When it comes to keeping a travel journal, a lot of people tell me that they have good intentions, but on the trip they lose interest. They don't want to sit down and write at the end of the day. They're surrounded by so much inspiration, but can't get started. If keeping a journal is a burden, or feels like homework, you won’t enjoy it and likely won’t do it. It should be fun and low pressure. Anyone can be more creative while traveling, not just artists and writers.
Feeling stuck? Here are some tips on keeping creative while on the move.
Write everywhere, all day long.
Don’t wait for the end of the day to do a grand recap, you won’t get very far; you'll likely fall asleep and you'll definitely forget things. Instead, write small, quick bits as you go. When you are waiting for your coffee to arrive, taking a walk, gazing in a museum; take a minute and open up your journal to jot down a few thoughts. Quick thoughts about what you're doing as you go create little snapshots of the day. A funny snippet of conversation you overheard, a smell that you picked up in the air just then; all these will later bring you back to that moment.
Don't focus only on what you're doing.
Travel journals don’t need to be detailed recordings of everything on the trip. We went here, we did this, we stopped here and then ate this. That doesn't say much that a print out of your itinerary couldn't tell you. Instead, use your journal to expand on what you're experiencing. What are you smelling? What are you hearing? What are you thinking about? Are you feeling inspired? Have an idea that seems crazy? Jot it down.
Draw, even if you think you can't draw.
Drawings don't have to be perfect, but the act of drawing something connects you to it in a unique way. It forces you to slow down and really look at something. Don't feel pressured to capture the grand scene of something if that seems overwhelming, instead sketch little details like the pattern in the tiles or the lettering on a sugar packet.
Make collages as you go.
Travelers love picking up bits of ephemera. At home, your coffee's sugar packet is trash, but in Lisbon with the logo of the café you're in, it somehow becomes more precious. Glue these items in and write about where you found it, or wait until you have a collection and make a little collage out of all of it. (Always carry a glue stick!)
Put the journal away.
Being creative isn’t about being busy. It’s about being open to new ideas, and sometimes you need to chill to make that happen. Put the phone away, put the journal away, and just watch the sunset. Let yourself experience the moment, instead of documenting it instantly for all your followers. Stop and replenish your creative energy and you'll return home refreshed and bursting with ideas.
Photo credit: David Hansen