The Christmas before our world trip, I gave everyone — my husband, two sons, and even myself — a small journal. Each was a different color and had a different saying that I imagined suited each of us. Mine was “LIVE A LIFE YOU LOVE.” Eight months later when we packed our backpacks and headed out into the world, I am the only one that brought along said journal. Maybe it’s because the rest of the travelers are male or maybe they don’t like to write. Whatever the reason, with journal in hand, I became the scribe of the group.
It took me a while to start writing about the trip. We had been on the road for several weeks before I realized that we were already starting to forget things we had done in the beginning. Being on a trip of this magnitude, I didn’t want to forget anything. I wanted to have memories to look back on and be able to read to my husband and the kids when their memories failed. So, I started interviewing each family member about their favorite parts of the journey thus far and jotting down their thoughts in my journal. Eventually, this practice turned into more of a daily journal entry for me talking about the day, what we experienced, where we went, how we felt. I kept every ticket stub of every place that handed them out and added them to the pages of the journal. By the end of our seven-month trip, my half-inch thick journal was bursting at the seams and had to be held closed with a hair band.
As I have been taking the blog posts from our trip and turning them into a book that I hope to have together by the end of the year, I have been using my journal as a guide. I can look back at an individual day and see what I shared in my blog and what I left out. I have details of the weather and the smells and sights that never made it into my writing. There are quirky stories that only exist in our minds and the pages of the journal almost like secrets. It is like a little bit of magic to look back and be able to relive the days through my writing – which is exactly what I was hoping for from the beginning!
I would encourage anyone taking a trip to keep a journal and write in it every day. When we travel, we experience so much that is new to us. It is sometimes difficult to take it all in at once. With a journal, however, we can go back and experience those moments again and again, maybe seeing things we missed the first time around. Live a life you love and write about it every day!