Journaling on Vacation
By George Barnett
You can take plenty of photographs on your vacation, even digital video is fairly easy, but those things won't help you record the little incidents that give meaning to your vacation. That is why keeping a travel journal is so helpful. The journal of your vacation is the place to keep notes of the small things that give color to your trip. It is also the place to keep the details of the big things that make a vacation memorable.
If you don't usually keep a journal, that's okay. There is just one rule in journaling: it's your journal and nothing else matters. It isn't necessary to go into great detail if your don't want to. You shouldn't worry about your spelling or grammar. The important thing is to record those things that will trigger the memories of the vacation.
For example, what did you feel like when you found out that the gentleman who gave you directions in Washington, DC was the Ambassador from France. You discovered that when you saw him being interviewed on the national news. The photograph of the outdoor food court in Singapore was nice, but what did the place smell like; what kind of food did you try and what was it like; and how did the other patrons react to seeing an American tourist away from the usual tourist places. That is the kind of experience that everyone has at one time or another, but only those people who keep a travel journal will be able to savor the memory long after the trip is over.
Keeping a journal can also be a learning experience. The longer you keep the journal the more you will find yourself mentally noting the small things that should be recorded. A young girl's eyes when she first sees the Grand Canyon can only be properly described by a parent who keeps a journal. The teen age boy, who considers himself too cool to be seen with his parents even on vacation, can't stop talking to you about his first ride on the Powell Street cable car in San Francisco. There is no way to keep that memory except in your travel journal.
It is your journal and that allows you to keep your thoughts on all of the things that are important just to you. Your mother-in-law met your father-in-law in New York City fifty years ago. They always meant to go back, but something always came up. He has since passed away, and now you are taking her back to the Big Apple for the first time in half a century. While you are there you ask her about her memories and what it was like to be young and falling in love in New York City. Those are the things that go into a journal.
Having the proper tools is important, of course. The journal can be just a few scraps of paper, but those are likely to get lost. A book of blank pages designed specifically as a journal is the best way to go. You should look for the kind of book that you feel comfortable carrying and using. And you should look for a journal that can be used for many trips and will last for many years. After all, this is likely to be the book that you go back to to regain the warmth of that trip that meant so much to you. When the children are grown and the grand parents have passed away, it will be your journal, chosen so carefully today, that will be there to remind you of the good times and the not-so-good times.
A vacation is a set of shared experiences between friends and family members. You may find that the memories of those experiences are quite different among the people who were there. A travel journal is an excellent pre-vacation gift for everyone who travels.
Now that you have a journal be sure to have it with you at all times. Perhaps place the journal with your camera so that, just like the photographs you should be taking, you will have your journal handy to record the memories in a different way. Keeping a journal in a pocket or purse is always a good idea. Once again, just like your camera, a journal is only good as long as you use it. So keep your vacation handy while you are traveling and be sure to record all of the events and activities that make up a vacation.
George Barnett is a frequent traveler and he keeps several journals. He has collected much of his travel knowledge at FamilyTravelHelp.com.
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Views expressed in the article are those of the author and are not necessarily the opinions of CaribbeanChoice, its staff or members.