My Travel Journal

Thursday, April 5, 2012

I have travelled a lot in the last 6 months and I foresee more before the year is out. Travel and shooting has always been my greatest love and as I’ve done my whole life, a big part of travel is documenting my time. From the time I was a wee thing, I have always documented my life, whether it be through photographs, collecting keepsakes from places visited, writing poems and journal entries, buying jewelry or clothing to commemorate a special time, or collecting cards and ticket stubs from concerts; it has always been a great part of how I organise my life. Collecting little memories and wrapping them up in boxes and books- my mother did the same and she passed it onto me.

When I arrived in Morocco, I was horrified to discover that I had left my Moleskine at home, so my journal unfortunately didn’t happen there. I scrounged around for scraps of paper to jot down moments that I could later transfer into a notebook.

On our first day in Paris, I wandered upon the book store, La Hune (a reader shared the name with me) and bought myself a little notebook to write in. The notebook itself has no brand or labeling whatsoever and I wish I’d bought more of them because it’s already full and I adore its soft cover and smooth writing pages.

Never great prose or even anything remotely interesting, the writing is fairly diary-esque as I jot down places visited, places to go back to, songs we listened to, and things we ate. I may note down a funny moment we shared or a travel “catch phrase”. Do you have those? There is always someone we meet or a song we hear that provides a quote worthy expression that is quoted till its death whilst away.

Along with my photographs, having these journals allows me to be transported back to all these special places in a moment…treasured keepsakes that will be with me no matter where I go. Do you do anything similar? Who else shares my love of ephemera and reminiscence?

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  • Lynn

    Bravo, you, putting together these lovely journals! I used to make scrapbooks of our camping trips to France with the kids every summer, but got less and less motivated and dedicated as years passed. What I HAVE done during our last two trips to Southeast Asia (after reading about it on is send ourselves a postcard every day, detailing the day’s adventures on the back. They are all in a large glass vase on the windowsill, all 31 + 43 of them, and I love picking one out every now and again, reading the text, admiring the stamp…and remembering….

    • Amanda

      oh my goodness, Lynn! that is such a gorgeous idea! I love that. Do you get all the stamps and postcards the first day you arrive or do you do it all each day?
      I really, really love this idea!

      • Lynn

        I buy the cards as we go along, and the stamps in bunches. We knew we’d be in Vietnam for a total of 9 days, so we bought 9 stamps in Saigon, and in Cambodia we bought several in each of the big cities, to carry us through the weeks. Postcards were a different story: Thailand and Vietnam have a well-developed tourist industry, so we found cards in every town, but Cambodia only seemed to have cards of Phnom Penh and Angkor, and some of rural scenes. The images don’t always jive with the notes in that case, as places like Battambang, Kep, Kratie had no postcards at all! :-)

  • jackie

    I keep everything I accumulate from a trip (tickets, itinerary, pamphlets, etc) and put them all in a zip bag. I have a few at home, and whenever I look through them, each item reminds me of something from the trip.

  • Daniella

    This is a great idea! I’m actually thinking of doing this for my and a friend’s trip, except scanning the pages flat, to print in a linen covered book so we both have a copy!

  • Esther Maria Swaty

    what a lovely journal! I too share your love of capturing memories, moments, and places and tucking them away to be found later. Currently I have a rather large stack of moleskines each with the dates on their spines… this year I am trying to make a soundtrack for every month, to be later added to them. Reminds me a little of Save the Last Dance, where he ran around with his little tape recorder everywhere. I try to fill my journal with more than just my own words, articles I read, research I do, current music, business cards of places I enjoyed visiting,etc. I want them to be something fun to look back at..

  • Pink Ronnie

    “Collecting little memories and wrapping them up in boxes and books” – You’ve summed it up perfect! I’ve done the same my entire life as well. I don’t get to travel much these days with little ones at home, so much of my memory collecting is to do with the kids and our family life. Next week I’m going to start doing Project Life by Becky Higgins and can’t wait! Your blog is just so lovely, Amanda. Have a lovely Easter.
    Ronnie xo

  • Cindy

    This reminds me of when Seth, Pablo and I would write into a little notebook about our weekend adventures. It was just a list of things we did, places we went to and funny quotes and sayings. I think the notebook currently resides with Pablo. Loving your Eiffel Tower drawing.

  • Carol

    I’m loving the new look to your site Amanda. It’s very calming, very serene. It’s only in the past year that I’ve increased my travelling, primarily to France. My partner (who already lives in France) and I haven’t quite made it to Paris yet, but it’s on the agenda. She was born there and lived there for a good few years (lucky thing). I have been collecting little paper/photo memories along the way and my new Moleskine is sitting there empty. Maybe that is the perfect place to start placing those memories.

  • Jade

    I keep saying I’d like to document my life more, but I just keep putting it off and forgetting about it. Laziness on my part mostly, which is a shame. I guess starting a blog is one step in the right direction!

  • allyn

    I think collecting moments is important. I mail the kids a postcard at the end of every year with my hopes for them and save in a box. As for travel moments, I’ve started creating books online to print. I also have been doodling my adventures in a journal; even if it’s to local haunts or within the state. It’s been a nice way to capture the amazing time I’ve had.

  • Mary

    This looks lovely! I love travel journals and they make for such nice memories. They make good presents too- I made one after my folks visited me in New Zealand to send to them :)

  • Kathryn

    I always feel I must write down certain things and keep tickets but not always very organised. I must bring a journal with me next time I go somewhere as I have a habit of making myself write down trips later and that’s much harder,

  • Ashley

    I love writing and journaling when I travel. Almost more so than when I’m at home. Your journal looks just darling and perfect for all the wonderful place you’ve gone and will go to.

  • Dear Demoiselle

    My mom and I made travel journals from all our vacation trips – even the ones we did when I had grown up. I haven’t been great at doing it for myself – it’s the curse of digital photography again; you take a gazillion pictures and over-document your trips instead of enjoying the cutting, glueing and writing. I was actually thinking that I wanted to start a “tango journal” for my boyfriend and me; we just got back from tango dancing in Italy – and I’ve kept our tickets and festival passes. Funny that you wrote this post just now, it made me even more inspired!

  • sue

    hi, i enjoyed reading your exchange. i too love travelling and collecting mementos…a fire recently gutted our house and all memoirs went into it. any ideas on how i can re capture my moments? tnx

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