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  • Writer's pictureMallory Warner

Keeping up with your Travel Journal

I love to travel and explore, but I often find it difficult documenting my trips while remaining in the moment. For a blogger, this can be a bit of a problem. When I'm on the ground in a new, or even familiar place, the analytical side of my brain is unpacking the social, historical and spatial identity of where I am, while the creative part is taking in colors, smells and tastes.The best way I find to imprint this sensory overload is by keeping a travel journal. On some trips I may only jot down a few notes, on others I can fill an entire notebook. Here are some of the ways I keep a journal while traveling.

  • Find a favorite notebook and pen. This is an important step because the materials you use can help or hinder your ability to journal on the go. These small pads from Muji are now some of my favorites for their small size and transportability. I also keep a small pencil case with my favorite writing utensils that easily fits in my purse or backpack.

  • Carve out time to write. On a trip with a full itinerary, it often becomes difficult to find time to reflect, let alone write it all down. My favorite time to write is in the morning, as I'm getting ready to take on a new day. I am not only a morning person, but it's the time of day my brain is most active. As a solo traveler, it's easier to find time and a quiet place to write and reflect. When I'm traveling with my husband or with friends, I try to find moments in our schedule when we have our "me time" to journal. If the trip is a busy one, I try to jot some notes so I remember to come back and fill in the details later.

  • Save scraps as souvenirs. Never know where to put your used metro tickets or boarding passes? Keep the scraps of paper you collect along the way and add them to your journal. I love keeping these little pieces of my day to remember where I've been. I've added stickers, used different colors, and anything that really takes me back to the moment and the memories of that time.

  • Doodle what you see. I am no artist but I try my best to draw little scenes and sketches of my encounters alongside my writing. It taps into another part of my creative brain (as well as pushes my creative comfort zone). It doesn't have to be perfect, or even recognizable, it's just there for me.

In the end, your travel journal is for you and your memories, so make it personal. Sometimes I get caught up in writing out my itinerary for the day. I pause and think about what stands out, what were my impressions and what mark did these experiences leave on me? These become the meaningful stories I bring back and continue to think about long after I have returned home.

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