Travel Journal Ideas – Why Write When You Can Have a Travel Story-Map?

When I shared one of my travel journal ideas of a Story-Map Journal I’d kept last year in Europe, there was a buzz of excitement and interest.

Certainly, for me, it’s been the most successful travel journal I’ve ever kept. A mere glance at any page brings my travel memories vividly, and instantly, back to life without having to wade through pages of words – which being a visual person, is bliss!

Travel Journal Idea

Such as the page, illustrated above, of a day in north Wales, when we drove down the coast, crossing a stone bridge, to the local auction room where we negotiated to swap a basket full of collectible wares, we’d taken with us to sell, for a very fine antique glass. Driving back around the long sandy bay via Harlech’s thirteenth century castle we had a lunch of freshly bought bread, home cured ham and home grown tomatoes, followed by some apple with blackberries we’d gathered from the hedgerow. And at tea went on to enjoy a home baked buttery fruit cake and scones with lemon and ginger tickle.
Those little visual clues can’t fail to get my mouth watering again!

However, there were many people who said –

“It’s alright for you, you can draw – I couldn’t possibly do anything like that!”

So… to dispel this myth I thought I’d do a tutorial on where to start with doodle drawings… and if at the end you realize it’s within your capabilities… I’ll write another post to show you more!

Can you draw a wavy line?

travel journal idea


Or like below, go mad and draw three wavy lines?

travel journal idea


How did you go?

I’d now like you to draw another row of three wavy lines.

travel journal idea

And then, with the same fluid stroke, place the pen (or pencil) to the left or right of one of these waves and replicate the line crossing over (at some point) to land a little to the left or right at the opposite end.

You’ve now created a road to illustrate your travels between any two places.
A to B, or B to C!

travel journal idea


Below are a couple of examples from my Story-Map travel journal where I’ve used this simple doodle drawing technique to show, rather than tell, my travelling between two places.

travel journal idea


 Including a little refreshment along the way 😉

travel journal map


Or in the case above, without the need for verbose explanations, it can simply be seen that Salo is situated on the edge of Lake Garda, where aperativos can be enjoyed out in the sun on the foreshore.

So, with the road down pat, we need to add the means of transportation.

Let’s create a little car…

how to draw a car

  1. Draw 2 little circles (for the wheels)
  2. Add a dash between them, and a dash on either side of them
  3. Draw three semi circles that look a bit like a cloud (for the boot, the roof & the bonnet)
  4. A line down the middle gives the impression of a door, and a dot for the handle
  5. Put some tyres on the wheels, a pin head man in the front windscreen and to create a sense of movement draw a line from the roof off out to the back.
    Repeat, stopping each line a little shorter than the one above it.

And hey presto ~ We’re off on a trip from Home to Work 😉

travel journal idea


So maybe next time you’re going on a trip, you might consider this travel journal idea for portraying visually how you set off on your holiday adventure?

travel journal ideas


Or, even if you’re merely popping between neighbouring villages for a coffee on the bus

travel journal ideas

All it takes, is a couple of wavy lines crossing each other, and a few lines whooshing out the back of the vehicle, and we’re away… in every sense. 😀

travel journal idea

So, did you manage a couple of wavy lines?

And a car?

If so, you’ll be interested in my travel journal ideas on
how to create story maps
using a variety of line types, arrows for movement and simple symbols…

Check out my series of posts —–>

How to Travel Journal Like a Map-Maker


Journey Jottings... highlights your holiday adventures

20 thoughts on “Travel Journal Ideas – Why Write When You Can Have a Travel Story-Map?

  1. You are too clever Linda, but I think the key to your unique style is what you wrote at the top of the blog, “without having to wade through pages of words”.
    I am not an arty person but I adore words and am enjoying writing my blog posts from the very wordy diaries I kept whilst overseas, with some help from photos, etc.

    I could probably draw the wavy lines and cars as you suggest but they would be nowhere near as stylish, and they are what make you and your blog so individual, (not to mention your business).

    Hopefully, my words are what make my style unique, when people have the time to read them, that is…

    I do love receiving your blog – keep up the good work.


    • Thank you for your kind words Genevieve, and…
      Point taken!

      We all observe and take in the world in such different ways –
      I even wrote a post:- Are you an Aural, Visual or Kinaesthetic Person?
      So what you say is so true –
      Amusingly, just the other day, I heard a copywriter describe herself as being “graphically challenged”!

      To me, a little illustration acts like punctuation – It gives me a breather and helps to make the words make sense.

      As George Bernard Shaw said: “The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has been achieved.”

    • Now, that wasn’t what I wanted to hear 🙁
      I’m after collaborators here who’ll take the leap of faith and jump in with me!
      We use symbols so much in our daily lives (eg to find the loos!) it seems only logical to incorporate a form of symbolic hieroglyphic in our note taking? 🙂

    • Practice makes perfect!
      I see you’re planning to hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in May ~
      A few doodley sketches on such an awesome trip will make all the difference in the future when it comes to spending time with those travel memories 😉

  2. Thanks so much for sharing these ideas. I could draw the simple car before but it is the lines and other features that make the difference. It gives it movement and interest.

    I have set a goal to do more little pictures as part of my journaling. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Fabulous!!
      So pleased you’ve seen just how easy it is to add that bit of movement….
      And now add a little extra interest when recording your travelling tales 😀

  3. Great idea! Going back and looking at these once the holiday is but a distant memory will be very rewarding. I’m going to give it a go on my holiday to Japan in June. The buildings might be difficult to sketch though!

    • I might have to do a post for how to draw the gist of a building!
      For most sketches its surprising how unlike your subject your sketch needs to turn out to be instantly recognizable and induce fond memories flowing – Which is all we’re after 🙂

    • When you’ve experienced the fun and joy of “going back over it weeks or years later” the effort of creating some form of travel record via note-taking or doodling more than rewards the effort!
      I have to agree with you about waxy crayons – for any purpose :/
      I used just a small selection (tonally selected for the region) of coloured pencils and a Pental pen, which aren’t too heavy to carry… even on such a wonderful walk as the Camino de Santiago 😀

    • That’s great that you are picking up some journalling tips and tricks that will make your travel memories so much richer and rewarding in years to come 🙂

  4. But I really can not draw I suck at drawing but I am really good at coloring but not drawing. I really need ideas and tips for my drawing problem.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a blog post you'd like to share? Simply tick the box :)