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Travel Journaling

HippieVan at 12:00AM, July 22, 2016

Hi, all! I’m back from my adventure in Japan – thank you so much to PitFace and Ironscarf for writing amazing guest newsposts while I was away. It’s so lovely being part of a site where someone’s always willing to jump in and help out (and you two in particular are some of the very loveliest people I know). :)

I’ve kept diaries off and on at various points, but never for very long because I don’t really have the patience, the memory, or the organizational skills. I do usually bring a sketchbook, but I generally only use it for things I see that are particularly notable or picturesque. Before I left on this trip, though, my Russian tutor asked me to write three sentences a day in Russian so I could continue practicing. I had already bought a sketchbook, so I figured what the heck – I’ll combine my drawing and my journaling into one awesome travel diary!

My technique was to take short notes on my phone throughout the day of what we did and odd things we saw. It’s nice to be able to draw things in person, but my family who I was travelling with rarely let me sit still long enough! At the end of the day or whenever we went back to the hotel, I’d jot down the interesting bits with a few drawings here and there. The drawings and the Russian both varied in quantity and quality depending on how tired I was. (Apologies to any Russian-speaking DDers for the many, many mistakes you might spot – I’m still learning, obviously!)

I really enjoyed the process of journaling this trip! It was a nice quiet activity at the end of each busy day; there’s really only so much Japanese-language TV you can watch when you don’t understand a word of it! I think it made me a bit less frantic about having to get a good photograph of everything, because I knew I would have another record for my memories. It made me pay more attention to the little things going on around me, the funny quirks that otherwise would have slipped out of my mind in a day or two. And of course, it was good Russian practice – I think I expanded my vocabulary quite a bit. I think it even helped a bit with the isolation of being on a fourteen-hour time difference from most of the people I talk to on a daily basis. And perhaps most importantly, I think this will be a lovely keepsake to take out in a few months or a few years when I want to remember our big adventure.

Do you keep a diary? Have you ever journaled while travelling? How do you like to preserve memories, either of travelling or just of daily life?


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PaulEberhardt at 4:20AM, July 25, 2016

I always try to make some kind of travel journal, but I always get too distracted or tired to actually pull it through. Nevertheless I collect as much stuff as I can, including railway tickets, receipts, beer-mats and such. The result is always a small cardboard box full of a chaotic pile of scraps mouldering at the bottom of a closet. Nevertheless, I do take it out again every now and then and go through it, and it fires up my memory like nobody's business. It's a kind of highly inspiring detective work.

Ironscarf at 8:43AM, July 23, 2016

It's a pleasure to help out! I rely on taking photos because with two kids in tow, this would be practically impossible! It's a shame; a photo is more of a scattergun approach and it's very hard to distill down experiences as you have here. This will preserve those precise thoughts and moments as fresh as the day - great stuff.

HippieVan at 12:55PM, July 22, 2016

@ozone: Mine definitely helped with that as well. After two weeks cooped up with my family I had lots of complaining to do. And being able to do it in a language they don't understand didn't hurt either! :P

ashtree house at 9:20AM, July 22, 2016

I never even thought about taking a journal, great idea!

Udyr at 9:00AM, July 22, 2016

Ohh I am going to do this next time I travel somewhere, great idea! :D There's alot of inspiration to find in the world if we just observe.

Ozoneocean at 8:18AM, July 22, 2016

I wrote down a lot of my experiences when I first went to Europe- haha, my travel companion was rather "disagreeable" for a lot of the time and I found that writing about things made me feel a lot better- not just about that but it also helped crystallise memories and experiences for me. It's so easy to get things jumbled and forget things!

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