I’ve learned a great number of things from my husband over the years, but one of the most useful and meaningful lessons he’s taught me is the art of the travel journal. I resisted it like an obstinate two-year-old. I travel for enjoyment, relaxation and experience — not for writing down the (seemingly) mundane details of how we spent each day.
Then Zeke shared his journals from past trips, and I realized those details can help you relive your travel experiences long after you’ve returned home. It’s hard to remember when and where you met that fascinating (hammered) woman in London who made waiting for the train so entertaining when more than eight years have passed. Or, for a more practical example, it’s a lot easier to remember that wine you loved on your first trip to Italy if you’ve written down the name (or peeled off the label and stuck it in your journal).
It’s not always easy to keep up with the events of every trip — particularly if you’re too busy enjoying yourself to stop and write — but it’s well worth the effort. Zeke has convinced me of that.
With that in mind, you’re going to need something to write in. A quick search on Amazon provides a long list of travel journal options, most with blank pages just waiting for the memories you’re planning to create.
If you’re looking for a travel journal with a little more utility, I’d suggest one of Moleskine’s city notebooks (yes, I found one for Florence, Italy and used it on our last visit there). They’re available for major cities from Amsterdam to Montreal to Turin.
But before you assume this is just another Moleskine (a great notebook in and of itself, of course), take a look inside. You’ll find all kinds of useful information for your trip like maps, transportation information (e.g. airports, train stations, car rentals), plus measures and conversions (you never know when those will come in handy). After a chunk of blank pages just waiting to be filled with your adventures you’ll find a tabbed section with a few prompts like:
- Places, legends, recipes
- Bars, wineries, stories
- Names, faces, encounters
The prompts helped me get my ideas flowing by answering that tormenting question “what should I write about?”
If you’re a social media enthusiast armed with a smartphone (that will work when you reach your destination), you might want to try the Trip Journal app, available for iPhone and Andriod platforms. In the app, you can take and geotag photos, pin places you’ve visited and take quick notes about your experiences. The app also features Facebook, Flickr, YouTube and Twitter integration so you can
rub it in share your travels while you’re still on the go. The app isn’t free, but at $2.99 it seems like it would be worth a try.
What’s your favorite way to document your travels?