Don’t Be Lost To History - keeping a Travel Journal is a wonderful way to leave a legacy
I spent the bulk of my career in the Museum/Heritage field, and a significant part of that time was waorking in an Archives. That space was filled with letter and diaries, business records, historic photos, maps and so much more.
Something happened there one day that changed my whole perspective.
A woman came to the Archives looking to find something about one of her ancestors. She knew when they were born and died, and I believe she knew what they did for a living. At that point she paused. She patted her hand over her heart and said to me, ‘But I want to know something more about ‘WHO’ they were as a person.’
You know, it still chokes me up to think about that woman and to let her know that we really have very little to help her in her quest. Sadly, her relatives had left nothing of their lives.
I learned in that moment that, the only people who are remembered are those who wrote it down!
I knew I wanted to be one of those people.
And I want YOU to be one of those people too!
Now, you could do all kinds of writing. For me, however, a Travel Journal sparked my interest and imagination more than anything. We all travel, and I thought to myself, ‘What better way to reveal something about who I am - about my likes and dislikes, about my sense of perception, about my values and my sense of the life and times around me as I travel?’
From that point forward, I began to keep a travel journal for short day trips to staycations and for longer trips too. The pages of those Travel Journals are filled with descriptions of whom I met, what I saw and experienced, what events I attended and what those places were ‘really’ like.
Let me give you an example.
In 2018 I was part of a canoe crew that paddled for 2 weeks down the waters of the Yellowstone River in Montana. This is the longest un-dammed river in the lower 48 states. It’s fast moving water for the most part, and it runs through some of the most stunning landscapes I’ve experienced.
This is the Title Page from that epic Yellowstone River trip.
On that trip I kept a Travel Journal (Paddle Journal) and it holds all the highlights of an epic trip with wonderful crew-mates. Its entries describe seeing the Lewis and Clarke inscription carved into the raw stone of Pompey’s Pillar on the banks of the Yellowstone River.
Looking upstream on the Yellowstone River from atop Pompey’s Pillar where we landed n our final day’s paddle.
The plaque attached to the historic site of Lewis and Clark’s expedition.
There are little sketches of some of the wildflowers we saw on the Crow Reservation as we toured an archaeological site. And there are memories of hard paddling days that ended in tasty meals around a campfire as the warm summer breezes brushed our cheeks in the setting sun.
Prairie cone flowers all leaning into the warm Montana sunshine.
This is the small watercolour sketch I did in my Paddle Journal to try and capture even more of that moment.
In the years to come, I will have that Paddle Journal - and I hope there is a time that I’ll be able to pour over it with a grandchild and inspire them to GO and SEE and DO new things in their life.
That’s a legacy worth leaving it seems to me!
My Museum and Archives work tells me that someone in the future is going to want to know more about you too! So here’s the rhetorical question I want to post to you:
Why not leave a legacy of who you are? Why not give your descendants a rich opportunity to know more about YOU! I can assure you that they will want to know more.
A page excerpt from one of the Travel Journals I kept on a trip to Zihuatanejo, Mexico.
I want to encourage you to think about keeping a Travel Journal on your next vacation or staycation or day trip. That journal will keep your memories clearer for longer - and it will be a legacy of YOU!
Yes, you are that important!
A page excerpt from a Travel Journal I kept on a trip to the Big Island of Hawaii.
Finally, remember that keeping a Travel Journal isn’t supposed to be a job….so relax and I think you’ll quickly find that you get better and better with every single Travel Journal you keep.
To help with the challenge of ‘what to include’ in your Travel Journal, I’ve attached a link to a PDF that I’ve put together to help you build that framework and get you going. Years from now, you’ll never regret having kept a Travel Journal, and your descriptions will be so much richer if you pay attention to your 5 (and 6th) senses.
Email me to let me know how I can help you get going on setting up your very own Travel Journal. Tell me what your biggest barriers are, and I’ll help you overcome them.
Go ahead and click this link to download you framework on Travel Journal ‘content’!
Brought to you by Wayne Wilson and www.newtraveljournal.com