A Writer Abroad: The Travel Journal

Kathventures / Friday, July 7th, 2017

Since holidaying in Malta last year, I’ve tried to keep a travel journal from the moment I pop on a plane until the moment I leave my new favourite place. Although I haven’t always been successful in completing a trip’s worth of stories and they aren’t always substantial entries, I am a big advocate of writing down adventures. There’s nothing like (momentarily) curing the I’m-not-travelling-right-now blues by picking up a little book full of some of your best moments and memories, transporting you back in time without even getting on a plane. WARNING: side effects are likely to include even more intense wanderlust, but the momentary escapism is worth it.

While in Malta I opted for writing a detailed list of each day, in Rome I wanted to write full diary entries, getting my writer groove on. My detailed lists included what ice cream I ate (for example, day one: Nutella!), what restaurants we visited and what activities we happily dwindled away the hours with. On the other hand, in Rome I wrote chunky paragraphs about the little things that happened as well as the big things that happened; at the same time fancying up each and every detail in a way that screams, “I just completed my English degree and I want you to know.” It’s easy to over romanticise every corner of a place when it’s as beautiful as somewhere like Rome.

I don’t think travel journals are just for writers. Aaron is far from English’s biggest fan but loves to keep a journal, keeping a far more detailed play-by-play of our trip to Dublin than I did, as well as previously writing out the day so far when I’d get ready for our evenings in Malta. I’m a very sentimental person which has also made me a hoarder. When I used to go abroad I needed to buy a souvenir or three “to remember the holiday.” I recently realised I don’t feel the need to pick up anything (although I buckled last minute and bought a Rome tshirt last month) because I much prefer taking the time to write out my trip which actually means I remember the perfect few days. I think most people would find this to be the case.

All the while, I do think it’s particularly essential for writers. When I’m abroad, I’m more inspired to write than ever. When I was younger I used to go on holiday and magic up an idea for my debut novel (which were never actually completed so hopefully my holiday in Mallorca this summer will inspire the real deal). Although a holiday might be the perfect opportunity to avoid writing and relax entirely, sometimes it creates the perfect creative outlet. Creative hobbies/job likes writing, taking photos or making videos) can crave attention; often, we can only improve if we are (for example) writing, writing and writing. As a blogger, not only do travel journals come in handy when I’m compiling blog posts about a holiday or city break, but being in a creative mindset means I have a list of new blog ideas (unrelated to my break away) for when the “I have been away, did you know?” blog posts have reached a dead end.

Do you keep a travel journal when away?

~ Kat ~

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