“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” – William Wordsworth
No matter how special, wild or weird your travels may be, the brain can only hold onto so many of your memories. Some moments are etched into our minds or hearts with permanence, but some flutter in and out with less and less clarity. While the brain can only hold onto so much, the notebook or journal retains it all for as long as the pages and ink and images hold.
These memories written down into our journals during, before or after our travels are the keepers of not only great stories but also insight into our feelings, fascinations, the people we once were, and the periods in our personal histories and the people we met who changed us.
Through each journal page, we travel again, while pasting down photographs, matchboxes, stamps or postcards, leaves, wildflowers, bottle tops and feathers (and other curiosities and keepsakes from our experiences). Writing down what we saw, felt, heard, smelt, touched and tasted, lets us return to the destination weeks, months, decades later, when something pulls us once again to focus in on the things that inspired us. So that we may be inspired once again.
For children, as they continue to grow up quickly and right before our eyes, these journals of their lives, collections, travels, adventures, whether far from home or right in their back yard or bedroom, are like a telephone line (one with a tin can on either side) – letting us access the little people they once were.
Life is always in flux, sometimes hurried, and change is constant, but our journals set the important moments in stone (or paper), so that they remain, forever tangible and accessible.
During this period where travel has been restricted and downright banned, our travel notebooks have let us keep travelling… and focus in on the little things or the big feelings we may have missed in the busyness of life. Resting, nesting, digesting, we turn to the lifetime art of the travel journal to keep us grounded, to note down our hopes for the days ahead and our gratitude for the days past.
Are you a journaller? Have the journals of other writers and explorers inspired you? What are your tips for newbie journallers? Share some of the less secret pages from your travel notebooks with us. Let’s keep the spirit of exploring alive!
Here are our 7 Tips for Travel Journalling!
1. Be creative – Journalling helps us remember more, learn more, reflect more, but it;s also an art, that calls on your creativity. Put a morning or afternoon aside, don’t be afraid to get messy, lose yourself in its pages…
2. Ask questions & do research – during, before or after your trip, there may be details you’d like to know more about. Maybe the names of certain birds or a lesson in crocodile motherhood that stood out… Fill your notebook with these fascinations. Write it down.
3. Imagine – Before your trip, jot down what you’re excited for, expecting, note your intentions. It will keep you gripped and excited and reflecting while you wait for the final day of departure…
4. While travelling, attend to your journal daily – Write down your highlights, fears, surprises, unique foods or drinks you taste, quotes you read, poignant or funny conversations you had, romantic exchanges… let your heart pour out onto the page, unashamed (but be careful to keep your journal locked away safely if you’d prefer your secrets to stay secret).
5. Multi-media – Get visual. Don’t just stick to words. Add colour, paints, postcards, photographs. Take stationary essentials along and stick down luggage tags or airplane tickets, handwritten notes, receipts, newspaper cuttings… the stuff of memories that will flesh out your travels on the pages. Doodle…
6. Themes to consider – Document: the activities, the people, the food and drink, the ups and downs, the purpose, the lessons, advice, the Spirit of the Place (what was distinct about the region that made it special or unique for you?)
7. Take your notebook everywhere – Create a routine. Turn to your notebook every morning or night to write down new thoughts or take it with you wherever you go, pack it into your shoulder bag or backpack and slip in souvenirs and ideas as they strike. You’ll never regret it.
“Keep a notebook. Travel with it, eat with it, sleep with it. Slap into it every stray thought that flutters up into your brain. Cheap paper is less perishable than gray matter. And lead pencil markings endure longer than memory.” – Jack London