“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 😉


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

  1. What a gorgeous diary, book and gift for their lucky mum. Sadly my travel diaries are so boring even I can’t stand to read them and full of stories about people I can’t even remember! There are a few good entries though but you have to plough through a lot of dross to find them!
    Annabel Candy recently posted..Where Are You Going Next?My Profile

    • I know exactly what you mean about trolling through the dross to get to the juicy bits in your travel journal –
      This is where a few doodly sketches really make reminiscing so much more fun – they’re instantaneous, and immediately convey your memories –
      Rock on story-maps 😉

  2. These pages are beautiful and so inspiring. I have been meaning to try a handwritten journal since some of your other blogs. This might help me get around to it. Loved it. Thank you so much for sharing this.

    • I think keeping word travel journals is best done on line these days –
      But scribbling doodles in a journal is so evocative of the moment –
      I think it’s that tactile connection of the moment on the paper, and the fact you get to hold in your hand that physical journal that you held in that far off land, which creates a bridge across time 🙂

    • Just by having these creative options in your subconscious Jackie means they’re at the ready to resurface as and when the time is right for you! 🙂

  3. Utterly charming journal. By the time we knew Jackie Kennedy, she had to be all prim and proper as First Lady, married to the President. I’m so glad she had this trip with her sister.

    In 1968 our family drove across the United States. As was usual, all sorts of ridiculous things happened—mostly as a result of the frequent breakdowns of my father’s 1963 Chevy. At Christmas that year, I put together an album of the trip for him, but it had mostly photos, writing and a few cartoony type drawings. It was fun. When I helped my parents downsize in the last few years, they still had it. Now I have it.

    We have two trips coming up (Munich, Vienna and Budapest in September and then South Africa in October. Having followed along your series on journaling, I’m going to try something more substantial than my little tiny notebooks which I end up misplacing regularly.

    • It is a wonderful insight isn’t it Suzanne –
      Although she seems fairly well primed for an official life describing their “smoothing our white gloves” prior to meeting the Ambassador in Spain and telling Lee “that above all she had to remember to call him Mr Ambassador’!

      Your album of ‘photos, writing and a few cartoony type drawings’ from 1968 sounds an absolute delight – I do hope you consider that type of journalling again in Sept and Oct 🙂

  4. My sister and I travel together and she keeps the journal which I later use to write blog posts and other pieces. We spend most of our time together in a “state of joy and laughter” so I really enjoyed reading about 2 other sisters who did the same. Thanks for letting me know about this book – I never heard of it before and it’s charming!

    • Yes – You can’t beat two sisters travelling together!
      My sister and I did a short trip a couple of years ago and it was such fun and like you and Jackie and Lee – full of “joy and laughter”:)

  5. This is the coolest thing I’ve seen in months! (not just this particular post, but the whole concept behind your blog!) As an art director myself who has worked for years in Advertising, it’s nice to see how you’ve taken your obvious talent for words AND pictures and combined them in a way everyone can benefit from for themselves.
    Nicely done.

    • The journal is a treasure, isn’t it –
      Like any hand-crafted work I guess!
      And wouldn’t that be wonderful to have some Bouvier DNA – I’ve always admired Jackie’s style in every sense of her being 😉

  6. What a treat to see this lovely and lively piece of history! Don’t the sisters look sophisticated for their young age? And the list of letters of credit for everywhere? Days gone by! Their dressed up looks reminded of my husband’s mother, whose parents sent her and a friend to Italy from Iowa on a trip in the early 50s designed with an express purpose: to forget a persistent beau. It didn’t work. The beau became my father-in-law! Loved this post!
    Betsy Wuebker recently posted..Kutna Hora: Beauty and BonesMy Profile

    • A case of distance making the heart even fonder Betsy!
      It is remarkable how times have changed in terms of manners and dress codes in just 60 years –
      But journaling, coming from the heart seems to cut through time, which is why as you say – this is such “a treat” 🙂

  7. What a fun and special book. I used to keep travel journals (all prose though, not as interesting as this), but don’t much anymore, although I jot down all kinds of notes. This post made me wish my sister and I had done something like this together when we visited Barcelona last summer.

