Now, I am back from my honeymoon in Paris and Belgium and have a bajillion things I wish to share and write about! Alas, I will need some time to get back into the swing of ‘real’ life and figure out which topics to hammer out first. So stay tuned for that! If you would like some glimpses and highlights from the trip, check out my Instagram account, which I now update on a daily basis with at least one photo. For now they will consist of France and Belgium, but there will be some throwbacks to previous journeys I have had and the beautiful sights I have seen, and in the future: Egypt!
Let’s talk about travel journals. Sometimes it’s in the form of a blog, or an Instagram account. For others, though, it is an old-fashioned, physical book.
Maybe you’ve thought of starting a travel journal, or tried and did not stay committed. Here are my tips and recommendations of how to find the right travel journal for you that will serve as an incredible record of memories and experiences that will become more precious over the years.
1: Pick a journal that suits your style of writing
The pages on which you write must be suited to how you write, therefore paper format is important!
This is key to staying committed. My very good friend Mary had a book that was line-less, which is uncommon for most journals you find in a store. At first I thought this was odd, but since I was inspired by her to start my own travel journal, I picked out a line-less one as well. I soon realized the freedom I had to not just write, but to glue pictures, or draw images, write big or write small. It was like working with a blank canvas. I loved having a part journal, part scrapbook all in one.
But you may prefer a lined journal, like most people. Check the size of the spaces between the lines and pick one that compliments your size of printing best. The last thing you want is a journal that is both uncomfortable to write in, but also makes the reading either difficult or simply displeasing to the eyes. Some journals are half lined, half blank, and if you’re like my mom, you might even prefer graph paper!
|While living in France, I decided to use my travel journal as a sort of learning dictionary to record new phrases and words I learned. Most of this I never heard in a classroom!|
2. Size and Durability
Size matters. Chances are, you don’t want to be weighed down by a thick journal that eats up a lot of space in your pack or purse. It can’t be very motivating to keep up with your journalling if you feel that it is a burden to bring. Find a size that is comfortable and practical. What I do sometimes, is I buy a good travelling bag (usually messenger style) and bring it with me when looking for a journal, to make sure it fits comfortably with room to spare. This is because I usually like to write little notes on-the-go, such as a restaurant I just ate at that was fabulous, or the name of a museum I heard from the travel guide that interests me.
As wanderers, we tend to carry many things, because we are so mobile and always on the go. Water bottle, tickets, a granola bar, camera, pen, sun screen, the list goes on. Make sure your bag and journal have good chemistry and complement one another, or you will have a miserable marriage on your hands.
One thing to consider, when it comes to size, is how your journal is bound. Personally, I would say stay away from coil bound journals, since they are not as sturdy and stoutly built to hand heavy travelling. But then, that all depends on how you travel. For backpackers, I recommend leather or leather-like bound journals. It takes a lot of wear and tear without much to show for it. I also find that coils just take up unnecessary space.
Another thing about size is that it can have a psychological affect on your willingness to write consistently. If you struggle to find time to write, maybe go with something like a 5 Year Journal, or just a journal with relatively small pages. That way you can fill out a page quicker and not feel this daunting task of filling out a novel-like journal. Some people may prefer a more condensed form of writing, since it forces you to get to the point, and really hit on the highlights or things that stood out that day. It can also help develop a consistent pattern that makes it even easier to write regularly.
If you’re a bit more like me, then you prefer to write out as many little details as your brain can retain, and the fresher it is in your mind the better. The average sized journal should satisfy this style of writing, so no worries there.
|I keep all the tickets I use to get into attractions, museums, even bus and metro tickets! Really helps to keep the memories alive.|
3. Pick a journal that looks nice!
It might be cool to pick one with a current icon from a recent movie or TV show that you are a huge fan of, but in a couple years, it may not have the same meaning or appeal to you. Pick a journal that doesn’t date itself. Unless you travel a significant deal, or write extensively, chances are you will have the same travel book for around 3-5 years. So go with something more timeless, inspirational, or abstract, or maybe themed -like a New York themed journal if you identify yourself with New York, either because you were born/raised there, or it simply is the symbol of your love and inspiration for travel!
Or just get one a plain grey one like yours truly! It does not have to be symbolic or have some greater meaning in its design! As long as you like how it looks and know you will continue to like it for some years to come, though preferably forever. Don’t get one you don’t like on the outside and inside. You should have a sense of pride and ownership over it, so you are more motivated to flaunt it!
I hope this inspires you to either rummage through and dust off the cover of your old and abandoned journal, or to head over to Chapters (my favourite place for journals!) and pick out a journal to call your own! Remember, your journal will be a constant companion, so choose wisely, so that you may enjoy one another’s company.
Do you have a journal you faithfully keep up with? What is the hardest part of maintaining a travel journal do you think? Do you even like journalling? I know some people much prefer just to photograph everything or record via video too! Let me know in the comments below how you feel about that!