Very fresh wolf tracks along the banks of the MacKenzie River near our campsite.
Wildlife In Your Travel Journal
Isn’t it true that some of our most memorable travel experiences involve wildlife.
As we camped along the shores of the MacKenzie River, this porcupine waddled to the river, swam about for a few minutes and then waddled back into the scrub that flanked the riverbank.
Certainly that’s the case if your able to take in something like a Safari where the entire purpose of the trip is to capture the experience of seeing creatures that most of us only see in photos or on television. In cases like this, your Travel Journal would almost certainly be filled with some pretty exotic descriptions and photos and sketches and more.
Imagine the entries you could write - the smell of that herd of elephants as you sat patiently for them to pass nearby, or the deafening sound of the flocks of birds that suddenly rose from the savannah around you, or the first sight of giraffes or hippos or lions or any number of ‘beasts’ that you’ve thought about since childhood.
There is so much more to wildlife, however, and so many more ways to capture their place in your travels.
This lone White Pelican was our introduction to what would be huge flocks of them as we paddled with the current down the MacKenzie River.
This flock cut and wheeled low over the MacKenzie River, and at every turn there was a flash of white….a spectacular scene.
I remember, when we paddled down the MacKenzie River in the Canadian Arctic, seeing wolf tracks on our first night’s camp out on the shores of the river. Now, that was memorable as all of us kept looking around from time to time wondering if we’d catch a glimpse of the wolf….or maybe it was wolves in the plural. Either way, that memory is captured in detail in my Travel Journal - along with a sketch of the Wolf track.
Part of my Travel Journal Art was to make that wolf track into a postage stamp.
There are similar descriptions from that first night’s camp too - of seeing White Pelicans for the first time in the wild as they bobbed just off the shoreline, or seeing a flashing white flock of Arctic Terns as they banked in flight across our campsite. I’d never seen either of these birds in the wild!
Two days later at another campsite, one of our crew caught a couple of small Pike. Another first for me - I’d never seen a Pike before. And I can’t tell you how tasty it was mixed in with the evening’s stew! Yum!
We packed all of our own dried food for the month-long paddle trip down the MacKenzie River, so it was a real treat to add something fresh to the evening’s stew!
If you’re a ‘birder’, then your Travel Journal is an ideal place to begin your list. On one hand, you can keep a simple running tab on the birds you see along the way. On the other hand, your Travel Journal is a perfect place to write something more about the experience - about the setting, the weather conditions, your travel companions, and more.
There is always the wildlife you don’t see too, isn’t there.
On a 2-week paddle trip along the Yellowstone River in Montana we took a break and toured an archaeological site on one of the Reservations. It was a wonderful tour - and it started with a VERY visible sign. A sign that reminded all visitors of wildlife in the area - most particularly ….Rattlesnakes. Thankfully, we didn’t see any, but it did keep everyone sharp along the trails.
This is what I refer to as ‘wildlife you don’t see’… :-)
Now, I like to think that I’m as brave as the next guy…..but you couldn’t pay me to get into one of those small boats in downtown Zihuatanejo, Mexico and go 20 miles off shore and out of sight of land to fish. It just wouldn’t happen!
Catching a Needlefish off Ixtapa Island, Mexico.
Another of the day’s catch off Ixtapa Island, Mexico.
Alternately, I had an incredible time with my sister and brother-in-law on a day-long ‘in-shore’ fishing trip. We spent the day in the sun off Ixtapa Island and brought to shore half a dozen tasty looking fish that our guide said would make a perfect meal…..a 3 foot long Needle Fish and a few small silver coloured fish that looked a lot like small tuna. The thrill of all of that is now recorded in my Travel Journal - including the tasty meal that a local restaurant cooked up for us that evening.
Enjoying the Needlefish we’d caught earlier in the day. Yum!
Whether its wildlife you see on a regular basis, or something completely new to your world, capturing what you saw and how you felt about that wildlife can make for rich entires is every Travel Journal.
Beautiful little beachside visitor…..
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 to help you with your Travel Journal ‘content’!
Brought to you by Wayne Wilson at www.newtraveljournal.com