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Writing a Travel Journal

Writing a Travel Journal

| Julia Gibbs

Why should you write a travel journal? Well the obvious answer is to make a record of your travels, to look back and evoke the nostalgia and memories of that time.  The sights and sounds, the visual prompts all take you back and you get to re-live a little part of that. No matter how good our memory, there’s nothing like reading about what you did on a particular day and seeing the postcards, photos & sketches, laid out together, rather than scrolling back through the years on your phone, without a written reference for guidance.

assorted sukie travel journals

But I would add, there’s another good reason – its therapeutic. Simply the act of writing, sketching, collecting and organising can be very beneficial for our mental health. It’s this reason that I have taken to journaling – to be honest, I’m not the kind of person that is going to be crafting a beautiful travel journal while I’m on the actual holiday– I have tried this and it doesn’t work for me.  But, what I can do, is make an effort to collect ephemera, take lots of photos, buy some postcards, and write a few lines everyday, ready to organise into something more beautiful and tangible on my return.

Whichever way works best for you, here are some ideas and tips to keep you going..

open travel journal with glassine pockets full of collected items

Start with an inspiring notebook! Even though I don’t actually fill my journal while I’m away, I do like to carry it with me – as I like to use it to store things I’ve found and think might be of interest. Somehow, taking it with me keeps the journaling in mind! Obviously, I take one of our Travel Journals, which are perfect for the job as they come with assorted pages as well as kraft envelopes and glassine pockets for storing things.

sunshine camper travel journal

I would also suggest investing in a protective book wrap which will give your journal some extra protection. Once you are home, you can always remove it and re-use on your next journal.

writing on the first page of the travel journal

What kind of journaler are you?

I like to make my journal very tactile, and fill it with a mix of ephemera, postcards and stuck in items, with a few drawings and written paragraphs here and there.  I am the kind of person who is overwhelmed by a blank page, so I find it easier to take 5 minutes a day writing some sentences on my laptop (or a piece of paper) – that I will re-write into the journal when I get home. I can also loosely plan the look of my journal in my head, and enjoy the therapeutic process of putting it altogether in my own time.

open travel journal with writing and ephemera

Maybe you are a writer and the words flow naturally and beautifully onto the page, in this case I bet you prefer to write directly into your book. Just remember to leave room for some images. In our travel journals we have some plain paper pages which are perfect for sticking in some photos or postcards (use some glue or washi tape) and the pockets are useful for stuffing with other memorabilia like train tickets, dinner receipts or even small maps or city guides. To make your journal more attractive, think about writing the date or title in different colours, or trying out script styles.

open travel journal with kraft pockers and postcards

If you’re an artist you can fill your journal with sketches and paintings.  I absolutely love this style of travel journal, but it definitely takes some dedication! If you are this person, you are already travelling with paints and pencils – I would also suggest taking some small bulldog clips to hold the pages open while you paint. Although our journals have a selection of papers, including quite a few lined pages, there is no reason that these can’t be drawn or painted over.  The different types of paper can add a unique feel to your book, so don’t be afraid to cover everything, including the envelopes.  Again, the envelopes and pockets are useful here for storing extra items that you might not want stuck inside the book next to your beautiful pictures – but will bring back memories and add to the book nevertheless. If you are not big on writing, I would suggest maybe writing out a few lines on a separate piece of paper that you can then handwrite or type and stick in at a later date. In this way, they can fit around your sketches, and add texture to the book.

open travel journal with painted landscape

Things to collect for your Travel Journal

Anything and everything! The more you collect, the better your journaling experience will be, you can never have too much stuff – this will allow you to edit if needed, and you will probably find a use for any leftovers in another journal at a later date. Some examples of things I collect:

Plane tickets, luggage tags, rail/ bus tickets, postcards, paper bags (European patisserie bags are particularly pretty!), paper coasters & napkins, restaurant and bar receipts, unusual food labels and packaging (try and steam off labels if you can!), sugar cube wraps, museum tickets, unusual bank notes (low value preferable!), maps, street plans & guides, pressed flowers and leaves, dried pressed seaweed, textured rubbings (eg tree bark, manhole cover ),stickers.

ephemera flatlay

So, next time you are thinking of taking a trip, why not consider taking a travel journal along with you? Give it a go, find your own style of journaling and above all – have fun!

See our full range of Travel Journals HERE

Take a look at our Pinterest page to see some inspiring travel journal ideas HERE



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