The beauty of keeping a travel diary

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Before I went travelling I had never kept a diary in my life. Believe me, I had tried. I wanted to be one of those girls like many of my friends at school who wrote the thoughts and meanderings down for various reasons, but I just couldn’t do it. I would either forget or think ‘what’s the point’? But before I left for my round the world trip I was given a diary, and for the first time, I kept it. And thank god I did! Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t enjoy keeping it; I literally had to force myself to write something in it every single day of my trip, but since I started NST I have never been so thankful I did.

If you’ve been following NST you will know that I actually went backpacking round the world 4 years ago. 4 YEARS!! Can you remember what you were doing on this day 4 years ago? Nor can I, but thankfully I have my diary to help me remember! The poor thing is well a truly knackered (as you can see in the photo) with nearly all the pages stuck in with sellotape, but it’s done some serious mileage and I was pretty knackered by the end too! But I love it and the memories it sparks, and if my house was on fire and I could only grab one thing, that would be it.

When I went backpacking round the world I decided to keep a travel diary. It was the hard but I am so glad I did it. It was a brilliant way to store my thoughts, feelings and what I was up to, and not today I have all these memories to hand. If you're going travelling, make you sure you keep one too!As you can see, mine is jam packed full of what I did, what was annoying me, who I met, how I was feeling as well as little mementos like ticket stubs, beer mats, flags that you get in food, EVERYTHING. So you can understand why the pages had to be taped in. All of these bits and bobs are personal to me and from them, I can remember the most random things.

The beauty of keeping a diary is that it doesn’t have to be perfect. I kinda think of it as the opposite of Instagram which is full of the most perfect views and the most exotic of adrenaline filled experiences. A diary is for those memories but also for the realities of travel like when you’re bored or stuck in some shit hostel. Just because it’s not picturesque, doesn’t mean it’s not important!

Here are my tips for keeping a travel diary:

  • Find a diary that you like. If you like it you will more likely to write in it and not just use it as scrap paper.
  • Take some nice pens to write with to make it easier.
  • Bring sellotape, scissors and glue to cut out things and stick them in, or of course to tape pages back in like I had to!
  • Don’t write it like someone else is going to be reading it. It’s YOURS for you to do what YOU want with it.

So my advice to anyone about to go travelling is to take a diary and do what you want with it. So much is shared with the world electronically on social media today, that putting pen to paper is forgotten. Make it be what you want it to be and enjoy reminiscing years down the line!

DO YOU KEEP A TRAVEL DIARY? WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE MEMORY FROM IT?

Have you ever been asked the question 'if your home was burning down and you had to grab one possession to take with you what would it be?' Well, mine would be my travel diary. Find out why I love it so much and why you should be keeping one too.

10 Comments

  1. Not exactly. I mean I used to -> on my old personal website, I used to post stuff as and when I was travelling (this started way back in 2000), so that acted as a kind of ‘public’ travel diary, and prior to that I kept hand-written notes on scrawled A4 pads, or on small hardbacked blank-lined A5 notebooks (most of which I still have, incidentally), where I’d write down everything that happened in the day and my feelings about them.

    I still use hardbacked A5 notebooks when I travel. But these days they’re not so much travel ‘diaries’ as ‘travel notes’. They’re what I use to plan out my trips, to make notes of ‘places I ought to think about’ before I go, but also for noting in while I’m on the move for new information, for hints that other travellers give me, and for writing impressions of something, anything, that suddenly comes to mind when I’m on the move, or in cafes. It is, literally, a book of notes – not pretty, not that organised, but definitely in-the-moment, and interesting to look back on afterwards, even if sometimes to say ‘ahhh, that plan didn’t quite work, did it?’! 🙂

    • This is why they’re great! It doesn’t have to make sense to anyone else because it’s not for anyone else. It’s a space to do whatever you want it and jot down some great memories ?

  2. Ahh I needed to read this. For real, I have such a love/hate relationship with diaries. I’m terrible at keeping up with them but the ones I kept when I was younger (on and off) are some of my most precious possessions now. It’s difficult especially because so much of my life is spent blogging about my travels now, but like… obviously there’s SO much that doesn’t make it into blog posts like random quotes/memories. Definitely need to find a balance for both!

    • Haha I had to force myself everyday to do it! And exactly! It’s so nice to be able to remember the random bits that happened at the time, and also to have them just for yourself

  3. Yes, I always keep a travel journal. I love the creative process of trying to record all that I have seen and experienced that day. It allows me to think more deeply about what I have seen, to reflect on the contrasts with my day-to-day life. If nothing else, my journals will still allow me to travel down memory lane when I am too old to get my butt on a plane, a bus or any other mode of transport. I hope those days are a long, long way off! Mel

    • This is exactly why I love mine! Anything can go in there and there’s nothing like a diary to stand the test of time!

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