It’s hard not to be inspired by the unfamiliar sights and unforgettable adventures experienced while traveling. You could probably fill hundreds of pages recording the minute details observed along the way—in fact, many do, by keeping a travel journal.
It’s relatively easy to start a travel journal: simply pack a small notebook and a pen. The hard part is sticking to it. The lifespan of many travel journals is quite short—there are long, descriptive entries from the first few days of the trip, but the journal quickly becomes neglected as it finds its permanent home buried at the bottom of a suitcase.
Keeping a travel journal requires a little effort, but it is absolutely worth it. Here’s how to create—and stick with—a travel journal for your own adventures.
Forget Everything You Know
Your travel journal is a personal memento, not a school assignment. You don’t need to write in it every single day. Entries have no minimum or maximum length. You won’t get points deducted for spelling mistakes.
Once you let go of what you’re “supposed” to do, your travel journal shifts from a chore to something that’s actually fun to do.
Get in the Habit
Establish a routine of writing regularly before you take off on your trip. You might take a few minutes each night to jot down travel ideas, record recommendations from friends, or just gush about how excited you are to hit the trails. Get in the flow of keeping a journal: once the habit is ingrained, it’ll feel more natural to keep it going on your trip.
Record Moments, Not Recaps
“Today, we woke up and ate breakfast. John showered while I checked my e-mail. Then we walked down the road and got a coffee.” Yawn. Don’t feel like you have to transcribe a minute-by-minute recording of the day. Instead, write about one incredible highlight of the day: an interesting person that you met, an outer-worldly cup of gelato that you ate, or a hilarious mishap on public transit, for instance.
If you’re traveling with others, take turns with the travel journal. You’ll end up with a well-rounded account of your trip, and it’ll be interesting to see what stood out for each person on the trip. If you’re struggling with writing often, sharing a journal will help ease the responsibility of each person.
It might not be easy to establish a writing schedule when your day-to-day activities are so erratic. Instead of picking a time, like every night before bed, squeeze in a writing session whenever you have down time, like on a train ride, while waiting for a bus, or during that quiet lull before dinnertime.
Go 21st Century
There’s something incredibly romantic about using a pen and paper to record your thoughts. However, if it’s not working for you, you can always opt to keep an online journal. You can keep it private, or set up a public blog that friends and family back home can follow on your adventures.