One of my biggest rules when travelling is that I make the effort to write. Yes write with my hands, a travel diary or journal. This rule has gone as far back as I can remember with my mum making me write diaries on family holidays. Although it seemed annoying then to write down everything I did and sometimes still now to write when there is so much I have seen and done and have so much to do but I have to sit down and write it all down in as much detail as I can bear in order to do my memory justice I still try my best to stick hard and fast to this rule.
Nowadays I also make the time to create a travel bullet journal that records all the important details about my travel itinerary. But I still have a dedicated travel diary to write down the memories.
Why bother with a travel diary?
Because it means that when I reach on to my bookshelf and I pull out a diary from when I was 7 years old or even just a few years younger it helps me to remember stuff. Stuff like what I did on that trip, the people I met, names of places, it jogs my own memory of how I felt and through the writing I remember the person I was and how far I’ve come. Now that might seem obvious, but of course I’ve grown up when I read the diary of when I went to Cyprus that’s filled with stories of me rescuing lizards that kept jumping in the pool, but my travel diaries are personal too. They’re not just an account of everything I did in a schedule fashion, I write down how I feel as well, the good and the bad.
Trying to keep up
It might seem like a hinderance, to have to sit down every day and write about what you’re doing, I know there are a lot of people who would just rather be doing it, and that’s cool, but even though it’s important to live in the now, I like to think I’ll be able to remember all this stuff, even the little things like seeing pigeons sit on cafe tables like they’re sat around gossiping over coffee, or small conversations I have with people. They help me remember how I felt on that trip.
And I admit, that I often fall behind with these diaries, it becomes like a spiral, the later you leave the entries, the harder it becomes to write stuff down, you’re weeks behind and the pressure to write stuff gets heavier, which probable explains why a fair few of these diaries of mine still remain unfinished despite my best intentions when I get home to try and finish them with my memory. But day to day life often gets in the way, and I’m usually anxious to get back into a routine that doesn’t usually allow for a lot of journal writing.
But in the moment when you’re actually travelling, particularly when you might be travelling alone, it’s nice to be able to sit down at a café in the sun, with your journal in front of you scribbling down your memories with a cup of coffee by your side. It’s a nice way that forces you to take a rest and reflect on what you’ve seen so far.
But although they can be annoying I still treasure each one. Sometimes I pick one out and turn to a page that describes something I hardly remember but within minutes memories come flooding back. They have pride of place and although they’re only going to accumulate over the years, I will always keep them and pass them down to my family. Maybe then they’ll be able to feel like they’ve travelled with me.