thing is that I can look back on it and remember what I did and how I felt in those moments.
5. It is the best souvenir.
While I am a souvenir junkie, I would never give up any of my travel journals. Travel journals last forever, and can put you back into a specific moment. The worst thing a traveler can do is invest in a once in a lifetime journey, and not document it! Find what works for you: vlogs, blogs, journals, photo albums, etc!