Once upon a time (say, the turn of the 20th century) if you traveled a lot, you kept a travel journal. The journals were gorgeous, hand-crafted pieces of leather with cotton pages just begging for the touch of a fountain pen. The pages would be filled with the memories of transatlantic cruises aboard steamships, train rides through Africa and observations from some of the best hotels around the world at the time. Many of these journals would become family heirlooms, and others would become important parts of history (like the journals kept by Theodore Roosevelt).
Somewhere along the line, keeping a travel journal became “uncool,” unnecessary, or simply too much of a burden. It’s time to bring back the tradition!
While investing in an expensive, hand-crafted leather journal is certainly a traditional way to go, you don’t have to drop a lot of cash on a book. A simple spiral bound notebook from the dollar store will work just fine. All you need is something in which to jot down your thoughts during the day. And as for the actual “jotting,” you don’t need to fill a dozen pages with flowing reflection—simply write down a sentence or two, highlighting the things you’d want your grandkids to know about when they find the book years in the future.
If writing isn’t really your thing, that’s OK. You can always use the “journal” to collect mementos you pick up during your journeys. Did you eat a meal that’s so good you believe it should be in a history book? Make it so! Snag a business card from the manager or ask if you could have a copy of the menu. Tape or glue these in your journal, along with a copy of your bill so you’ll remember what you ate (Plus, it’s a blast to see what things used to cost).
If you’re more of an artist than a writer, use your journal to draw your memories instead of writing them down.
Once you make journaling part of your travel rituals you won’t regret it. As mentioned above, it will be an amazing source of reading for your kids and grandkids, plus, when you pass on you’ll be leaving a piece of travel inspiration behind for future generations!