Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Keeping a travel journal

Some people collect souvenirs on their travels. Others take pictures to record their memories. I keep travel journals.

Why keep a travel journal

Keeping a travel journalI enjoy the process to recording my travels, as well as the results.

The process of travel journaling need not take much effort, nor time. Your drawings can be as detailed and  elaborate as you wish, or they can be simple sketches. While travelling, you may not have the time to spare, hence . It should be a pleasurable activity. Draw whatever pleases you and take notes – write your thoughts and observations. Stick items in your sketchbook if you wish.

At the end of your trip, you will have ended up with a record and precious memories of places that you have been, scenes and things that you came across (that you found interesting) and recorded, and notes that you took. It will be a precious souvenir that you will treasure your whole life. I started my first travel journal 13 years ago. To date, I have a reasonable pile, and each and everyone is precious. I enjoy looking through each one now and again, and going down memory lane.


The materials you require are minimal, but these depends on your personal style but since you are on travelling, you might want to keep them quite basic and portable.

The must haves are a sketchbook, and a pen or pencil. Easy right?

Other things that you might like to bring along may be some colours. I like watercolours, coloured pens and colour pencils. Watercolour comes in small travel boxes, or you could use watercolour pencils. Carry a water brush and you will be able to paint on the go. Coloured pens and colour pencils are highly portable, and require no additional tools to use.

How to keep a travel journal

How long
Unless you are travelling specially to draw, fit your travel journaling to your travel plans (not the other way round). Draw if you want to take a break from walking and sightseeing. It need not take too long – 5 minutes if that’s how long you are resting for. Or 15 minutes if you are having a cup of coffee. Longer if you have time. There are no rules.
What to draw


My travel journal is a jumble of all sorts of things. I enjoy sitting down for a good cup of coffee, and looking at the world go by; taking in the sights and culture of the new place from a cafe window. If you go through my travel journal, you will find many sketches of coffee, food and people. You will also find notes that I take. They could be just a record of a place, or my thoughts at the moment e.g. having discovered a particularly delicious donut in an unlikely place.

My travel journal will also have plein air drawings of streets and buildings. Sometimes I even record things in my hotel room, and in Japan, I could not resist drawing a fancy toilet.

How often

I draw in my travel journal everyday when I am travelling. That’s just me. Draw every day, every other day, or play catch-up every 3 days. It’s entire up to you. Keeping a travel journal should never be a chore.

Happy travel journaling.

I started my first travel journal 13 years ago. To date, I have a reasonable pile, and each and everyone is precious. I enjoy looking through them now and again, and going down memory lane.

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