One of the nicest things about going on a trip is remembering it after you have returned home. The sensuous aspects of travel, touch, smell, taste, and sound can evaporate from our memories. Our photographs serve to help us remember what we have seen, but a travel journal is an excellent way to flesh out the rest of the memory.
I know you’re thinking that you’ll remember, but trust me, nothing will haunt you like not being able to remember the greatest restaurant you ate at, or the best bottle of wine you had. Keeping a journal while you travel helps create a souvenir you’ll keep forever.
Children love this idea as well. Even small children can be given post cards and crayons to fill in a journal. Ticket stubs, train tickets, business cards, all of these things help to make up a memory. It will become a family treasure as you laugh again over the anecdotes included inside.
Before you leave on your trip, choose a journal. Get a pretty one that you’ll be proud to put on your bookshelf. It’s an autobiography of sorts, so make it something special. Make sure you can fit it into your day bag or pockets to keep with you as you journey along. Be sure you have a pen.
Don’t create this into a monstrous “What I Did on My Summer Vacation” burden, but rather, think of it as an observer’s notes. Simple things will strike you as you’re waiting for the train to arrive. You’ll want to record some memories of your people-watching. Write about the sounds. Fountains gurgling and music playing don’t transfer into photographs. Tell what you’re feeling. Did you have a blister? Was the heat unbearable? How was the jet lag? Include the different scents and the fragrances, both good and distasteful, to remember. (Some of the most picturesque cities in the world smell of pollution.) How did the food smell? Your hotel soaps? You get the idea.
While you are on the plane, the train, the boat or the car (provided you aren’t the driver) you can jot down memories. It doesn’t have to be flowing and flowery. Write down the name of the restaurant you’re eating at, tell what you ordered, something funny that happened during the meal. Most restaurants have menus and business cards at the exits. Take a picture of the restaurant and add it to your book later. Take the label off your wine. Save the price tag off the souvenir you bought.
Tuck these mementoes inside the journal. These little eclectic talismans become tangible memories when you return home. You’ll be amazed how a $2.99 cloth journal can suddenly becomes one of your most treasured possessions.