We travel through a world that’s heavily focused on social media. Thoughts and opinions fly around the digital world within seconds, whether through status updates or sharing photos in an instant. Looking back, it doesn’t seem long ago that social opinion was delivered via word of mouth, print, the arts, music, television and radio without online presence.
Now, an ever-cascading supply of information streams through our newsfeeds every day. What is expressed online this morning is either forgotten by the time we wake up tomorrow or scrutinised to the brink of scandal. Sure, sharing knowledge in a globally connected community is a tremendous thing. However, have we asked – is the act of writing or sketching about our experiences, in a journal, gradually disappearing? In a travel context, is the simple act of creating a travel journal fading away? Do we prefer social media, instead? Are we time poor or too busy to create while on the road? Or, do we feel less connected with our world if we’re not sharing exclusively online?
Travel blogging, for example, is an inclusive way for the travelling community to ignite ideas, interactions and experiences while bringing us closer together than ever before. Though, from where do blog posts sprout? I’m not sure about other travel blogs out there, though many of the posts you read here were originally brainstormed or scribbled into notebooks before they’re published online. Some of those scribbles make it. Some don’t.
Pencil and paper can help us take the time to breathe life into a travel moment and in ways that internet access and wireless may not. Creating a travel journal has the power to create space for our minds to wander and transcend our inner-most experiences. Our wonder can then become forever changed; taking the driver’s seat and committing these experiences to memory for years to come. Another positive is allowing ourselves to embrace deeper interactions and connections during our travels; whether with our natural world or with each other. What could unexpectedly transpire? We start mindfully choosing our interactions with our natural world while on the road. Our online world could then start to take a backseat while we travel.
So, how do we to draw on this simple act of creating a travel journal? All you need is a pen or pencil, lightweight notebook and the boundless possibilities that our travels can fuel. Then, it’s a matter of choosing the travel journal style that’s suited to you. Here are three ways to create a travel journal:
Write about your travels in date and time order
Record your experiences and travel notes in date and time order. You can write in this style while you’re in transit between destinations, or at the end of each day. This style does require self-discipline and tends to lean on a retrospective reflection. Personalisation is possible by jotting down unexpected local secrets you uncover, likes, dislikes, weather reports, new friendships forged, etc.
Write a journal filled with travel short stories
This approach to writing a travel journal isn’t as clinical, but the result is a journal filled with your unique travel stories. To begin, observe those smaller, daily events or a location to assist in outlining the plot. For example, did you discover a new custom that provoked your curiosity? Or, did you share a casual meal with a local while being taught a valuable life lesson? The trick is to trust your senses. Better yet, let those of a local guide you. Then, unravel surprising twists and turns as your travel story suddenly unfolds. Be the storyteller or a minor character rather than the protagonist.
Create a travel sketchbook of destinations, scenery or those you meet
If sketching comes naturally to you then, perhaps create a sketchbook filled with your drawings from the road. Pad out your sketchbook with scenes or people you are particularly drawn to. Complement your sketches with mementos such as ticket stubs, napkins from favourite restaurants, plus captions and dates written in by you.
Do you create a travel journal while you’re travelling? Or, have you started a travel journal recently for the first time? I’d love to hear about your travel journal experiences.