Do you write, draw or collect in your Travel Journal?

I’ve just unearthed some of my old travel journals during one of those sorting-clearing spring-cleaning sessions.

A travel journal from one of my earliest trips through south-east Asia, and another from a more recent visit to France have re-surfaced, which between them span many miles of travel over many years. Viewing them side by side the development of my journalling journey is clearly evident. That passing of time allowing for the exploration and discovery into how best to express and convey what I was experiencing then, for the fun of future reminiscing.

travel journalFrom one of my earliest journals on a trip overland from Australia to Europe the two-page spread above recalls, just in words, our venturing north of Chang Mai, Thailand to explore the Mae Kok River.

We’d taken a bus up to Thaton on the Burmese/Laos borders and boarded a long low boat to take us down the Mae Kok River. Along the way we had got into a charade type conversation with a young male Thai who it developed was a teacher of the Thai language to the hill tribes in the region. He offered to take us to the village he had just been assigned to teach, and as it turned out we spent the night in what was to be his first night too in a new house they had constructed for him from bamboo.

travel journal

I asked him to write the name of the village in my journal (as you can see above). While I obviously asked him to write it for me as I had no idea how to spell what he was saying, it’s a great trick getting other people to fill in the details of your trip as today, when I hold the journal in my hands, its an amazing feeling still having this connection with him through his handwriting!

The extract below is from a travel journal I kept when visiting France in more recent times.

Travel Journal from the south of France

A few doodle type sketches can help convey any scene so much better than words alone.

They don’t have to be picture perfect, as they’re not for public scrutiny, they’re memory joggers for your personal recollecting pleasure – Those few squiggles of ‘vineyards’ in the sketch above, which would be unrecognisable to most, to me immediately bring back the image of that vista in full technicolor detail 😉

My travel journalI’m a believer of ‘its all in the detail’.

It’s the little things that count and make the difference. It’s noticing how another culture goes about life that reveals and reflects the true country you’re visiting.

The way they traditionally roof their houses. The colours selected to decorate their homes. The handmade lace decorating shelf fascias in the pantry. It’s all in the detail.


Travel JournalI was going to say, and where words and drawings fail – but it’s not so much that words and drawings fail, it’s that they can be enhanced with actual snippets extracted from daily events.

Such as a wafer wrapper as shown above, or a lowly leaf picked up on a woodland walk, below.

Creating travel journal

My first travel journal consisted entirely of just words, which over time I’ve learnt to supplement with images and artefacts.

By nature we all tend to have our own preference of expression –

Are you an…

  • aural person… 
  • visual person…  
  • or kinaesthetic person?

Do share in the comments below –

And if you’re not sure what you are, in the next blog post I’ll define these terms to help you better understand how you can get the most out of your journals in years to come with my post: Are you and Aural, Visual or Kinaesthetic Person? 🙂

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12 thoughts on “Do you write, draw or collect in your Travel Journal?

  1. What an interesting post, which is what journals are: interesting.

    In the Importance of Being Earnest, Oscar Wilde wrote, “I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.”

    I think this quote will have to be my my next pictorial blog post. Love it!

    • I have to add to Oscar Wilde’s quote that a travel diary that’s been tucked away for a few years is an even more sensational read!

      Look forward to your next pictorial blog post Catherine 🙂

  2. What brilliant examples of your journalling, Linda.

    My immediate reaction was that I’m a word person, although I add photos and collectibles. However, looking at your sketches, I just might be ready to experiment with them – after all, as you said, it’s to bring back those precious memories.

    Looking forward to your next blog.

    • So pleased you enjoyed this post Desolie ~
      Journal sketches aren’t supposed to be masterpieces – they’re little vignettes simply there to jog the memory

      I’ve been thinking about doing some posts illustrating a few simple techniques to help create these in the coming months 🙂

  3. Brilliant post thanks Linda! I have been really encouraged by recent research on journalling and how it adds to our happiness, mindfulness and mental health. Your snippets are wonderful and I can see how they gave you joy at the time and so much more now!

    I am visual – but words rather than pictures -but after seeing your journal I am going to add pictures and samples in my journals in future.

    Many thanks

    • Hi Trisha ~

      I think most of us tend to lean towards writing for expression as for most of us that was the prime means of communication utilized during our formative school years –
      But there are so many more ways to express ourselves than just words –
      Hoping to explore some of these in coming posts 🙂

  4. I recently found a perfect journal for my trip in September! As soon as I picked it up, I knew it was the one I’d been looking for. It’s the perfect size, and it’s soft purple leather cover gave me a feeling of decadence. Also, the cherry on the cake – I use the word “fabulous” a lot… and right on the front cover, embossed in the leather…. “Be Fabulous” — how could I resist!

    But I digress.. back to your question. I definately favour words, but a doodle or quick sketch goes a long way, and I like taping stubs and receipts in my travel journal too.

    Interesting to see your transition to plain vs lined.
    Roving Jay recently posted..My Entry for Photo Roulette Round #40My Profile

    • The combination of a journal in ‘purple’ and ‘leather’ really does sound fabulous!

      I feel our education is so language based we tend to focus on expressing ourselves more via that channel than any other, where a doodle or a scrap of paper can be so much more expressive ~
      Your utilising words, doodles and tactile receipts sounds a perfect means for recollecting times past, in the future –

      And do tell… Where are you going in September?

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