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.)
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.
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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