Most of you know our family is on a grand adventure in Ireland. Before we left there was one thing that was very important to me. Keeping a journal and have the kids do the same. There are many types of journals. Photo journals that help you remember what and where each photo was taken. Food journals that can help a person track their calorie intake or foods they’ve eaten. Lastly, a financial journal which is a record of expenditures that can help oneself track what they are spending and where. In this post, however, we will be talking about a travel journal where all the different kinds of journaling listed above can be used.
So many times, we think what we see will stay with us and we’ll remember everything. I’m sure some of you have experienced this and then figured out that it’s not the case. Whether time or memory failure, we forget things that have happened or things that we’ve seen.
To prevent this, I spoke to the kids before we left about how writing in a journal every day in the evening would be something they needed to do. It would be part of their school and a way for them to look back many years from now and reflect on their time. Now truthfully some of the kids don’t like to write and I did get a few protests. After the first week in Ireland however, the protest stopped. They now were excited to write down everything they saw and did. In fact, a one-page journal entry was beginning to be a two and three page a day entry.
Keeping a journal when I was young is where my love of writing began. It’s a way to express oneself, write crushes, prayers, dreams, adventures and just everyday thoughts. Keeping a travel journal, I feel is just as important.
When we travel, we discover new and unusual and sometimes brilliant things. Writing them down is a form of memory keeping and a chance to appreciate another place or how well you have it at home.
I have the journal from my great-grandmother when she took a trip to Europe and I can’t express how much it means to me. It talks about how my great-grandfather got his one and only suit coat dirty by a bird flying overhead, to the details of a toy shop where I felt as though I was standing in this little store looking through her eyes at the toys, to bomb threats. Every single detail was described and I, now three generations later can read it and treasure it.
Many things in life vanish, decompose, but words last forever. As long as the pages are preserved, we have documents that date back centuries. The Bible is a good example of this. Keeping a travel journal is like saving little pieces of history. You collect them over time and then if you wish, pass them down for the next generation to read.
Everyday journals are just as important, but sometimes a little personal and people don’t want to share and that’s okay. A lot of my friends talk about when they kept a journal and how enjoyable it was to go back and read them. It’s a way to get your thoughts on paper and out of your head and in the case of a travel journal, a way to document what your eyes have seen, or a new dish you’ve tasted. Words, when spoken correctly, can bring magic to the reader. Even when that reader is you years later.
Whether you just try documenting your travels or your daily lives. I would encourage you to start a journal. Let your imagination flow as you write down your experiences. When dealing with children, you may correct them at an early age. Meaning explaining to date the top of the page and to use complete sentences. After a certain age though I would just let them write. Let their journals be a safe place where they can express their thoughts without being corrected. I find that if they have a question they’ll ask.
My seven-year-old is just starting, so as I said above we do help her but not in telling her what to say, just how to structure it so she develops good habits. There is no wrong way to write when you’re doing it for yourself. I think that’s why I love it so much. Even being a writer, I like my journal time because I don’t correct or worry about how the reader will receive it, I just write. Okay, maybe I don’t worry about that stuff anyway;). The point is journaling is healthy and a way to release whatever’s going on in your lives. Whether good or bad, exciting or boring, dumb or brilliant.
There are hundreds of journals to pick from or just a plain notebook will do too. Sometimes picking a color or cover you really like will encourage you to write more often. Obviously, over time you will be picking more than one, so have fun with it and pick a notebook or journal you really love.
Last minute thoughts. Whether you’re an adult or child. If you seem to be at a loss for words, then just draw a picture. As they say, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” And they are also a great way to put a thought down that you can’t seem to express any other way.
So, whether writing our drawing just have fun and let your creative side flow.