“One Special Summer” – The Travel Journal of Jacqueline & Lee Bouvier

I love delving into travel journals -

My travel journals, your travel journals (if you’ll let me take a peek!), or in this case… a published travel journal -

The Travel Journal of Jacqueline & Lee Bouvier

Jacqueline Bouvier -
the future Jackie Kennedy Onnasis
and her sister Lee’s travel journal from 1951 in Europe.

Travel Journal of Jacueline and Lee Bouvier

One Special Summer

In 1951 Jackie, aged 22, had already spent a year in France and her younger sister Lee, aged 18, was itching to join her having been “filled with curiosity and a longing to see everything [Jackie] had been writing” home about -

But, their “mother was extremely apprehensive about letting her daughters go alone on such a venture”.

However, after much persuasion on how carefully Jackie would take care of her charge -

They were off.

Travel Journal of Jackie and Lee Bouvier

This travel journal – One Special Summer – was created by the pair as a thank you gift to their mother and step-father for allowing them to take off on such an adventure.

Knowing how their mother (like most mothers) would appreciate something they’d created by hand over anything they could possibly have bought for her, they split the job of recording the trip -

One Special Summer Illustration


Jackie oversaw all the artistic renditions, the poetry and the parts on Rome and Spain.


Travel Journal by Jackie Kennedy Onnassis


While Lee wrote the descriptions for most of their adventures.


Jacqueline Bouvier Coloured Illustration


The combined result is positively charming - conveying the tales of how two girls experienced their first overseas trip together -

As Lee says in the introduction:

“I couldn’t imagine anything that could be more fun than a trip with Jackie, since we both were absolutely psychic about laughter and had the same sense of the ridiculous”. 

Feeling Small One Special Summer by Jackie Onnassis


“We did this book in a state of joy and laughter, which was our mood throughout the trip”


One Special Summer Journal Extract

Travel Journals are Like Cook Books

I sometimes think travel journals are like cooking – Its not just the fun to be had in the kitchen creating the dishes -

Its the enjoyment you get from devouring what you’ve made, later!

And so it is with creating a travel journal -

The real pleasure comes from devouring your travel journal’s contents years later.


Official meetings One Special Summer

I love the way Jackie captures how small they felt at times, such as in the illustration above when they had an official engagement to meet with the American Ambassador in Spain.

It also perfectly illustrates how a simple cartoon’y sketch can be oh so much more expressive than words alone. 

And how by utilizing more than a single method of communication one is given a far richer picture of the whole experience -

So, next time you’re in the travel journal ‘kitchen’, think about mixing up a greater variety of ingredients – Like…

  • a splash of prose
  • a cup of poetry
  • a generous serve of diagrammatic cartoons
  • a dollop of sketches
  • decorated with a smattering of doodly typography

The end of the trip - 1951

  • Then leave it all to mellow and mature, (like a Christmas cake)…

And a few years later when you revisit it, you’ll savour the rich fruity frivolity of your fabled travelling tales.

Do you keep a travel journal when on the road?
What kind?

If not -
Having seen the fun that can be had from even someone else’s travel journal -
Do you wish you did?

Do tell in the comments below :)

And if you don’t want to miss my next blog update, simply enter your email below and I’ll give you a cooeee when it’s published ;)


The Serendipity of Travel & Where Serendipity Began – Sri Lanka

Serendipity and Travel go hand in hand

When I wrote a post a few years ago asking

What does Travel Mean to You?

I said:

“I love travel’s unexpected delights and the Serendipity of it” :)

Just as it’s inevitable that we encounter new places, new food and new people on our travels – It’s inevitable that we also encounter unexpected delights that cross our paths no matter how well structured our itinerary may be!
And when it comes down to it -

It’s the serendipity that makes the trip.
It’s the serendipitous encounters that are the most memorable.

But do you know where this wonderful word – Serendipity - originates?

Serendip is the Persian and Urdu name of Sri Lanka.
In 1557 ‘The Three Princes of Serendip’ was a fairytale published in Venice by Michele Tramezzino.

Three Princes

Nearly two hundred years later the prolific letter writer Horace Walpole (son of the first British Prime Minister Sir Robert Walpole) put pen to paper where he declared he’d made a heraldic discovery “of that kind which I call Serendipity”.
So, on 28th January 1754 the word ‘serendipity’ entered the English language for the very first time.

He explained that he’d derived the term from the fairytale as:

The Three Princes of Serendip
“were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things they were not in quest of”


It was not till the early 1900′s that the word ‘serendipity’ gained acceptance and could be found in dictionaries -

  • By 1958 the term ‘serendipity’ was found in print just 135 times -
  • Between 1958 and 2000 it was used in 57 book titles
  • In the 1990′s it appeared in newspapers 13,000 times
  • And by 2001 appeared on 636,000 Internet pages.
  • Today, when I put ‘serendipity’ into a search engine I got over 6 million references!

I think one can safely say that serendipity is now a part of our common everyday language!

Sri Lanka map named Sarandib

Map by Muhammad al-Idrisi, 1154 (facing south) showing Sri Lanka named Sarandib – Detail from The Tabula Rogeriana


I love John Barth’s use of the term in his book The Last Voyage of Somebody the Sailor (1991):

“You don’t reach Serendip by plotting a course for it. You have to set out in good faith for elsewhere and lose your bearings serendipitously.”


