What’s In It For Me? (the benefits of keeping a Travel Journal)
Embarking on any kind of travel, whether it's a weekend getaway or a month-long adventure, can be an exhilarating experience. Certainly, creating unforgettable memories is an inherent part of traveling, and capturing those special moments and quiet reflections in a Travel Journal can add a whole new and unexpected dimension to your adventures.
Beyond simply jotting down your itinerary, keeping a Journal offers so many benefits that go well beyond the duration of your trip. Let me give you a few of the benefits of keeping a travel journal, from enhancing your memory to nurturing personal growth.
Going somewhere warm away from the often cold Canadian winters gives a perfect opportunity to see and do so many new things.
Reliving Your Memories In All Their Richness
As time passes, memories tend to fade, and details can become blurry. A travel journal, in fact, acts as a kind of time capsule, capturing your experiences, emotions, and observations in vivid detail.
When you flip through its pages, you'll be transported back to those remarkable moments, reviving the sights, sounds, and scents of your epic journey. Your Journal becomes a treasured keepsake that helps you relive cherished memories by reigniting the joy and excitement you felt during your travels. It allows you to share your adventures with loved ones and future generations, making it a valuable heirloom that can be passed down. Imagine having a Travel Journal from one of your great Grandparents or a Great Aunt or Uncle when they sailed to their new homeland!
You can write in a narrative format or in point-form….it’s all up to you because it’s your Journal and there are no Travel Journal Police! :-)
Travel Forces Us To Grow
Traveling often provides unique opportunities for self-discovery and personal growth. By keeping a Travel Journal, you have a private space to reflect on those experiences, thoughts, and emotions.
Writing about your encounters with new people, reflecting on cultural discoveries, and capturing personal milestones can deepen your understanding of yourself and the world around you. As you process your experiences through your journaling, you gain insights into your values, beliefs, and aspirations. This self-reflection is vital to fostering personal growth, enabling you to return home with a clearer sense of self, with new perspectives, and with a heightened appreciation for life's intricacies.
This was one of those ‘growing’ experiences for me on a 2-week paddle trip down parts of the Yellowstone River in Montana. This is one of the photos that came out in the newspaper - The Laurel Outlook. Yes, that’s me in the bow riding some of the biggest waves I’d paddle through in one of those big and open 26’ voyageur canoes. You bet it’s recorded in my Journal! Photo - Chris McConnell
Building Your Writing Skills (and style)
If you think about it, you’ve been writing pretty much your whole life – letters, emails, reports etc. Travel journaling provides an excellent platform for honing your writing skills and building your own writing style. The simple act of writing helps you learn to articulate your thoughts and experiences in a coherent and engaging manner.
Capturing the essence of a place or describing the people you meet can challenge your creativity and expand your vocabulary. Perhaps most fun (and interesting), you'll begin to discover your personal and unique writing style as you experiment with different techniques, from storytelling and descriptive passages to poetic expressions and succinct bullet entries. Over time, this practice will not only enhance your ability to convey your experiences effectively – it will also improve your overall writing proficiency, benefiting so many other areas of your life.
You will soon find that your 4th Journal is way better than your 1st Journal and that’s because the more you keep a Journal, the better you’ll get at it. Your writing skills will be better, your language will be more descriptive, your sketches will be better. It’s all about the practice.
Stronger Observational Skills
When you embark on a journey, your senses tend to come alive as you immerse yourself in new environments and cultural settings. Keeping a Travel Journal encourages and entices you to sharpen your observational skills.
By consciously paying attention to the details, you can’t help but start to notice nuances in landscapes, architecture, local customs, and interactions with people. Writing about these observations helps you appreciate the nuances of different cultures and cultivates a deeper understanding of the world's diversity.
When you travel, everything is on the table as far as things to write. Be the open-minded person you want to be and write accordingly. You will love yourself for it! :-) <3
As you become more attuned to your travel surroundings, you'll find yourself discovering hidden gems and uncovering stories that might have otherwise gone unnoticed. These enhanced observational skills can certainly enrich your travel experiences – and even more important, they often carry over into your daily life, allowing you to find beauty and fascination in the ordinary.
Planning And Preparation
A travel journal is not only a tool for documenting your adventures but can also serve as a valuable resource for future trips. As you record your itinerary, highlights, and lessons learned, you create a kind of a reference guide that can help in planning and preparation for subsequent journeys.
Reviewing your past experiences, you can refine your travel plans, make more informed decisions, and avoid repeating any mistakes. Additionally, your Journal may contain valuable tips, recommendations, and contacts you made along the way, serving as a personal travel archive. It becomes a trusted companion.
The Big Island of Hawaii gave me lots of time to pause and reflect.
These are just a few of the wonderful benefits you get when you start keeping a travel Journal. That simple exercise will also:
- Nurture your creative spirit
- Leave a legacy of who you are
- Help you capture more memories (and keep them clearer for longer)
There are also lots more Tips and Tricks in my Facebook Group - Travel Journal 101. Please join in and have a great time on your next travel adventure.
There is also a YouTube Channel at Travel Journal 101. There you’ll find lots of short and simple video tutorials on how to do sketches and small watercolour vignettes in your Journal.
Please don’t hesitate to DM me if you have questions about how to start your very own Travel Journal.
My Yukon River adventure Journal is filled with the epic times on the water and in the wilderness.
Fill your Journal too!