It is finally here, and not too soon, Summer ’19! We are sure you have started planning your summer holidays, short breaks and around the world trips. The wonderful thing about writing and recording a trip means it will be remembered for many years to come.
Scaramanga have created a short guide to writing a leather travel journal, with useful advice and twenty helpful tips.
Of course writing a travel journal is nothing new. Many of you will know accounts of history are based on people’s traveling writing. More contemporary writing such as Jack Kerouac’s On the Road is a novel written largely as a travel journal based on the spontaneous road trips of Kerouac and his friends across mid-century America. This is a great example of the wonderful work that can be produced from journalling on the move.
Our Top Tips to Start Your Travel Journal
1. Generally, travel writing should not be taken too seriously. In addition, you may not get round to keeping up the effort if your expectations are too high and you (and others) may find it too boring!
2. A leather notebook can be a great memoir. Think about what you want to remember in ten years time and whether it is for you or to share. This could influence what you put in or leave out.
3. Use the start and the end to set the scene and as a reference point. The type of things you can use may include: your itinerary; a map of your route, and cast list of people you’ve met en route. You can also include a list of ‘bests’ from your trip. e.g. best view, best meal, best wildlife.
4. Try taking a freestyle approach to journal writing. Part of the fun of writing a journal is breaking away from strict schedules, so keep your journal with you as you go. Furthermore, scribble down bits and bobs whenever the mood takes you.
5. Your entries don’t have to be chronological nor do you have to record everything.
6. If you’re traveling with someone or met someone memorable along the way, get them to write a short story or a doodle in your journal. A few of these third-party views will add another dimension you would not normally have in your travel journal. So go ahead a get that fit waiter to draw a smiley and sign your journal.
7. Include dialogue, it could simply be funny things you’ve overheard.
8. Avoid too much “then I did this, and then I did that …”
9. You could write about the people you meet, what they look like, what they’re wearing, their customs and language.
10. Picture it! Just a simple picture of a building or a mountain can mean so much when you look back.
11. Turn your journal into a work of art and create a bullet journal. Stick in tickets, bank notes, stamps, beer bottle labels, funny road signs, types of wine drunk cuttings from local papers, print out memorable e-mails. tip: carry a small glue stick with you and stick your items in as you write and avoid loosing them. Remember it’s your journal, so stick in whatever you want and interests you. – whatever – it’s really up to you!!
12. Adding colour – by using coloured pens or highlighters – will make the text a whole lot more interesting to the eye and will draw attention to more important elements.
13. Don’t try and describe everything in a scene, just pick out one that grabs you attention and expand on it.
14. Get it down while it’s fresh. It’ll be much more vivid and leave gaps so you can add things you remember later.
15. Stick in a small map of the areas and route you’re planning. Then add dots or highlight the areas / towns / cities you’ve visited.
16. Use one notebook for each trip. Choose a different colour for each one and build a cool collection.
17. Go unlined. An unlined journal will allow you more freedom to create a more interesting travel journal.
18. If you e-mail friends and family or use a blog, your travel journal can act a as a prompt for your trip. So you don’t have to remember what you did between entries.
19. Share your journals when you get back, publish them online with text and upload photos, send them to guidebook publishers or local newspapers. Your experience will be help others to travellers.
20. Emergency money: take a £20 / $50 / €50 bank note to the inside of your journal cover and staple a copy of your itinerary over it to disguise the cash stashing spot. Break into it in emergencies only!!!