    • Interestingly there’s an epilogue at the end of this publication where Lee mentions a couple more trips she went on with Jackie in an official capacity after Jackie became the First Lady but, because they didn’t then have to answer to their mother, and butter her up to re-enforce her decision to let them go off together was the right one, they didn’t bother to keep journals on subsequent trips which she, like you, regretted –
      “I can only look back on those trips and think how marvellous it would have been if we had recorded them as we had this first one. Perhaps we had lost some special sense of time, in growing up.”
      It does take work and energy to keep a journal but as can be seen from this example – the rewards far out weigh the effort! 🙂

    • I often feel like that too Noel –
      But when I flick through a journal from some previous trip and feel the reconnection –
      It pushes me on to make the time – They’re priceless! 😉

  8. I was always in awe of Jackie and this makes their life so much more down to earth. What a talented woman. I traveled across America with my family when I was six years old. I wish now that my mom would’ve encouraged me to draw pictures of my adventures. I had crayons that were waxy and melted in the back window of our car, so I’m not sure how well that would have worked.

    • Yes a journal recording a trip across America as seen through the eyes of a 6 year old would be precious… Even if done with sticky wax crayons!!

    • The over exaggeration of the size of the official and the ambassador really do add to the way they felt – so conveys so much more than a wordy description.

  9. So charming! I used to have my children make travel journals. They were resistant. But the results are wonderful to have. I once kept journals, but eventually decided they were too much trouble. I would image artsy folk might make some interesting booklets.

    • Your children will so thank you for your insistence when they reminiscence with them in years to come –
      The rewards of revisiting a travel journal always outweighs the effort –
      Although I agree finding a method that is quick, simple and doesn’t feel like homework is key 🙂

  10. What an absolutely charming journal … and so talented too the pair of them. Of course I would love to say my travel journals are interesting, but this beats anything I could produce hands down. Thanks for sharing this today Lynda … and I found it over at Boomers Travel on FB 🙂

    • I think if you create something from the heart (as they evidently did) whatever marks are applied to the paper will reflect you and your experience –
      No matter what your inner critic tries to tell you today Jo – Ignore it!
      You’ll be so pleased you did when you review it in years to come 🙂

  11. Wow, such a delightful discovery Linda, and what a poignant and timeless piece of history for following generations to look upon. It is also charming to see the whimsy that Jacqie had inside – rarely seen in later years when she wore the cloak of respectability and honour that was expected in her position. I am slowly coming around to see what a difference the ‘doodles’ make and might make my own effort to have a bash in my next travel journal.

    • I too found it an absolute joy to read these travel journal pages Genevieve, written as you say when she was young and free!
      No harm in trying a few doodle drawings to accompany your words in your next travel journal –
      Your Inner Critic will of course scream and shout at you Noooooooo!!
      But in years to come, when you revisit them, will – I can assure you – bring you much joy 🙂

  12. Oh my what a beautiful post and I love the illustrations too. Just yesterday I wrote a post about a bohemian bookstore in Paris – Shakespeare and company . I discoverd them through a memoir I read – bonjour 40 – have you heard about this bookstore. It took me an entire day to create this post as I tackled it a bit different than I’m used to writing but as you say adding a bit of this and that can really make for a great marinade 🙂 you have a new follower !
    Natasha recently posted..Shakespeare and Company – where words inspire in ParisMy Profile

    • Just popped over to your blog to take a read and loved your whimsical post about the bookshop in grand Paris!
      Definitely a place to visit next time I’m “passing through” LOL
      Loved your graphics – They make all the difference to a post 😉

  13. What a beautiful journal so rich with memories. I do love the photo at the end, but I think a journal is a lot more interesting when it contains more than just photos. I actually gave my first story map a try when I was in Europe last week – not ready to share yet, but getting started is the hard part for me 🙂

    • I so agree – Photos can show the scene, but they’re not so good for conveying the emotion you felt –
      Exaggerating the size of the officials in Jackie’s drawings (or making herself and Lee insignificantly small) immediately makes you recognize how they felt when confronted with officialdom!
      I’m very excited to hear you’ve surmounted the first, and hardest, hurdle and given a story map a go when in Europe last week –
      While it may not live up to your expectations today – I suspect when you re-view it a year hence, you’ll be thrilled with what it evokes and brings back to you Michelle 🙂

  14. Pingback: The Laid Back Travel Journal Layout - How to Story-Map Your Day

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