When I studied abroad in Madrid I kept a journal. I wrote down my adventures and thoughts so one day I could look back on my time in Europe and relive moments like witnessing the Red Sox winning the World Series for the first time in like a billion years or having my host family rush me to the emergency room at midnight with a raging case of the flu (not such a warm memory, but boy was it an experience).
I came up with this list to be a much needed reminder for myself and for others as to why a travel journal is the bee’s knees. No matter how you do it, short notes, poems, drawing, collages, whatever floats your boat, a travel journal is something you can look back on in years to come to relive those memories.
1) It allows you reflect on the day and get ready for the next
I don’t know about you, but when I travel I pack the day full of sightseeing and exploring. It’s easy to forget little details here and there, like how that fermented honey candy in South Korea tasted like a band-aid, but writing those details down makes for a nice reflection of the small things that occurred within all your big travels. You can also think about if there is anything you’d want to do differently the next day or revisit something that you thought was particularly awesome.
2) Your memory isn’t as good as you think
Believe me, it just isn’t. I won’t bore you with all the facts I’ve learned in school about memories. I’ve shocked myself by looking back at my travel journals and seeing how days got jumbled or how events happened at a different location than I remembered. If anything, this will keep you honest.
3) It extends your trip
The nifty thing about a journal is that you can go back to it for reference if you need. When we come back from a trip I try to organize my photos immediately, but with my hectic schedule of juggling school, work and life I often don’t get a chance to jump into creating the photo album right away. Cue the journal. No matter how long it’s been from a trip, I can put together a pretty detailed photo album with descriptions based on my journal. Something I know my husband and I will appreciate in 30 years.
4) It helps you learn from mistakes
Journals don’t have to be all feelings and wonderful moments. Take the time to think about what didn’t work for you that day or on the trip and take note of it. These notes will help you to avoid repeating the same thing on future trips and save you valuable time.
5) It’s the best souvenir
Other than your photos/videos, what other souvenir can claim the ability to transport you back to the sites, smells and sounds of your trip?
Do you guys keep a travel journal? What do you use it for?
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