by Mardie Caldwell
Traveling can give you so many great moments and memories that you will want to cherish for the rest of your life. But one problem is that a trip can be so filled with experiences and details that it might become somewhat difficult to recall everything exactly the way that it happened. People, places, events, adventures, and side trips all start to run together once you get home. This is a great reason to journal your trip as you travel so that you can keep those memories fresh and the great experiences intact.
Some travelers may be somewhat intimidated, at first, by the thought of jotting down their adventures.
Remember that this is for your benefit so you shouldn’t put too much pressure on yourself to make sure that it is perfect. It is supposed to be a reflection of your adventures. Have fun with it.
The first thing to remember is that there are no set rules for journaling. You are not required to write pages of details on every adventure that you undertake. There are no minimum standards here. If you do not feel compelled to write, then don’t. The journal is meant to take someone who wasn’t traveling with you and describe the things that you did and the places that you saw in such vivid detail that they can feel as if they experienced it themselves
If you do not have the time, or the inclination to journal right after an adventure, then make a shortlist of key topics, people that you met, places that you saw, etc. Later, when you feel up to it, use the list to elaborate. This way, you are sure not to forget something or mistakenly place it out of order.
Since this is the compilation of your experiences on your trip, make sure to cover everything – even the bad ones There are undoubtedly going to be some bumps on your trip that are less than pleasant. Your plane was delayed, your hotel couldn’t find your reservation, it rained one whole day in a particular town, etc. Your journal is supposed to be a complete detail of your adventures so don’t be afraid to include everything that happened.
People journal in one of two ways: they either just write words, or they incorporate words with visual aids. A visual aid can be a ticket stub from an attraction, a flower petal from a unique plant that you smelled, a feather from a rare bird that you saw, etc. It can even be something as special as a stamp from your hotel that they place on outgoing mail. These are things that you would otherwise never experience, and now they are forever a part of your memory, thanks to your journal.
If you want to use visual aids, make sure to capture exactly how you came across it, what it meant, who shared the experience with you (even if they didn’t travel with you there), and any other pertinent information.
When I travel, I carry colored pens and a small composition book. I tend to journal with words and sketch what I see, even though I am by no means an artist. Just outlines, special views, or interesting angles I see, like a castle in Germany or pottery in Mexico. I try to capture what I see, hear, smell, and feel at that time, including detail about people I meet and speak with. I also incorporate items I find into my journals, such as sand and a seashell from the Bahamas or my metro pass from Paris. These things bring back the immediate memory. Later, after I am home, I tuck photos into my journal too. This creates a complete story of my travel adventures.
Always remember that a journal can always be added to later on. There will be times after your return that you may want to elaborate on something in it. For this reason, always leave spaces between entries so that everything flows in sequence and you have the chance to share the full experience.
I also try to bring home some music unique to my destination and play it while completing my journal. This turns journaling into an almost meditative activity, reliving the experiences while finishing the capture of my trip to share with friends and family.
Mardie Caldwell is the Founder of Lifetime Adoption. Mardie is the host of the popular Internet Talk Radio Show, Let’s Talk Adoption, and the author of AdoptingOnline.com -Your Internet Adoption Resource Guide, and numerous articles on adoption, parenting, and financing. She is an adoptive mother, married with 4 children.