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Why Journal? | More than a backpack

Why Journal?

For many people, the concept of having to keep a written log of what you’re up to while travelling sounds like a chore. Why take the time to write down what you happen to be doing on any given day when you can just take pictures along the way?

With the whirlwind that is a modern holiday, it can hardly seem like a relaxing experience at all – so many “must-see” sights to snap on your phone, tourist attractions, food to sample. The list of “stuff you HAVE to do” goes on and on and, by the time the holiday is done, you might have forgotten half of why you picked that destination in the first place. For that, journaling is an antidote, and here’s a few tips on why it can be such a rewarding experience.

Setting the time aside to write about your day can be a great opportunity to really reflect on the day you’ve had, the things you’ve done and the new places and people you’ve interacted with. It’s a time to take note of things that cannot be captured by camera and, instead of rushing as fast as you can from site to site, bar to bar, shop to shop, can be a time to recuperate and actually absorb what you’re experiencing.

As well as the philosophical and mental benefits that journaling your trip can have, there’s also the practical. Use your journal to plan parts of your trip. This will prolong the excitement and make the joy of being out somewhere unknown (or somewhere pleasantly familiar) all the greater, and that feeling of excitement that much stronger when you finally get there!

Think about what you’re most excited about on the trip and make note of your favourite things to do, if you’re going somewhere you know, or make note of the activities that have caught your eye best if you’re going somewhere new. The simple act of writing these things down will get the cogs in the brain turning and could lead you on to finding other, completely different things you didn’t even know you enjoyed! New experiences, new memories, all stored in your little book.

A journal doesn’t just have to be for writing, either. Are you a doodler? Fill those margins! Cover unused pages with scribbles and squiggles. It’s yet another way to process the things you’re seeing out in the world and also a great way to pass the time and develop yourself and your connection to the trip, whereas the time might otherwise have just been spent scrolling on your phone.

So many of these tips boil down to increasing “mindfulness” on a trip. A vague term and a little pretentious, you might say, but simply taking the time to step back and take in what you’re seeing – focusing on the present instead of focusing on where you’re heading next, it can have such an effect on the travelling experience and can make it so much more rewarding. Give it a try on your next trip!

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