Travel Journals?

bigdogstwo

Lately, I have found myself interested in travel journals. I have a few of them from family members who have passed away, and as I read them, I find it fascinating to glean their perspectives and how places, fashion, vernacular, and travel itself has changed.


Some keep a journal with the idea of publishing upon return. The Innocents Abroad is such an example, and while it was a fun read, it was written with the audience in mind. This, to me, is less interesting than those written from the point of view of simply remembering the trip, the highs, the lows, the frustrations, the experience. Sometimes these make it into print. Are there any that you discovered and wish to recommend? Do you keep a travel journal yourself?


PAM


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carolyn_ky

When I first started traveling abroad, I kept journals. I had to write every night or I forgot stuff and found that to be quite time consuming, so I quit. Then I found I couldn't remember things I wanted to, and so I began jotting notes down. Now that has disintegrated into highlights beside each day on a copy of the itinerary that I make up and leave with someone at home who may need to get in touch with me. That and the photos that I still have developed (printed?) and put into albums with descriptions written underneath or beside serve my purpose. Those albums are getting harder to find, too. My daughter just keeps her photos on her phone, but what happens when she loses it or it dies? I'm too old for modern technology and too lazy to journal.

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annpanagain

Pam, I take a diary with me when I travel. I buy a small cheap one because I don't want to take my general one in case I lose it. The notes can be transcribed but I don't often bother. They are usually aides-memoirs anyway rather than full descriptions. It is easy to get confused as to when exactly you were in a certain place when you have been to a number on a rushed trip.

It came in handy for claiming tax deductible expenses too if the trip was for business!

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astrokath

I always keep a travel diary, and also do posts every day or two on Facebook. I have a few friends who are quite thrilled with my posts, which is both a bit confusing and also rather pleasing.


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msmeow

We generally take one trip a year, and I've kept a journal on most of the recent trips in the form of a daily recap on my iPad. Mostly it's so I can remember what the pictures are when we get home :). I transcribe and expand on my notes in a Word document that I save in the same folder with the pictures.

Donna

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bigdogstwo

It is interesting that many of you have switched to a more electronic version of recording your trip - either in narrative or list form. I was recently discussing the art of journaling with a professor who had made me journal when I was in her class. She said that the journal is a lost art form, and a window into the past. That we do not just journal for ourselves even though it may seem like it from our perspective. But what we are really doing is creating a legacy for the future to share not only what we did, but how we did it and why.

I have travel journals from family members dating to between the two world wars. They are full of the vexations and wonders of travel, but also tidbits of a mode of travel we no longer usually experience - taking an ocean liner to another continent because commercial airline travel was still in its formative years, train travel wherein you had to plan for stops for the steam engine to take on water, etc. And try as I might to romanticize it, what they endured (14 hours to get from Llandudno to Stratford) is simply not romantic. First, with a limited amount of vacation time per year from an employer, we need to get there, see everything we can, and get back within a certain allotted timeframe. Second, my 21st century attention span cannot possibly accept traveling by train at 35 mph, with hour long breaks for water every so often. But I only know of these frustrations at all because SOMEBODY WROTE THEM DOWN.

Are we doing a dis-service to the future by not sharing our present in the form of a travel journal when we finally do have the time to get away for a bit? I don't know this answer. But holding these journals in my hands, seeing their memories recorded in their own handwriting, is making me wonder if I should put more effort in placing pen to paper.

PAM


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friedag

PAM, travel journals have long fascinated me, too. Every time I get access to primary sources, I am in awe that I'm actually holding and reading a real person's own words as they occurred to her/him at the time, not some later editor's "cleaned up" interpretative version (although those can be valuable, as well, in helping present-day readers who have no experience with or knowledge of what is being relayed to them). The real things (journals) often bore some readers when the notations are repetitive, mundane, ungrammatical and poorly spelt. According to some pedantic prescriptivists, it's enough to drive them crazy! Thankfully, I think, I am a descriptivist by inclination, so I am actually delighted with 'mistakes' and 'redundancies' because they are great indicators of the ways people actually thought as they viewed their travel observations.

I was trained to be an inveterate note taker -- the old saying (paraphrased) about 'the palest ink is better than memory' has proved itself many times over to me. However, because I had to be quick, I took most of my notes in Gregg shorthand to transcribe later. I have folders filled with my Gregg scratching because I never got around to the transcription. My niece who occasionally likes to poke through my file cabinets came across my shorthand and with amusement said, "Aunt Frieda, I will have to learn Gregg just to read your stuff!" I teased her that she should take it as a challenge to learn a lost skill. Knowing her, I think she probably will. That's why I'm bequeathing to her my 'papers' because she's the only one in my family who would take the trouble (I think) with them, although my granddaughter might develop an interest. I hope my writing might be useful to them someday in some way.