What serendipitous encounters have you enjoyed on your travels?
Do share in the comments below :)

If you don’t want to miss any of my blog posts simply enter your email below and I’ll give you a cooeee when it’s published ;)

The Laid Back Travel Journal Layout – How to Story-Map Your Day

This post forms part of my series How to Travel Journal Like a Mapmaker

In the previous three posts about creating story-maps I’ve covered:

  • How to Make the Most of Line Types to Express Your Travels
  • How to Create the Illusion of Movement with Arrows
  • And the Use of Pictogram Symbols  for pictorially communicating your trips

Now, how to pull it all together in a travel journal layout..

Where exactly on the page do you start?

Travel Journal Layout 

Now, I could say – Start anywhere. As really anywhere or anyway will work just fine -

But, I know from experience it can feel quite daunting staring down at a big blank journal and like a rabbit caught in the headlights – the white of the page freezes you.

You really don’t know where to begin!

There are a variety of ways to tackle this, but as the most important thing is quite simply to start somewhere, lets look at just three methods to get the ball rolling:-

  1. Start in the middle and work out.
  2. Start at the top and like reading a book work across and snake back
  3. Or if you travelled during the day, replicate the compass directions you took and position yourself on the page as per a map.

Now, grab a scrap of paper and as you read each of these three examples expanded upon below, give each method a go by story-mapping what you did – say, one day last week.

1. Mind Map the Day

Just like creating a mind map, start in the centre of the page and name the place where you woke up!
Branching out, use each of the four corners for a segment of the day - morning, midday, afternoon & evening and record the highlight that happened at that time.

If you can’t see the 20 second video slide show click here

Below is a fixed image of the five stages I’m suggesting – although if more events happened you can always add in more!

Mind Mapping the Day

To give the above template some life, below is a simple example of what I did last Friday, when I went up to the city to meet up with a friend and then went to the Gallery of Modern Art!

Mind mapping the day into a story map

2. Snake Your Way Through the Day

Snaking your way through the day can be a good way to create a story map where you either don’t want to feature a central pivot point or, where you start the day in one place and after a variety of experiences you end up somewhere else by nightfall.

Snaking the way through a day to create a story map


Adding arrows between each experience will connect your pictogram symbols and/or written notes so the day will visually flow from start to finish and your story will be mapped before you’ve even realized what happened!

3. Mapping the Day into a Story-Map

I love incorporating a rough geographic layout into my story-maps.
Particularly if the day has involved some travelling.

This does not mean to say they’re accurate renditions that are to scale in any shape or form – they’re more of a mud-map! But if for example I headed north I’d lay out the events of the day starting at the bottom of the page and heading northwards to the top!

If you can’t see the 30second video click here

For the basic background layout information I pick up local tourist brochures en route, which nearly always have a simplified location map incorporated in them -
Using these as a template I copy where the main features of the region we’re visiting should sit on the page.

I start off by lightly pencilling these features in -
On this travel journal layout, we had had a fairly uneventful drive of about 100 km (60 miles) to get to the Cahills Crossing area on the edge of Arnhem land in Kakadu National Park where we spent the day exploring. I therefore focussed the story map on that section of the day adding a line of text along the bottom of the road as it came onto the page (bottom left) giving the details of where we had come from.

Showing how to create a story map

Lightly pencil first, solidify with ink, add some coloured dots and arrows, and to link some written details – incorporate a number system

I use pencil initially so I can erase it if my sense of scale is so way off I find myself going off the edge of the page before I’ve fitted in all that I want to include – and need to start again!
Once I’m happy with the rough layout, I go over it solidifying the lines with pen.

I talked about varying the line types in a previous post -
In this story map I used:

  • solid double lines for the roads – I don’t worry about keeping the double lines exactly parallel as I feel their varying width adds a sense of movement.
  • dotted lines in red to show the route we took – which I put inside the roads.
  • dashed lines for sections we walked.

I used red arrows alongside the road to show the direction we travelled and to indicate the order in which we visited the sites.

And incorporated some pictogram symbols to show:

  • where we set up camp (a little tent @ 1)
  • walked through a lost city like rock formation (rocks @ 2) 
  • stopped off at Cahills Crossing (crocodile @ 3)
  • walked through some rainforest (palm tree @ 4)
  • stopped at the Border Store (house symbol @ 5) and
  • had lunch (plate of Thai vegetables)
  • climbed triumphantly (stick man @ 6) to the top of Ubirr rock -

Story Map from my travel journal when at Kakadu, Australia

Because there was more detail that I wanted to record than would fit in the cramped space on the map I used a number system -
By adding numerals to the actual location on the story map, I was able to then create a numerical list down the side writing alongside them the relevant extra information I didn’t want to forget.


So, did you try laying out a story map of a day (or two) from last week?

How did you go?

Was it easier or harder than you thought?

Or, are you still feeling flummoxed?
What is holding you back?

I’d love your feedback in the comments below :)


I love the word ‘serendipity’ and was fascinated to discover it originates from the Persian name for Sri Lanka – Serendip…

Want to know more? Then enter your email below and I’ll give you a cooeee when it’s published ;)

And then we’ll take a look into the travel journal of Jacqueline Bouvier – later to become Jackie Kennedy Onassis – when she travelled to Europe with her younger sister back in 1951 – ‘One Special Summer’.