Green Travel Magzine

empty beach with shrubs and rocks, a sign post pointing in different directions indicating the location of different destinations
Source: Conor Rees

A Reflective Journey: The Art of Travel Journaling

Travel has the potential to bring real fulfillment into our lives, because it connects us to new cultures, perspectives, and experiences. Being nudged out of our comfort zones can seem scary at first, but doing so means that you’ll learn more about yourself – and the world around you. 

Travel journaling is a unique way to enhance your personal journey. It’s a place to reflect on all of your new experiences and the things you’ve learned in one special book. You can write about trips taken, making it a collage of memories and thrilling discovery. It doesn’t matter where you’re going or what company you bring along, a travel journal is meant to be uniquely you. 

Partaking in this activity also has its benefits. With every entry, you’ll be able to remember more of your trip in detail, making it easier to learn through your observations. You may reflect by looking back at your adventures, applying that knowledge to other aspects of your life. To begin, all you need is a destination in mind. 

multiple colorful hot air balloons dot the sky over canyon landscape
Source: Farshad Rezvanian

What You’ll Need

There is no limit on what materials you can use for your travel journal, but here are a few basic ideas to get you started: 

Don’t be afraid to get creative with it! No two journals are the same, so use whatever decor you want to personalize yours.  

What a Journal Can Do For You

A travel journal has practically limitless potential. When you go to plan out your trip, include things like restaurants you want to try and sights you want to explore. Do some research to deduce the best way to get there, then jot down contact info for the accommodations or transport you might need. 

Another way to use your journal is for predictions. After all, our perceptions of a certain culture can be immensely different from what we actually experience. Write down your thoughts of what a certain place will be like; when you finish your journey, compare those notes to what you originally expected. This is an excellent way to shift your thinking and move beyond stereotypes. 

blue, green, yellow and red umbrellas hang in the sky
Source: Jean-Philippe Delberghe

Keeping up with writing as you travel is very important, as well. It is much easier to remember the fine details while they are fresh in your mind, so try to make entries often. They don’t have to be particularly long, but it helps if they are meaningful to you in some way. For example, how did that day at location X make you feel? The more you include, the more you’ll be able to reflect at the journey’s end. 

You may even consider writing after your departure. Explain what the trip was like, what you learned along the way from locals, or what really surprised you. Even disappointments have value, because you can use them to make your next trip abroad all the better. 

Prompts for Inspiration

A blank page may seem daunting, especially if you haven’t journaled before. Where to begin? How can all these ideas be organized? Below, you’ll find a few prompts to get your thoughts flowing and your pen moving – but remember, these are just to give you a starting direction: 

  • Why are you going to this destination? Write out the purpose behind your trip, even if there is no purpose at all. 
  • What do you want to experience on your journey? List sights, music, food, or any other details. This will both get you excited for the road ahead and help you organize. 
  • Write about all the people you interact with along the way. Whether it’s new friendships you find with the locals or old companions along for the ride, explain how they affected your experience. Perhaps they taught you something you didn’t know before? 
  • Let your journal double as a food diary. What foods did you love? What did you really hate? What can’t you live without after you return home? Keeping track can significantly influence your personal taste.
  • What were the ups and downs of the adventure? Did something go extremely right – or extremely wrong? 
  • Write about yourself! Did anything make you feel uneasy as you traveled? Did something draw you in? Think about the journey as a whole and whether or not it helped you grow. 
  • Help others by creating a travel guide. Know someone who’s headed to the same place? Give a few recommendations or details of note.
  • If you could go back and do it all again, what would you have changed about your journey? Is there anything you wish you did or didn’t do? This can all help you for the next adventure abroad. 
  • Make a fun wish list of all the new places you want to check off. 
pastel colored buildings on cobblestone road, a white moped leans off to the side
Source: La So

Helpful Tips to Remember

Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind as you craft your travel journal. First and foremost, don’t worry one bit about being an artist. If you feel as though your illustrations fail to capture the experience, use other methods. You can always incorporate polaroids, postcards, and other related items you might find in your drawer. 

To make entries really pop off the page, collect little momentos while you travel. Think train tickets, tags, local newspapers, receipts, foreign currency, wrappers, or logos. This will breathe new life into your journal! 

Travel with a Purpose

Exploring the world is wonderful on its own, but when we take the time to reflect, we gain a new understanding of it. We can apply all that was learned for future endeavors, whatever they may be. That’s what makes travel journaling such a worthy hobby, because it encourages us to fully be present in the moment. So, the next time you find yourself away from home, have a journal at the ready – you never know what memories await.

ecomadic is a sustainable tourism brand that empowers travelers to make more conscious decisions. By curating a marketplace to easily find and identify responsible businesses to support, and providing educational publications through our online green travel magazine, ecomadic is committed to helping empower travelers make responsible choices throughout their journeys.


Want to learn more?

Travel Journal: Ideas, Tips, and How To Write a Travel Diary – Penzu 

An Easy Guide To Travel Journaling – Collective Gen


 

Hannah Brunotts
Hannah is a passionate environmentalist whose love for sustainability has turned into a lifelong mission. She attends Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania, majoring in Professional Writing with a minor in Environmental Communication. Hannah enjoys traveling, kayaking, and getting lost in a good novel. Her dream is to experience the world one culture at a time.