Breathtaking landscapes of the Missouri River in Montana on a 2 week canoe trip.
Landscape, Soundscape, Smellscape - Your Travel Journal Entries
Compelling Travel Journal entries come from all sorts of different perspectives. They come from different times of the day, different settings, different people and so many other sources.
One of the simplest ways to record rich memories is to think about the landscapes you’re visiting, and give yourself a moment to reflect on that ‘sense of place’. Perhaps start using point-form and record simply what the place looks like.
The ‘lay of the land’ - look over the North Kohala shoreline on the Big Island of Hawaii.
Describe the lay of the land - the flatness of prairie, rugged mountains, rolling agricultural hills, jagged cliffs. Consider the colours of those landscapes too - the golden sweep of prairie grain fields and the lushness of the tropical jungle that hugs the warm seaside beach you’re visiting.
You can add details about the climate as well - those warm evening breezes, the torrential coastal rains, the damp forest settings, or the brilliant clear air of the alpine meadows. Think about the changes in that weather over the duration of your journey too.
Sometimes, the rain on the MacKenzie River was overpowering. (Note the river barge in the background).
Trying to capture the huge dimension of the MacKenzie River in my Travel Journal - in this case the day’s relentless rain.
All of these descriptions will give you pause, and the result will be richer memories of your travels. Not only will they be richer memories, but they will last longer too.
Now if you set the landscape aside, I want to suggest there are other senses to invoke in your Travel Journal entries too.
How about Soundscape?
It won’t be lost on you that the sounds of a seaside town are very different than the sounds of an alpine village. All the rhythms and patterns of life where you’re visiting - they have distinct sounds to them, and those observations make compelling entries.
The chattering sounds of that seaside fish market are unmistakable…the almost spooky silence of the deep forest on your wilderness hike…the subtle sounds of the air moving through the wings of that seagull as it seems to hover just off the gunnels of the ferry you’re taking.
The soundscape of morning’s Fish Market in downtown Zihuatanejo, Mexico.
Part of the day’s catch offered for sale.
How did the musical sounds of that flash mob concert make you feel? What memories flooded back to you when you saw the local parade pass by? What song in that concert stopped your life for just a moment?
What about Smellscape too?
I’m sure you’ll agree that the smell of that seaside town is very different than the smells of the alpine village.
Idaho Peak sits at about 7500 feet above sea level, and the alpine meadows we hiked through were stunning.
While I’m by no means a ‘botanical illustrator’, I had lots of fun doing these watercolour sketches in my Travel Journal.
There is general agreement that the smells that surround us create some of the most vivid and lasting memories. Recording those moments will help ensure the strength of those memories too.
Think about the aromas that rose off the dinner you were invited to by some local folks on your travels. That warm seaside breeze has a feel….but it almost certainly has a scent to it as well.
All of these parts of your travels combine into a mix that makes your life richer. And you can embed them even more deeply in your life by taking a moment to record them in your Travel Journal.
Indulge me for a moment…..imagine 30 years from now and one of your children or grandchildren is reading through your Travel Journal with you. Your memories of those times will be clearer - and you will be showing them the value of taking a moment for themselves - that’s an important life-lesson to impart to anyone it seems to me. These are moments to indulge in your senses that demonstrate your keen sense of perception, your thoughtful insights, and your human values as you record what is important to you.
Part of the ‘soundscape’ on this day was the distinct and glass-like ‘tink’ when you tapped these ceramic adobe roof tiles after they were fired.
This may sound a bit grandiose.
What it is, is a reflection of your strength of character. Noticing the Landscapes and Soundscapes and Smellscapes around you on your travels only takes a moment. And you will never regret taking that moment for yourself. Those moments you take will inspire your children and grandchildren - now how rich a legacy is that eh!
Part of the rolling hillside in the Okanagan region are especially distinct when they are covered by the symmetric rows of thriving vineyards.
As a professionally trained geographer, I really want to encourage you to think beyond ‘Landscape’! You’ll be the richer person for it.
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’!