A well-maintained travel journal is a gift that you give your future self: a physical memory of past physical and emotional journeys. It does take some effort to produce a travel journal worth revisiting. Too often people start one with the best intentions, only to end up with a few scribbled pages or an exhaustively boring laundry list of what they did and saw.
Before you leave home, before you write a single word, put some thought into picking out the perfect notebook for your trip. Think about what kind of notebook you most enjoy writing in: spiral or book bound? Lined or unlined pages? Spaciously big, or small enough to fit in a pocket? Making sure that your journal is easy to carry and pleasant to write in highly increases the chances that you will actually put it to good use.
The fastest way to suck all the joy out of journaling is to treat your journal like a middle school writing assignment: forcing yourself to document every last detail of what you did and saw every day of your trip. This is terribly boring both to write and to read.
A good travel journal doesn't just remind you of what you did, it reminds you of how it felt. Instead of just journaling in your hotel room at night, take your notebook out to lunch, or to a busy plaza and record what you see, hear and experience.
Why limit yourself to just pen on paper for that matter? Make your journal a multi-media experience by pasting in ticket stubs, postcards, flyers or anything else that enriched your journey. Get creative, there are no rules and no limits to what you include.
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Stephanie Yoder is a girl who can't sit still! Since graduating college in 2007 she has either been traveling or planning to travel. She's lived on four continents and visited everywhere from the Great Wall of China to the Great Barrier Reef. She now writes and travels full time, blogging about her adventures on Why Wait To See The World? (formerly Twenty-Something Travel). Follow Stephanie on Twitter or visit her on Facebook.
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