How To Make A Travel Diary : Ideas And Tools To Document

How To Make Travel Diary

My travel notebooks are my treasure chest and, as Nico said, they are the space where I keep everything interesting that I see while traveling. From my first trip to today, I never left home without a notebook. Even when I went on vacation (without a computer) to Manali, I took two notebooks and documented the entire trip by hand. Doing journaling or documenting travel (and everyday life, too) is one of my favorite hobbies and something I like to do just because (although it is true that the ideas for my books and projects come from there, it is something that I like to do without thinking about possible uses or results, just because I enjoy it). When I look back, I realize that I have filled notebooks since I learned to write, and sometimes I wish I could spend my life doing that and nothing else.

In 2016 I began to give face-to-face documentation and creativity workshops and to share what I had been learning over the years. These are some of the tips and ideas that I give in my workshops (I am preparing the online version!). If you are in the mood to make your travel notebooks, they may do the trick.

* You don't need to know how to draw or be a writer to have a travel notebook. The necessary superpower is another: pay attention with all your senses (and find the way you like to document everything you see). Travel in itself astonishes and helps us to be more present. Having a notebook can be a good way to give some order to that excess of stimuli and experiences that occur when we are in a new place. In her book 'How to be a world explorer', Ajay says that a notebook should be like a "metaphorical suitcase" where you can collect observations, thoughts, and feelings.

* How to choose the right notebook: feel love at first sight.  When I started traveling I took A4 size ringed notebooks (the typical university ones) because I was sad to buy a nice one and that it would be ruined during the trip. I was also a little afraid of "not living up" to a good notebook, and spending money on "expensive" notebooks (when I could do the same with a cheap one) seemed like a waste.

The first time I used a good quality notebook (a Classmate) it was because they gave it to me, and from that day on I couldn't go back. With this, I do not mean that we have to use expensive notebooks yes or yes, but I believe that we have to fall in love with our notebooks. In my case, The more I like the notebook that I carry (because it has good paper, or because I like the illustration of its covers, or because it is resistant or whatever), the more I want to fill it out. For me, there is nothing like writing on a good paper (I recommend some brands that I like below). Another very good option is to make your handmade notebooks, totally customized.

* Starting a new notebook is a ritual. Every time I start a notebook, the first thing I do is give it a title, start date, and number (to find out later in what order I completed the notebooks). In general, the title is the intention with which I begin to complete that notebook. I usually put things like "back to basics", "the offline notebook", "writing room", "what I have to tell". I also number the pages to build an index (this is not essential if they are only going to fill out one notebook during the trip, but if, for example, they fill out once a month and need to find the information) and sometimes I put sections on it.

* Rule number 1: always carry the notebook with you. I understand that notebooks are heavy and that there is nothing worse than being loaded on a trip, but the only way to complete it is to always have it with you. For me, it's just another weight, like that of the camera or the holster, and I try to never go out without it. They can have two notebooks: a small one, to carry around during the day and take notes, and a large one, to complete at night based on the other's notes. I like journaling at any time of the day, and I never know where I am going to find something I want to write or document.

* Rule number 2: be constant. A notebook doesn't fill itself up. In my experience, it is best to fill it up a little each day, and not wait until you "have time" (once they told me that time is not available, it is done) or until the trip is finished. At first, it can be difficult to get into the habit, especially since a trip usually does not have a lot of free time. Therefore, I suggest that you create your rituals and find a space or time  of day to complete them:

- a space: in a cafe, in a park, in a museum, on a train, in a bookstore, in an airport.

 - just a moment: before going to sleep, when getting up, while having tea, while waiting for the train.

The important thing is to respect it every day.

How do you fill out a travel notebook?

Anything goes.  In this I believe that there are no rules: a travel notebook is filled as each one wants. If you like to write, write. If you prefer to draw, draw. If yours are collages made with tickets and napkins, make them. At the end of the day, it has to be representative of each person's journey and you have to enjoy it while you do it. If something seems interesting to you, go to the notebook.

Some ideas to complete a travel notebook :

- Texts. Write the highlights or the chronology of your day as a journal, make written portraits of the people you meet, write your day in 4 scenes, copy songs or poetry, write your flow of consciousness.

 - Drawings. Draw what you eat, a building or house that you like, copy posters, make comics of funny situations, paint scenes or landscapes with watercolors.

 - Photos. Print and paste photos. Write them captions telling something that does not appear in the photo.

 - Lists. Make lists of everything you can think of: “songs that sounded during the trip”, “sounds that I had never heard”, “stories that I heard on the train”, “foods that I want to eat again”.

 - Collage. Stick maps, tickets, napkins, brochures, tickets, labels. Travel is an inexhaustible source of this kind of thing.

 - Combine all of the above.

What materials do I need to fill out a travel notebook?

As long as you have the notebook and something to write, you can start. Then the materials depend on the needs of each one. Here is a list of things that I use, although not all at once. I have a “journaling kit” at home and I take some things with me every trip, depending on how I want to document it:

- Notebook. After several years of intensive notebook testing, these are my favorites:

·        Classmate.  While I think you can never go wrong with a Classmate, I especially like this set of 3 slimline notebooks (64 pages each) and the classic plain hardcover notebook (it comes in various colors).

Your travel notebook is yours and represents you, so fill it out as you like. The important thing is that you enjoy the process and that it does not become a burden. You do not have to show the complete notebook to anyone, so use it as a space for total freedom. There is nothing more beautiful than reopening a travel notebook sometime after you have returned home. Besides being a treasure chest, it is the most effective way I found to teleport myself.

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