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!