Before I could type fluently (yeah, I’m a late bloomer when it comes to tech stuff), I’ve always liked Writing down my days to keep my life in check. When I booked my very first plane tickets abroad, I’ve decided to get myself a journal just for the trip. Looking back now, I’m glad that I’ve made that decision and insisted on writing throughout the whole trip. Of course there are some other ways to document the lovely moments, but I have this really old-fashioned belief that with the strange power of words, one could be reminded that the past is real.
If I were to Write a tutorial about keeping a travel diary, I would suggest you to follow your heart and allow your pen point to dance to the most beautiful song that’s within you. For that, you’d need to have a nice book to write on, a pen that would stay alive even in the toughest and darkest environment like the suitcase, a stick glue to work the magic and organize the ticket stubs, and the last but not least, a determined will to keep writing even you were drooling on the armchair on one of your worst layovers.
Now I’ve got everything I need, here are a few tips I do to keep myself writing.
- An achievable goal
To make up to my incurable bad memorizing ability, I have set myself an easy goal, that is to spend 10 to 20 min every day and write about my whereabouts and some interesting things. It doesn’t have to be specific like timetables, and it doesn’t have to be great. The point of keeping a journal for me is to remember the best little things that have ever happened in my trips. Unless you are aiming for Nobel, then make it prestigious.
So apparently I was sharing this story to myself. I must have starved myself to the point where I cared about the noodles more than the windmills.
Can you believe it? I found Asian instant noodles in the weirdest area in Amsterdam. I have checked lidl a couple of times but couldn’t find anything except frozen waffles and chocolate milk. I want something hot and salty so bad. It’s been over a month since I had anything homey. I was walking aimlessly through loads of closed shop then found this creepy store that was selling instant noodles and Chinese cabbage. This is mind-blowing! I’m having Asian food tonight!
- Ticket stubs
Tickets stubs could be used as a way to tell the stories. Sticking them into the notebook and write a few words about the museum or the train ride would revive an even more vivid memory. As if those thin paper had absorbed the temperature from the hands when I was holding them, they now become a part of my past that had granted me to be in the places where I had dreamed to be.
Follow the map and retrace the routes. I have always feel like planning on google map is a lot harder than planning on an actual map. Many cities like Brugge, Rotterdam and Dresden provided adorable maps for backpackers. Not only are they super useful, they also have given me awesome materials to complete the journal. Instead of writing about directions and the subway stops, I could simply check the maps and figure everything out in just a few seconds.
- Bring it everywhere
I write wherever, and whenever I desire. There are always moments when I’m facing the majestic view and I just want to express the feelings. I could just pull out the journal, sit and start writing. It could be on the highest mountain of Thailand, or I could be on the train half across Europe, it doesn’t matter, good time is when the inspiration hits me like a lightning.
Here’s a few more words from my diary
I’m now sitting by the same river bank I’ve been coming back to for the 5th day straight now, waiting for the buildings to light up. This is my last day in Dresden, and I feel horribly sad and torn that I have to leave in just a few hours. I wish I was better at drawing so I could bring a piece of this amazing view back with me. I have made a few friends here, and I envy them for that they don’t have to hop on the train to some other places.
The most important thing of keeping a journal would be to stay true to myself. When it comes to confiding to a notebook, I could transfer all my thoughts and feelings into words. Especially when I’m traveling solo, it is actually a great way to process what I have been through so far. But if you got your diary from a skeptical looking blond man in Diagon Alley, it would be wise to simply toss it into the toilet and never write on it again.
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