Keep your journeys alive by creating a home for the memories…
Confession: I have never kept a travel journal. Counterintuitive, I know, for someone who is now as we speak writing a post about creating just one. Instead I am the keeper of boxes and boxes of photos and mementos, a hard drive filled to the brim to pictures, and stores of keepsakes hidden away. My thoughts and memories during the journeys themselves catalogued away in the recesses of my brain. Looking back on the trips I’ve taken and the places I’ve been, I wish I had taken the time to put pen to paper, or pencil to sketch book to record my thoughts in real time. Slipped out from behind my lens to write a few words. Of course there will be more trips, more opportunities to make good on my resolution to document, and while they may not be committed to a book, the boxes of photos in my closet and folders on my desktop have their own way of evoking time and place. Still, I was curious how others recorded their adventures, and in that I discovered a true gem just a few desks away.
FP Ashley is a well of knowledge when it comes to adventures, traveling, and keeping track of it all while on the road. After having heard hints that she might have a thing or two to say about journaling on the road, I was blown away by the gorgeous journal she produced, full of collage, the written word and sweet illustrations on her time spent abroad.
“I am a lifelong traveler. Every time I journey somewhere new, I return home in love with the world. My experiences abroad have been my greatest source of learning and personal development. Bringing these lessons home with me is a rewarding part of the experience. I choose to keep a travel log so that I can my record foreign activities as I go.
In an age of acceleration, nothing is so luxurious as slowing down and recording your travels in a journal. Time can become distorted when on the road and writing can help to ground your experiences to exact dates. It helps to stimulate your senses and forces the mind to focus on surrounding details. Capturing cultural lessons is unique to traveling and keeping a journal is a great way to document those special details: climate, accommodations, food, chance encounters, etc.
A few tips for journaling on the road:
- Keep your plane, train and bus tickets! They make for excellent journal flair.
- Collect found objects and imagery — flyers, matches and postcards — and use them to make creative collages.
- Record details! Dates, weather, hotel room numbers…methods of transportation will come in handy for future trips and recommendations to fellow travelers.
- Draw! Landscapes, indigenous plant/animal species, iconography and architecture.
- Bring different color pens or pencils for journal artwork.
- Stone rubbings are fun and make great entries.
- Bring tape or a glue stick!
I’ve taken some incredible journeys to the far corners of the earth. But inevitably, these trips always come to an end. Keeping a journal has allowed me to turn these experiences into lasting insights. As I flip through the pages I am able to revisit each journey; going back to the trip in my mind, trying to understand it, finding a place for it in my thinking…that is what will last an entire lifetime.
The pages of FP Alistair’s minimalist travel journal were just as lovely, with photos, Polaroids, and cut outs tucked between pages adorned with her looping script and hand calligraphy…
After seeing the gorgeously bright and vibrant pages of Ashely’s and Alistair’s books, I’m inspired to begin keeping a more thoughtful account of my journeys both near and far. A travel journal doesn’t have to only be reserved for far off lands and exotic locales — your journey through the everyday is just as worthy to be recorded.
The next time you find yourself far from home, gather the details and write them down. Use that glue stick you stashed away to memorialize a train trip or plane ride, and use wrappers and paper cutouts to add color to the pages of your book. Years from now I doubt you’ll regret the time taken to capture life as it was, when you were on the road and experiencing an adventure unlike any other.
+ Do you have tips for keeping a travel journal? Please share in the comments!