In 2006, a year after Bryan and I got married, we went on a three week backpacking trip across Europe. Our trip started in Amsterdam, then moving on to Prague, then to Switzerland (Bern and the Alps) to visit historic castles once inhabited by the VonGraffenried family. Then a high-speed train to Paris, the Chunnel to London and home.
It was a whirlwind trip full of adventure and chaos. I think we spent about 75% of our time completely lost. It was easily the BEST TRIP OF MY LIFE, but also the most exhausting. I knew just a couple days in that so much was happening each day, that if I didn't write it down, I would never remember what we did, where we went, what we saw. I knew that I would want a record to help me remember the details. So using a small Mead memo pad (see pic below), I kept straightforward notes of what we did each day. I stuffed ticket stubs, postcards, receipts and other ephemera inside knowing that seeing them later, I would remember the paths I walked and things I saw.
We have taken many, many much smaller trips since our epic Europe trip. But I learned something on that trip that stuck with me. Keeping a journal added something special to my trip. It forced me to create a highlight reel of each day. It helped me take mental snapshots of what it felt like to stand in certain places. (Like standing face to face with the Mona Lisa or next to Anne Frank's desk.) It helped me remember more. It expanded those experiences in my memory. It helped them take hold.
Since then I have tried to keep a journal (or notes) for all our trips. This year I found a brand new journal that I love, and I have already filled it with fun things from those two trips. Below is a list of some of my other favorite travel journal items. I will be posting more in-depth about what my travel journals look like and what I like to include in future months.
my list of my Top 5 Travel Journal Supplies:
1. A Journal.
Really anything goes here. I have journaled in everything from a Moleskine to a Smashbook to a Traveler's Notebook. But my current favorite is my Mead Travel Journal. I love this little journal. It has a linen cover, different papers, dividers, stickers, pockets, and a fold-out map. It is held together by two rings so that it can be opened and the journal can be reconfigured however you like. It is that flexibility that has me loving this journal. Just take a hole punch, and anything can become a page in the book.
Other journals that I like:
• Moleskine (I love these notebooks, but there is not any give in the spine if you plan to stuff pieces into it.
• Leather Travel Journal (I have one of these.)
• Kids' Travel Journal by Mudpuppy
2. Fun Markers and Pens.
Right now, I am crazy over these Frixion pens. If you are like me and get worried that you will "mess-up" your journal, you will love these things because they are FULLY ERASABLE. I am also a BIG fan of Tombow pens because the two tips mean you can do so much with just one pen. They are great for hand lettering too.
3. Polaroid Instax Camera.
I like to take an instant camera to capture some pictures for the journal AS WE GO. Usually, I take pictures with my phone or my big camera, but I have to wait to print them when I am home. I like capturing a tiny photo in the moment too. Plus, Polaroid cameras are still FUN!
4. Ruler or Straight Edge.
I have a small template that I like to stick with my journal. It's helpful for use as a straight edge and to draw some simple shapes. I prefer one with a ruler down the side like the Wescott T-816.
5. Double stick tape.
I used to cram stuff into my journal very haphazardly, but as you can imagine things would always end up falling out. Quick solution: stick some double stick tape in the kit so I can secure all the loose pieces. Then when you drop your book, you aren't trying to pick up all your souvenirs all over the street. (Been there. Done that.)
Other things that are nice to have in your kit:
A small pair of scissors If you have kids my age, you probably have 50 pairs in your house.
Hole punch. We the Mead Journal you could punch holes in postcards or brochures and putt them right into the book.
Stickers. Kids love stickers. Okay and some adults too. (Me!!) These are cute!
Pencil pouch or journal case to keep it all together. (I am considering this one with a handle.)
Travel journals are fun, but they also can enhance your experiences. You will look at your days different. You will remember special moments differently. You will treasure these pages (no matter how they look) because they have this magical way of helping you travel back in time to the places you have been.
Want to see what my travel journal looks like? Stay tuned. That is coming up soon! Subscribe to my newsletter to stay updated on posts and news! Thanks for stopping by!