I don’t know about you, but whenever I travel, I’m determined to document my adventures no matter how short the trip. Yet, again and again, I struggle to sit down and do it while I’m still on the road, not knowing how to document everything. Often enough, I end up writing down what I did each day in bullet points when I’m already back home and add some sketch and photo here and there.
‘But Maria, there are countless travel journal promts out there’ you now might say. I know and I think I’ve read most of them (well it certainly feels like it). Some I’ve even noted down on the last page of my travel journals as an inspiration. However, most travel writing prompts are so vague and so generic that they are of no real use. Sorry if I sound mean, but a prompt like “you are an adventurer of old, write down what you see” and “tell something about a travel experience so far” are useless. If I knew how to document my adventures in an interesting way, as if I were an explorer of the past centuries, I wouldn’t be looking for travel prompts on pinterest.
While I was preparing my blog post ‘New Zealand Travel Journal Flip Through‘, I realized that I’ve developed several travel journalling habits that might be inpiring prompts to some. So of course, I had to share them with you!
1.Spend a day without taking any photos at all. Instead, sketch everything.
Nowadays, almost everyone is glued to their smartphone, taking countless photos of the most mundane things (I know I’m guilty of this too). So we end up drowning in one snapshot after another by the time we return home, only to never look at most of them ever again. Most snapshots we take are just that – snapshots. No thoughts were put into why we want to immortalize that moment, event, or object. More than often, we end up taking photos of things that resemble counless other photos on the internet and still have this feeling as if we missed something. By spending a day without taking any photos and sketching everything instead, we are more likely to put thought into what we want to immortalize. Whether you’re drawing elaborate water colour paintings or just sketch pictograms, try to capture your day without taking any photos.
2.Take one photo (or drawing) a day of the ground.
When you’re new to a place, all those new impressions, smells, and people can be overwhelming so we end up neglecting those tiny details that make a place special. We rush from one place to another, barely noticing anything on the way. So in order to stop and notice, focus on aspects you tend to ignore. One area we ignore, even though we use it every day, all day, is the ground. Not every pavement is the same so next time you’re travelling, take a photo (or drawing) a day of the ground and your feet. Over time, you’ll have a fascinatiing collection. My complete ‘London ground’ collection can be viewed in my blog post Footsteps’, but here are two examples:
3.Draw a map of your way to something.
Do you tend to go a certain route over and over again, or is there a place you were longing to visit for ages? Try to sketch your route from your hotel or hostel to your destination. Don’t worry that your map won’t be true to scale. Thats why there are actaual maps for. Try to focus on places on your road that caught your attention. Create your very own map however obscure it might end up being. If you don’t like drawing, try to create a photo map of your route and put it into a collage when you’re home.
4.Focus on a certain colour a day.
Another way to train yourself to notice the unique little aspects that make a place special is to focus on a colour scheme. You like the colour blue? Then try to capture only blue items for a day. You might be surprised how challenging yet fascinating that can be and no that does not mean that you only take photos of the sky. Here are some of my photos of blue things which can be also seen in my photo post ‘Inspiring Travels’:
5. Write a haiku
Instead of writing a lenghty journal entry of what your day was like and what you did, try to write one or several haiku instead. It is a fun way to break away from the usual (and often boring) “today I did this….and then we did that…” type of journalling. Also, it forces you to focus only on the things that truly impressed and mattered to you rather than going on and on about stuff you wouldn’t care about in a week from now. Not sure what the guidelines for a haiku are? Go and check out poets.org.
6. Get a postcard (or flyer, or any piece of paper memorbilia). Glue it to your journal and extend what can be found on your postcard.
Ok this is a bit hard to explain with words, so the best way to explain you what I mean is to simply show it.
It is a simple way to add some ‘pop’ to your written entries. There are really no boundaries of what you can add, the crazier the addition, the more fun it will be.
7. Floral Collection
Whether you actually collect leaves and flower petals or just sketch them into your travel journal is up to you, but either way, it is an intersting way to capture your journey. Especially when you’re in a region with a different flora and fauna from your home country/ region. Sure the more time you spend travelling in urban environments the less flora you encounter, but even the lack of flora can be noteworthy.
Ok, now I’d love to hear some feedback, do you think my tips are great? Maybe lousy? If you have any better travel journal prompts, help a fellow traveller by leaving a comment down below!