J is for Journal

by Lillian Csernica on April 12, 2016

One of the most important parts of traveling is preserving the memories of people and places one meets along the way.  The easiest way to do that is to keep a travel journal.  The precise format can vary according to your needs and preferences.  Here are some practical considerations I’ve learned in the course of my adventures.


Choose a journal that meets your needs.  As much as I love hardback journals, they’re heavy and can be awkward to write in.  A jolting bus ride or a packed train car is not the ideal environment for lengthy accounts of the farmer’s market or museum you just toured.  Better to carry something lightweight that will lie flat when opened or fold over the way spiral notebooks do.

Jot notes and write outlines.   It might be best to carry a small notebook for jotting down key moments which can later be discussed at length in your main travel journal.  The important thing is to enjoy the trip itself.  By giving yourself the option of writing up each day’s adventures when you’re not in the middle of having them, you’ll enjoy both the present moments and the moments of reflection that much more.


Buy postcards.  These are taken by professional photographers with top of the line cameras.  If you go to a popular tourism site, odds are good there will be postcard packets available which include the highlights of the location.  Not only will you have high quality images to share, you will also have a record of details that might slip your mind.  When I went to Kyoto my mother asked me to bring her postcards of the places I saw.  I bought a packet at Kiyomizudera that shows Mom how the temple looks in each of the four seasons!


Look for mementos that will fit into the main journal.  Items such as menus, business cards, stickers, brochures, etc. are fine.  Now and then you might get lucky and find something really memorable.  At the temples in Kyoto you can collect stamps done in red ink that show you’ve been there.  The Monterey Bay Aquarium has a passport for children in which they collect stamps from hands-on science stations at various points around the aquarium complex.


Get creative with the journal’s purpose.  When I’ve stayed in one location long enough to share memorable moments with the staff or some of the other guests, I’ll have those special people sign my travel journal.  It’s a lot like the yearbooks we get in American high schools.  These days people often jot down their email or website, so this can lead to ongoing friendships!


Live it up, then write it down!



Filed under artists, Blog challenges, creativity, dreams, editing, Family, family tradition, Food, Goals, history, Humor, Japan, Kyoto, Lillian Csernica, memoirs, mother, nature, research, travel, Writing

9 responses to “J is for Journal

  1. Very good idea. I did this when I was on a mission trip and it’s wonderful to look back at all the memories.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. One of my most treasured mementos is a paper poppy, one of millions air-dropped over Pall Mall and Buckingham Palace in 1995 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II. It harkens back to World War I as well, of course, because of that famous poem about how the poppies grow in Flanders fields, between the crosses, row on row. I keep that one tucked away in a photo album from that trip.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great idea! I used to add things to a small spiral bound book, but fell out of habit. I still have a container full of pamphlets and postcards from some of my trips, though. Thanks for stopping by my blog earlier!

    Tracy (Black Boots, Long Legs)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have never been able to keep any kind of journal, which is a shame. But really this is not in me.
    And yet I envy people who can, especially people who can keep travel journals. When I lived in Dublin, one of my flat mates (a girl from Germany) would compile a scrapbook to send to her grandma from every place she visited. I saw her building one, once. It was fantastic, with tickets and picture and brocheurs. Really liked it.
    Another German friend of mine also keeps (or better, she TRIES to keep) travel journals.

    Eheee… as I said, no tin me…

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s not easy to do. You have to commit to it, and be on the lookout for items to include. Then you have to set aside time to actually write up what you’ve been doing. That was the hardest part for me on the Kyoto trip. We were so busy all day, then we’d get back to the hotel and I just wanted to eat something and fall on my bed.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I like the idea of collecting your fellow travelers’ signatures / contact data.

    I’m taking a million phone pictures. They are my memories – either just to look at them or to use to remember and write about it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a great idea. When I start a new romance novel, I find photos of the actor and actress who best resemble my hero and heroine. A photograph contains so much detail.


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