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Before My Travel Blog

Long before I had a travel blog, I kept  journals. I have been doing that since high school. Looking back, I remember the person I was when I worried about passing an exam, gushed about a boy or a grumbled because of some new disagreement with my mother. (Yes, those teenage years, when I was trying to assert my independence, were tumultuous.)

A few of my journals (old and new) - Maynefoto

Sometimes, I was diligent and filled page after page with the most minute details of my life. At other times, days would pass before I felt like reducing my thoughts to words on a page. But I never stopped writing.

When I started traveling, it was natural that I wanted to make notes of my trips. I knew of no better way to do this than a travel journal. Sure, photos are great but they only capture moments in time. Each journal entry covers a day and fills in the moments between the photos.

My travel journals have ticket stubs, receipts, menus, post cards, anything that adds texture to my trip. When I visit a historic place, I take notes in my journal or draw. Now that I’m getting to know my camera better, I also make notes about the photos I take, the settings I use, etc.

Page from my latest travel journal - Maynefoto

The difference between a travel journal and a blog is that the journal is private. I write freely because the information is for my eyes only. While I use my journal as a source for my blog, because my blog is public, I am careful about what I share. I still believe some thoughts are well, private, and should remain that way.

Although I blog about my travel experiences and enjoy sharing them, I can’t abandon my journal. I love the way I have to slow down to translate my ideas to words and how carefully, or not, I choose those words. And when words fail, I supplement them with drawings or pictures.

Because I use a computer all the time, except when I have to sign my name, I love to see my handwriting and see how it changes throughout my journal, depending on my mood.

The journals I use must have pockets so that I can store stuff. I prefer ones that lay flat when I open them, have good quality paper and a sturdy cover. Although I like ruled journals, most times, I go for ones with plain pages as the lines can feel confining. For travel, I also prefer one that’s small enough, say a 6″ x 4″, so that it can fit easily into my purse.

Do you use a journal when you travel? What things do you write about?

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Comments

  1. C.B. Wentworth says:

    Ever since my first trip abroad (much longer ago than I care to admit!), I’ve kept a travel journal. I save little things much like you do and along with those keepsakes I write very meticulous accounts of each day. Its usually a weird combination of what events transpired and the random thoughts that come to mind as I write. The outcome isn’t always pretty, but it always reflects my experiences which is the most important thing. When I read through old journals, the very best entries take me back to that day and allow me to relive it all over again. 🙂

  2. InsideJourneys says:

    I agree. I just saw the journal that I had while I was in Barcelona and just picking it up and reading random pages brought back such wonderful memories!
    I kept the most unusual things — a business card-sized calendar from a pharmacy, the receipt I got from a restaurant — all kinds of little things that just brought it all back.
    Thanks for visiting and sharing,
    Marcia

  3. I keep another travel journal. Ever since the boys were babies I have tried to keep a journal. These days I only write something once per week. It’s a good thing that I have done it, as the sleep deprivation has affected my memory, and I’m amazed at all the things I have forgotten. I have kept a journal because my own mum could never remember any anecdotes from our childhood. I could never figure out why she couldn’t remember such important stuff, and now I know!

  4. In all the moves we made, I lost a few journals… Lucky you! 🙂

  5. InsideJourneys says:

    I always worry that I might but I haven’t. You’re right, I’ve been lucky.
    Thanks, Elizabeth,
    Marcia

  6. InsideJourneys says:

    Keeping a journal does take time. I go through periods when I don’t write and periods when I write everyday.
    I know what you mean about remembering. We’re now becoming our parents!

  7. Oh, when I was at Bible College, I kept a journal of ever day I was there. They were actually blog post, but I was putting them on private. Anyway, the best part, is that I wrote about everything that happened. And now, when I read it, it’s almost like I get sucked into that day, it’s SOOOO cool!

  8. InsideJourneys says:

    You’re right, Mozes. When you re-read your entries, they take you right back. It is cool!

  9. InsideJourneys says:

    Ah, not to worry, Mozes. People have similar experiences all the time.
    Thanks for letting me know.

  10. Dang, I just realized that somebody already posted something exactly like the thing I posted. Oh well.

  11. InsideJourneys says:

    You’re welcome, Marge. So true. When we’re going through ‘stuff’ it seems all consuming.
    And then after time passes, we realize how unimportant it really was.
    I wish I can remember that when I start sweating the small stuff.
    Thanks for stopping by,
    Marcia

  12. Marge Katherine Mercurio says:

    I had a period of time when I wrote in my journals and am so glad I did. Rereading them helps me to appreciate all that I went through at the time, who I turned to for support and how much I’ve grown. Some of the stuff I thought was so important turned out to be folly after all! Great post – thanks so much!

  13. My English Thoughts says:

    I started to write a journal when I was about 12 years old. I do not write all the time, sometimes I’m writing everyday, some others I do not write anything at all inside it for months but I never stop to keep it.
    I tried a lot of different kind of “blank journal” like normal notebook or an old fashioned one, but now I’ve find the one that I love, the Moleskine’s notebook. I like the quality of the paper when I’m writing on it with my cartridge pen or just a simple ballpoint pen and there is a pocket inside to fill in with photos, cards…. 🙂
    You just give me an idea for a post, thanks Marcia ! 🙂

  14. InsideJourneys says:

    I have a moleskin as well and I really love it. I also use a cartridge pen — prefer using that instead of a ballpoint. I like the pocket to keep papers and odds and ends.
    I also tried the blank page journal — I tried all kinds of journals until I found the one I wanted. Great that I gave you an idea for a post. I can’t wait to read it, Isabelle!

  15. You know, Marcia, its funny I’ve also journaled since high school but there are chunks of my life that I haven’t written a word about. I went to Rome last year and though I loved my trip, I didn’t write a word about it. Maybe I’ll try writing about it now. I love your photos of your journals. But I love your photos period. I hope to start using more photos on my blog. FYI, I’ve changed my theme so don’t think you’re in the wrong place when you come to visit. 🙂

  16. InsideJourneys says:

    Hey Cheryl, I can’t wait to hear about Rome. I’m sure it was fabulous.
    I find that journaling about anything makes the memories sharper and sometimes, the experience is so intense, so close to the senses that I don’t want the writing (paper, pen) to come between us. I’ll stop by shortly to see the new theme.
    Marcia