Travel Journaling that Works for Everybody—10 Tips to Make It Easy

Journal entries do not need to be written like I’ve done below, but I had to share…

We woke up with a start, dressed in the traditional white and red, and immediately made our way out of the hotel and down the stone street. We were finally doing this, and could check it off our “bucket list.” We had to get there in time! My stomach churned and anxiety increased. Squeezed and pushed along with the energetic crowd, we felt their energy and the warmth of the morning sun. Excited people shouted out in a variety of languages. What the heck were they saying?

Once in a lifetime, this was it! I kissed my husband, and found what I hoped was a safe spot to peer over the fence and down the street. Nothing yet, except people excitedly crowding along as far as I could see. Above, I could see the flowered balconies and windows filling with excitement. People in white and red waved and peered down from several stories up. Pamplona’s San Fermines Festival’s “Running of the Bulls…” El Toro! I couldn’t wait for the bulls to run by in a blur of black, hopefully followed by my husband and friends. I wanted them safe…

Are you curious? I am, because this hasn’t happened yet. It is only how I imagine it will be. I’ll let you know in the next newsletter what it really was like, after I return from our trip to Spain. You might be asking, “Is your husband actually going to run with the bulls?” Yes.

Why journal? It allows you to experience a trip again. I can nearly hear you saying, “I don’t like to write. I won’t have time.” Either way, the suggestions below provide a variety of ways to keep memories alive from a special trip and your travels.

Try one or more of these:

  • Purchase a lightweight journal (with plenty of pages) that has something on the front that attracts you, makes you smile, or represents the trip or you. Begin.  Take double-sided scotch tape. I’ll tell you why.
  • Don’t stress over having to write formal sentence structure like I did above. Instead think of it as a chance to remember your trip, and to be able to share with others using whatever method you find easiest. If it is totally personal, just for you, write whatever!
  • Use single words that inspire your emotions and memories. You don’t even have to write full sentences, but just enough to help you remember if you want to write more. (e.g. adventurous, daytrip, lost, boat charter, hike, colorful, water, people, wildlife, skyline, etc.)
  • Simply draw pictures. Use double-sided tape to tape in a ticket, a napkin, swizzle stick, postcard, wrapper, small menus, matchbook; any memorabilia that fits. Anything that will jog memories.
  • Write in the day and place, the name of a street, restaurant, event, tourist site, hotel, ship, etc. Take a picture—insert it on the page after you get home. It will jog your memory of where you were, what you did, and why it mattered. Or write about it on your way home.
  • Use your senses: what you see and hear, the noises, tastes, smells. Think about the impact they have on the enjoyment of your trip—the good and the bad. Write about them.
  • Write about how the trip is different from what you expected. What did you learn? What experience changed or impacted you the most? What surprised you?
  • “Ah-ha” moments always happen when you least expect it. Where were you? What happened? How did you feel?
  • Meet local people, and ask them to write or draw in your journal, or ask others who are with you on the trip to write or draw in it. Kids are very creative and love this!

Most importantly, enjoy your summer travels, near and far. Be safe and build memories for a lifetime. Remember, even the mess ups along the way make a good story for later!

If these suggestions make journaling easier for you, or you have additional tips for travel journaling, please post them on my JLD Writes Facebook page. Be sure to tell me about where you travel this summer. We all can add to our “bucket list” through your experience.

Every place is special if we stop and pay attention! I can’t wait to hear from you.



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