Thursday, 27 July 2017

Travelling with a diary

As promised I'm back again today to give you my take on what it's like to travel for six weeks and keep up with diary entries without it becoming a chore. It's a little lengthy so I would suggest that you grab some sustenance to get you through.

I always take a journal along with me on all of our "big" trips and like most people I would start off with lots of enthusiasm and write every little detail down. However by around the third or fourth day of doing this it would become burdensome and boring and I would return home with only a few pages of monotonous dribble. Sound familiar?

When we were planning our six week overseas trip I was determined to find a way of writing in my Journal every day that would be less time-consuming but enjoyable. I came to the conclusion that I would need help with deciding on how I was going to keep up the momentum and in what format I would achieve my goal. Pinterest is a fantastic help with ideas on what type of journal I wanted to use and tips on creativity. You can read about what I eventually decided on and the prep work in an earlier post HERE.

During my search for a travel journal Guru who could show me the way, I happend upon this interesting book by Dave Fox. He shares some great examples on how he writes in his Journals and
gives the reader several writing exercises to do before you get started. I found his advice very helpful and tried to keep in mind what I had learnt from him during our trip.

The other thing I did was to make sure that I purchased a postcard every day (not to post but to keep for myself). Now you may think that this is extreme but I had two good reasons for doing this. Firstly if my journalling motivation failed or I got behind by a few days, then the postcards would be a reminder of what we did on that particular day. Secondly, I use Project Life/Pocket Pages to record all our travel photos when I return home and writing on a postcard everyday, or every other day, meant that my journalling for this album would be done already. All I had to do was pop the postcard into the relevant pocket next to my photos and job done!  Having said that, surprisingly there were a few small villages we visited that, despite the tourists, didn't sell postcards...go figure! These were rare though and as you can see I accumulated quite a stash.

I would write on these every day without fail, no matter where we were (hence the shonky handwriting). I'm so glad that I did because I did get behind on several occasions with the entries in my travel journal and I used these to catch up.

I decided that early mornings were best for me to journal, mainly because I'm an early-riser and my mind is sharper in the mornings than at the end of a long day of sightseeing and/or a date with a cheeky French wine. So I would sit somewhere quiet before breakfast and jot down the previous day's activities, but only the ones that were a standout or something that gave us the "wow" factor, or it could even be something trivial that gave me a strong emotion. I could quickly print off a photo or two that I'd snapped with my phone (usually selfies) using the little whizz-bang HP Sprocket, add a few mementos or embellishments that I had collected and it was done. Some days I'd spend longer on the page, depending on what plans we had for the day ahead.

As you can see it became a little bulky...

There were days when I went a tad overboard with my writing and probably added too much detail but on the whole I was pleased that I used only one page per day. The only two-page spreads I used were for the days at The Somme and the Normandy D-Day Landing sites, which gave me so many emotions that I couldn't do these places justice in just one page. Occasionally I journalled about several places that we visited in one day hence having to use two pages, but these were very few.

Every now and then I would just add an envelope or a bag to pop in our tickets or memorabilia. This is better than my old way of throwing our collection into a bag and trying to sort through it all when we arrived home. Thanks Lizzy Hill for gifting me the lovely bits and piecs on this page! xx

I found some great kraft envelopes before I left that fitted the pages in the journal perfectly. I cut off the end to slip stuff into it so I didn't have to keep untying the string. I didn't take any glue as such with me just a small glue pen, a small roll of double-sided tape and a few rolls of washi tape.

This is one of my two-page spreads. There was so much going on in my head this day and so many emotions that I just kept writing. I even ended up writing on a tag and placing it just inside the envelope along with some information that I'd picked up at the Villers-Bretonneux Australian War Museum.

I was really surprised and delighted that by the end of the third week my journalling was still going strong and more importantly I was enjoying it. I do tend to get a bit "antsy" when I go for too long without some type of creativity, so this was keeping my "crazy" at bay. I really love this little bag that came with a postcard that I purchased. How did they know it was the perfect size for my journal!! :D

I thought I would run out of pages before the end of our trip so I started adding extra pages and little flip tags etc.

The photo on the left (below) is a A5 size piece of paper that I wrote on the front and on the back added a photo and memorabilia. I took an itzy-bitzy, tiny stapler with me which turned out to be a game-changer as far as keeping these extra pages in place goes.

Also on Pinterest there are same great ideas on doodling. I won't bore you any longer with every page but this is the last few pages that I did when we returned home. It's always good, after a few weeks, to jot down your thoughts and things that you may have learnt from your experiences. I wrote a page about all the Highlights (and there were many!) in a dot-point style.

I've had these wonderful quotes from Pinterest stored away just waiting to be added at the end. I think they sum things up pretty well. I'm sorry but I have no idea who wrote these.

On the very last page I wrote my thoughts, six weeks after our return, jotting down what I would have done differently and what it was like sorting through the 1800 photos that I managed to take...gulp! This is the back inside cover.

The result is that you absolutely can travel, having wonderfully huge days of being on the go and still write about your amazing experiences at the end of the day. It doesn't have to be every little detail but just the ones that took your breath away, something brilliant that you ate or drank, something that someone said to you or made you laugh out loud. Of course you can add the where and when of it but keeping those details brief is the key. There will be a few things that I will change in my next Travel Journal but overall this system worked for me. It will be lots of fun reading this five or ten years from now. I'll probably cringe but at least its recorded and it will help me when it comes time to put together our photo album.

I hope you enjoyed these little tips. I enjoyed this process so much that I'll be creating another one for a trip to Myanmar at the end of the year. A trip that will not only take me way out of my comfort zone but an adventure that has significant meaning for me with a very special person in my life. So stay tuned for the next Travel Journal instalment.

1 comment:

  1. Wow Jo all your research paid off. This looks like a brilliant way to document travel. The postcard tip is a good one. Look forward to seeing this IRL and hearing all about your trip in October x