Travel journaling, either with a paper journal or electronically on a blog, isn’t a new activity, but it is becoming increasingly poplar amongst those traveling abroad. For many, especially those who choose travel blogging, the motive may be to generate an income from their experiences or to gain a sense of community with other nomads. For others, it could be about cementing the memory of the once-in-a-lifetime trip.
If you aren’t sure whether you should pick up the pen—or keyboard—on your next trip abroad, check out some of these benefits of travel journaling and blogging and see if they help you make up your mind.
- Journaling may help you notice more during the trip. When you commit to writing about your travels either in a journal or on a blog, you spend your entire trip more aware than you normally would. This is because you’re actively seeking things to write about and working to remember them as your mind creates the narrative for each day’s journal entry. Not only will this lead to some amazing entries, it will also allow you to get a lot more out of your trip.
- You’ll have a way to remember the colorful details. A trip abroad can be an overwhelming experience and, over time, it’s natural to forget much of what happened, especially those small details that can add a real texture to the memory. By keeping a written record of your journey, you can remind yourself of some of the smaller, no less important, details even as the years conspire to wash them away from your mind.
- You could earn or save money. As we discussed at the start of this post, some people do earn money by blogging regularly about their travels. They may earn it through ad revenue as traffic visits their website or save it by writing reviews of places they visit in exchange for a free stay or meal. This is not exactly a simple or easy endeavor, but it might be worth exploring if you’re taking a long, involved trip.
- You’ll have complete documentation in case you become ill. Let’s say that you get sick three days in to your trip and have to use your international health insurance policy to visit a doctor. Your doctor will likely ask where you’ve been, what you’ve eaten and what wildlife or insects you’ve been exposed to. It’s much easier to whip out your journal and tell them all the details than it is to try and recall off the top of your head—especially if you aren’t feeling well. And if you’re incapacitated, the journal could give answers that you aren’t able to give, allowing the physician to select the right course of treatment. Writing down emergency contact, healthcare proxy and international health insurance policy information in the journal will also be effective in securing the kind of treatment you would prefer.
- You’ll have documentation for other unfortunate events. Let’s say you misplace your wallet and don’t realize it until the next day. Trying to remember every place you went and each stop you made could be a nightmare, but if you have a travel journal, you can completely retrace your steps.
- You can avoid repeating mistakes. If you take another trip abroad in the future, you won’t want to repeat any of the mistakes you made on the last trip. With a travel journal to review, you can remind yourself of all the things that didn’t work out the way you wanted and avoid them the second time around.
- You’ll remember the name and location of that little café. When exploring on your trip, you’re bound to find some unique, out-of-the-way business or location that you want to visit again or suggest to others who are taking a trip to that city—but if you don’t remember the address or name of it, this becomes impossible. By making a record of it in your travel journal, you can visit it year after year and refer all your friends.
Keeping a travel journal doesn’t have to require any great writing talent or creativity. Just give yourself the tools to write information and stories down. Designate a time each day to fill in your notes and you’ve got yourself a record that might end up much more useful than photos.