PAM, I'm glad you brought up the subject and considered it so thoughtfully in your subsequent post. I'll have to ponder it further!

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netla

I read and highly enjoyed Mark Twain's travelogues, and travelogues are in fact my favourite non-fiction genre. I have occasionally wondered what the journals some of these writers must have based their eventual travelogues on are like.

I have travel journals of my own going back 30+ years - I think I journaled through all but one of my trips abroad - and for the last 5 years or so I have also been journaling about my local travels.

Carolyn, like your daughter, I have switched to digital photography, but I make photo books using the best and most representative photos from my trips. They make great memoirs and the photo book I made of a family trip in 2016 and gave my parents for Christmas that year has become a treasured reminder of the trip for them.

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kathy_t

I always hand-write journals when I travel. Some are detailed and others are just jotted notes. I choose write by hand in a notebook small enough to carry in my purse because that way I'm able to write at any opportunity and it does not take up part of my evening every day. My goal is always to type my notes shortly after I return home, but I have a stack of little notebooks that have never been typed. However, I also have a nice 3-ring binder full of really nice travel journals. My travel partners have always enjoyed receiving copies.

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laceyvail 6A, WV

Patrick Leigh Fermor's journals, turned into books many years after his travels, are magnificent classics. He was a teenager in the early 30s when he walked from the hook of Holland across eastern Europe; two books about that trip were published in his lifetime and the third, put together from his notes, after his death. He also spent much time in Greece when he was older (fought with the partisans there during the war), and wrote a couple of travel books about Greece.

Fermor's style and polymathic interests and knowledge make for travel books like nothing you have ever read before. He's been one of my favorite authors for many years. I cannot recommend him highly enough.

Rory Stewart has written two terrific travel books also, one about walking across Afghanistan shortly after 9/11 and another about walking through the borderlands of England. Another great writer.

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Tat Shark
  • Travel Blogs
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colleenoz

I’ve kept a travel journal since our first overseas trip back in 2006. I try to write in it daily, and usually write three or so pages. I include meals we ate, things we saw and did, how we travelled, people we met, observations on how our destination is different from home and speculations on why, little drawings to illustrate things that aren’t clear, prices we paid...

They’re a great reference for reminiscing, researching what we did and when, and providing information for others. All the journals are different, books I’ve bought in our travel destinations or gifts I’ve been given by others who know I journal.

I prefer travel journals to interactive media because they include the traveller’s thoughts and reactions.

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bigdogstwo

Colleen,

I agree with you. While all of this interactive media certainly has a place these days, I find myself turning inward more often. Interactive media doesn't reflect ME, or MY experience. It only reflects what someone else deemed important. Two people could go to the same place at the same time and have two totally different experiences. Or meals, or perspectives. One of my biggest fears, as people don't take the time to write, or kids are not being taught cursive, is that we will lose the ability to record personal, lasting, thoughts without the aid of something that has a screen.

PAM

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Crowdo

I think this is a great idea. I think I'll use it next time. Thanks!

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yoyobon_gw

Pam......ever since my four grandchildren were born I have kept a journal for them, relating stories of things they did or telling them about the world and my hopes and dreams for them as they grew up........and my realization is that they probably won't be able to read the journals because I wrote in cursive !

This is the reality.

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skibby (zone 4 Vermont)

An incentive for them to learn Bon.

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yoyobon_gw

Hah......I've tried teaching my 10 year old grandson and he is as stubborn as a mule ! And the schools do nothing to promote learning cursive.

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annpanagain

I remember we had a discussion about cursive writing and how shocked I was that it is not being taught now. Apparently my Great-grandchildren learn a sort of printing with a looping tail that is a kind of semi-cursive.

I write my diary entries in cursive and use abbreviated words but must admit that I wish I had been more detailed when I read back my past years! The initials that meant something then do not now! I am usually ready for bed when I write so it is a wonder I have even written legibly at that time of night!

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yoyobon_gw

I've done some googling for writing with flourishes and have created some very beautiful renditions of my granddaughters names. Each time I write it in a note or on an envelope I hope they appreciate the beauty of it.

https://www.amylattacreations.com/2017/06/hand-lettering-flourishes-free-practice-sheets.html


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Scott Preot

I think this is a great idea. I think I'll use it next time. It has never occurred to me to keep a flight log, even though I travel very often because of work. I have to have 20 flights every year and I think your idea will be useful for me. It is also very important for me that my little daughter is always with me. That's why I found a great one https://babyjoggerstrollers.com.au/what-is-the-best-pram-to-buy-in-2020/. In this place, I managed to find a comfortable transport for my baby. Thank you for the idea! I think that my daughter will be interested in filling out the flight log

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