My first time writing in a travel journal was my junior year of high school. I was in Germany for the first time for a month-long exchange program and didn’t want to forget a single minute of my time abroad. To this day, I am so thankful that I had the foresight to record my time in Germany because it’s helped me remember the trip and all the amazing experiences I had.
Keeping a travel journal is something I think every single person should do. Whether you’re a fellow blogger, a new traveler, or an seasoned pro, journaling your adventures is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Here are the top five reasons I love to journal my travels.
It establishes a routine
I’m extremely blessed to have never felt homesick before. Although I feel comfortable traveling solo and enjoy exploring new cities, it takes a night or two for me to adjust to sleeping in a new place. Writing in my journal before bed is a routine I’ve done since that first trip to Germany years ago, and I find that it’s the perfect bedtime routine for me.
No matter where I’m sleeping that night, I always shower, throw my hair up in a bun, and then write in my journal. It usually takes me 20-30 minutes to record my entire day, and afterwards I’m quite tired. Writing out my thoughts on the day’s experiences calms me and helps me unwind before bed.
Journaling improves your writing skills
Whether it’s a skill you’re trying to work on or not, journaling your travels will improve your writing skills little by little. Initially, the only things I wrote in my journal were the basic facts about what I had done. If I was feeling fancy, I’d say something like “and it was cool to see.” Very descriptive, I know.
Now, I spend a lot more time writing about how a certain place or food made me feel, the conversations that were had during the day, and I’ll describe the cute dog I petted on a street corner. I take into account the tiny details of my day, and it makes my memories all the more vivid of my travels.
It helps you remember your travels
Obviously, you’ll remember your travels better since you’re writing down what you did. But the act of writing itself actually helps you remember your days more than taking photos or any other activity does. I still remember that first trip to Germany like it happened yesterday, and it’s been months since I’ve re-read my first journal. By writing down what happened during the day, I not only recorded it in my journal, but it my mind as well.
It’s a souvenir that lasts forever
Postcards get lost when moving, key chains break, and photos are accidentally deleted from your computer. Filling up a journal with your memories of amazing trips is one of the most satisfying feelings in the world, and it’s a souvenir you’ll always hold dear to your heart. My journals are all shapes and sizes, some have been customized by my friends, and every single one has been stuffed with ticket stubs and maps from my favorite adventures.
When I moved to New York last year, one of the first things I thought to pack were my journals. Leaving them at home wasn’t an option, and I made sure they were carefully tucked away in a place where their pages wouldn’t be bent. They’re so precious to me because their pages are filled with some of my favorite memories.
You become more mindful through it
Reflecting on my days and honestly recording my feelings has made me more mindful of others on my travels. While remembering the activities of the day, I’ll realize that I had probably annoyed my friend with my unwillingness to compromise on our lunch spot, or that I should have been more understanding of the group of tourists who had clogged the subway entrance in their confusion of where to go next.
Taking the time to stop and think about my actions and feelings at the end of a long day of exploring has translated into my day-to-day activities, and I find that I’m better at reflecting on my actions in the moment so I make better decisions.
While I’m certainly not perfect with my journaling practices, I try my best to keep my travel journals updated as much as possible. I really do love them, and I hope you feel inspired to start a travel journal yourself.