On a recent trip to VA, DC and MD I decided to do a quilt or comic strip like approach to recording our journey. A shorter, busier trip, this was my way of capturing the memories.
In Writing Away: A Creative Guide to Awakening the Journal-Writing Traveler by Lavinia Spaulding she writes, “Everyone is capable of great discipline; most of us simply don’t realize it because we’re far more capable of great procrastination”. If you want a rewarding journal experience, you must commit to a schedule.
Getting behind in a travel journal is deadly. We have all been there. The benefit of writing about an experience soon after it occurs is that you maintain the immediacy of your emotions, your senses (the smells, colors, textures, sounds, etc.) in essence – the details. Waiting to write about something can lead to writing that is more general in its description, an overview, or worse, not writing at all. We become overwhelmed, and as Lavinia says, “Soon you’ve passed through too many magical places and befriended too many kindred wanderers to imagine sitting down to record every detail. Where would you even begin?”.
Travel offers a great chance for change. Routines, habits, schedules, responsibilities are left behind. We can be and do whatever we want. And often time is there for the taking – waiting for a plane to load, relaxing on a town square bench, sitting on a train… luxurious moments of solitude, there for us to savor and delight in.
You might start small with comfortable blocks of time. In cultivating the muscle of writing and/or sketching in your journal the important thing is to do it regularly. Daily is best. Maybe 5 minutes a day. Whatever. But open your journal and make a mark. Lavinia suggests opening our journal a few times a day – to jot down an email address, a quote. Her idea is the more we open our journals, the less intimidating and heavy is our association with writing or sketching.
On our trip to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico I began by making a note of the day’s highlights each night before bed or first thing in the morning. This kept me connected to my journal and I did it in a spiral to add to the creative element and make it fun. With this simple exercise I opened the door to more involved writing and drawing. Many afternoons found me sitting cross-legged on the bed in our sunny bedroom, relaxing and writing or drawing in my book.
My journal/sketchbook is a little over half full. As corny as this sounds I feel a real sense of pride when I say that. This could be the first book I fill. That is my intent!
For more thoughts from me and Lavinia read my post on Travel Journaling ~ the best journal.