Write a Travel Diary!

Two of my diaries from 2011.
Two of my diaries from 2011.

When I first set out on my first independent trip, last century in 1999, I had seven months of travel ahead of me and I wanted to remember what I had done and where I had been. Simplest way? Write a travel diary! So I bought a nice big black hard cover book with lines with the intention of recording something each day.

I started in Thailand, but although my travels began with a bang, my diary didn’t so much. I initially didn’t plan to write all that much, just jot down a few things here and there, but to be honest if I wrote a paragraph, I was doing well. Soon, I was days if not weeks behind and had to catch up and rely on my memory which is not always 100% reliable. I know I forgot a lot of stuff that I did.

I moved on and had a month in India. Again, the writing involved big sessions trying to catch up with the last week or two, it wasn’t very in depth and despite possessing a couple of four-coloured pens, it didn’t look particularly inviting. Then, on my last night in India before heading off to Europe, I met a girl at the Ringo Guesthouse who was writing her diary as I was writing mine.

Fold out maps are a good idea.
Fold out maps are a good idea.

It was beautiful. She wrote religiously every day, detailed, and she stuck so many things in her diary such as tickets and pamphlets. ‘YES!’ I thought, ‘that’s the way to do it!’ And from there, I slowly became an avid diary writer whilst travelling. I followed her example and I stick tickets, pamphlets, money and more into my diary to make them look interesting, although they are actually private diaries.

Money from China
Money from China

It’s great because I can recall the little things that are easily forgotten when I read my diaries, and all the things I collect that can be stuck in, are, and they don’t get lost or just end up thrown out in the end. I since added stamps and postcards into the mix – postcards are great in places where the tickets are drab or non-existent, and they are usually very cheap any way.

diary3

Since 1999 I have kept a travel diary religiously every time I’ve travelled. It’s one of the most important things I think I do when I am travelling. It’s great to have notes about what I did and saw, the people I met, the places I stayed. It’s also great because it allowed me to develop my writing too. There have been two major problems though stemming from this.

Tickets are great, even better when colour!
Tickets are great, even better when colour!

Firstly, on a long trip I go through diaries pretty fast, and with coins and postcards and more inside, they tend to become pretty heavy and I have to post them home. Secondly, the more I write, the more I want to write. In 1999 my entries were 1-2 A4 pages, in 2011, my last big trip, I averaged over 4 A4 pages of writing, which is great but also time-consuming. That’s on average 4 pages plus a day of writing, that’s an hour spent on the diary. And even three days behind and I am in major trouble at that rate!

Another thing I try to include is a beer label from each country.
Another thing I try to include is a beer label from each country.

But I get to express how I feel as well as the other things I mentioned. It’s a really worthwhile thing to do if you like writing. And I think it’s the perfect way to hold on to your tickets, postcards, money, stamps and whatnot. What do you think? Do you write a travel diary, and if you do, what goes inside? Please do comment! I’m keen to know!

Inside the front cover. Can you guess most of this diary was when I was in the UK?
Inside the front cover. Can you guess most of this diary was when I was in the UK?

Take care everyone and tomorrow (Saturday) I’ll be reviewing the experience of working with Interac in Japan! Until then, may the journey never end!

7 Comments

  1. wow, this is some serious work, not for a lazy ass like myself. Your journals look amazing. I can’t imagine how much fun it must be to go back and read them later. If you don’t mind my asking, how many diaries do you have by now?

  2. I have always started travel journals with such enthusiasm, but never seemed to complete them…your journals look amazing!

    1. I always found a point where I get ‘over it’ while traveling. I have to push through it, it might last a week or two, but then my enthusiasm returns. However, the first trip I did, over seven months, I did give up with like 1/2 weeks to go! I resolved the next time not to let that happen. Thanks for reading! 🙂

  3. Wow thats an awesome way of collecting memories…and writing them down so it stays with u forever.. wish i had even half of ur patience n dedication to do that. Loved the pictures.

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