Isn’t it too bad that we can’t recapture the magic of our travels after we’ve left that place? Sure, you can take photos. But what about those feelings of excitement, awe, fear, peace, and pure unadulterated joy? Can our photographs recreate them?
The answer, sadly, is NO.
The truth is, most of us fail to hold onto those feelings and thoughts we experience when visiting a place for the first time or trying something out for the first time. We are left with hollow memories that don’t hold a candle to the experience.
The only surefire way to retain the spirit of our adventures is to write about them. Either on paper or a digital blog. This article gives tips on maintaining a compelling travel journal to record every aspect of your adventure.
Let’s get started.
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What is a travel journal?
A travel journal is a record of your travels. Your journal can be uniquely you. You can pick up a diary and start scribbling if you prefer the conventional pen-to-paper recording. But if you’re the new-age digital nomad, you can just as quickly jot down your thoughts on your WordPress blog. You can even use your GoPro or other recording device and film a travel vlog for your YouTube channel. That’s a type of travel journal too.
What should a travel journal include?
A travel journal can include a lot of things –
- Why you want to travel.
- Your bucket list for traveling.
- Your travel aspirations and goals.
- Where are you traveling now?
- Your itinerary.
- Dates of travel.
- Modes of travel.
- Your experiences at each place you visit.
- Your experiences of every activity you try.
- Your fears and doubts.
- The challenges you faced during your travels.
- The simple pleasures you experienced.
- Descriptions of the people you met.
- The foods & beverages you have tried.
- Any illnesses you had during travel.
- Your personal opinions about the places you visited.
- Notes/reminders about future travels.
- Record of things you bought (and might be taking back home).
- …and many more such unique personal travel experiences.
Your travel journal can be for specific trips you take, or you can have a running journal in which you keep updating about every travel you’ve had and will take in the future. The choice is yours.
Private or public?
Should you keep your memories to yourself or share them with the world? Again, it’s up to you.
A travel journal can be a very private record – just like a personal diary. But, sharing it can be very empowering for you as it’s a record of your various achievements. Plus, many travel journals become guides for other travelers who may be interested in going on the same trip you took. Wouldn’t it be amazing to help them out, give them tips and offer certain “heads’ ups”?
How to write your travel journal: Top tips
1. Write down checklists and to-dos at the beginning of your journal
From packing checklists to day-to-day To-Do lists, your journal can be a great place to keep essential must-dos at the top of your mind. As you peruse your journal every day, you will be reminded of the things you are yet to finish doing, and you won’t miss completing them.
You can also use your travel journal to make notes of your emergency contacts, medical insurance details, travel insurance details, blood group, organ donation status, points of contact in different places you’ll visit, etc.
2. Describe what you’re excited about for that day’s adventure
Start the day by describing what you’re excited about for that day. What is on the itinerary? Where do you plan to have your meals? Is there any highlight that you do not want to miss?
Record what outfit you have planned to wear. You can also record what plans you may have in case of unexpected problems.
3. Write down what you experienced that day
You can write down your lived experiences for that day. Did everything happen as planned? What surprises did you experience? Write about how your day felt to you and what all you saw, did, and ate. Were you able to interact with the locals? How was it?
4. Add pictures or drawings to your entries
If you’re feeling particularly creative, why not draw/paint something you saw en route or at the site? It doesn’t have to be award-winning artistry – but a rendition of your experience of your travels.
Get a few pictures printed and stick them to your travel journal. Or, save and name the photos on your phone to upload online later or to get them printed once you get back home.
Some travelers even press flowers and leaves they find when they travel. These act as beautiful reminders of what they experienced during their adventure.
5. Write down any thoughts for the day or new learnings
You can note any specific learnings you gained from your day’s adventures. Was there a moment that stood out, and did it give you something to think about? How did the day’s travels change your perspective? This can be a beautiful way to gain more from your travel experiences.
You can even write about all the fun facts you learned from your travel guide. Maybe even paste a picture of your guide next to your entry.
You don’t have to include all of these in your travel journal
While including all the above details can make for a well-rounded travel log, you don’t have to record them in your journal. Instead, include what you want to capture. Also, write your travel journal the way you want to. For example, you may be someone who prefers to note down bullet points. That’s perfectly fine. Or, if you’re a wordsmith, go ahead and get as descriptive as you want. You can also write your travel journal in your native language – it doesn’t always have to be in English.
The point of keeping a travel journal is to enjoy logging your travel adventures in a book, website, or video. These journals will become beautiful memories of your old travels, which you can relive in detail multiple times for many years.
Be sure to check out more of our articles on Travel-Wise articles here! Also, we sincerely hope Travel-Wise will make journaling your next travel experience a breeze! Checkout out the Trip Planner and journal here!