When we embark on a trip of a lifetime, I think we all have good intentions to keep some sort of travel diary. Many of us buy a beautiful notebook, keep up with it religiously for a few weeks (or days) and slowly become distracted trailing off to the odd scribble .. I know I have done this in the past.
With our smart phones now documenting a huge chunk of our trips through social media accounts, it’s tempting not to bother at all with a diary. Our TimeHop on Facebook will tell us what we were up this time last year right? Whilst this is true – if you can’t remember exactly where you were at a specific time, having a good scroll down on your Instagram gallery is usually enough to jog the memory but there is just something lacking. A diary can be anything you want not to be – it is YOUR creation and a unique keep sake.
Back in 2009, aged 18, I went away on my first 6 month backpacking adventure with a trusty Nokia 3310 (this was a retro phone even in those days) and fresh diary. My friend and I had vowed to each other we would document the entire trip and somehow, we stuck to our word. I poured every feeling and experience that I had into my precious notebook with absolutely no filter – as a result, it really helped shape my next world trip and is now one of my most prized souvenirs. For every trip I have kept this tradition up – here are my top 7 reasons why you should too.
Remembering what you did
This may seem incredibly obvious but it is surprisingly easy to forget the important details. Noting down where you stayed and where you ate may seem a bit tedious but if you ever plan a repeat trip or want to recommend things to friends, you’ll be pleased to have all the information at your fingertips.
Doodles and Sketches
Whether you’re into drawing wobbly stickmen or you simply love sketching a landscape – a travel diary is perfect for this. I got into the habit of drawing little cartoons of my boyfriend if he was in a bad mood – whilst at the time he probably wouldn’t have found it that funny, we found them hilarious after flicking back through weeks later.
From bank notes, to boarding passes, tour tickets to reciepts – you’re bound to collect a lot of stuff during your trip. Rather that throw it away or loose it to the smelly depths of your rucksack, why not stick it in a diary – it’ll help jog memories when you browse through later on. If you don’t feel like writing on some days, it’s not a big deal – sticking a boarding pass inside will indicate you hopped on a flight that day!
Long plane journeys, night trains, boats, buses, coaches – there is no denying we spend an almighty number of hours on public transport whilst travelling. Honestly though (I can vouch for this) time flies when you’re scribbling away – it’s the perfect opportunity to keep it updated.
It’s an emotional release
Travelling can be a bit of an emotional rollercoaster – one day you’re on top of the world after smashing a skydive or reaching the peak of a mountain, the next you’ll trip over and smash your camera lens. It can be up and down to say the least. Keeping track of the shitty moments is just as important as writing about the good times. A good rant in your notebook will release stress and tension. Trust me.
Learn more about yourself
It sounds a tad cliche but it’s true. If you’ve witnessed something that you don’t agree with – write it down. Have you behaved badly in an argument but can’t admit it? Tell your diary, you’ll learn more about yourself. Looking back a few years later and re-living some your feelings can be very insightful.
Writing lists and keeping track
Who doesn’t love a good list? If you’ve met somebody who has recommend a great band to listen to but your phone has died, pop it in your trusty diary.
If you’re travelling with friends or a partner, chances are you will loan each other a bit of money at some point – having an ‘admin’ section perhaps at the back of your notebook is a great way to keep track of who owes what so things don’t get messy.
The budget – this budget notebook is perfect for those wanting to save the pennies. Recycled paper with a retro feel.
The middle weight – a beautiful, A5 linen casebound notebook. A surf-green colour with the words ‘DREAM BIG’. Simple and effective.
The high end – well-bound with high quality thick paper, perfect for the serious journal maker.