I believe that travelling is by far the most enriching experience one can have, though a bit in a fun way or by overall aspects, in case you argue by comparing it with masters from Harvard. But sadly once the trip is over, all we are left with is photographs and few memories or mental screenshots of few places which too fade away slowly with time. To change the status quo, I indulge in writing during my travels, and suggest you too to maintain a travel Journal. Sounds very exciting, for documenting your trips at micro level, but what all to include and write. Here we go.
Before your Journey starts, use the Journal to create travel goals by creating checklists of restaurants, monuments, sightseeing, what you want to eat, what all adventure sports you will take part in etc. Create an itinerary with timeline to see what all you got and what you need to give in.
Write about how you are feeling before the trip, how it was most needed, how eagerly you are waiting for it to start, with what people like friends and family you have had discussion with about this trip, what all preparation you have done for the trip, etc.
Express yourself on why you want to go to this trip, what all things you will think upon in leisure time, how this trip will change you, and especially why you chose that destination along with what were your alternative options to visit and why they lost.
Life looks forward because there are expectations, and you too must be having for this trip. Write them all, like how itsgonna be, what you will do entire day, or if you will find someone special to date, what weather do you expect, what expenses you expect, and all of your state of mind.
You would also want to document all the shopping you did for this trip, so go ahead and stick all bills and brand tags in your journal, they will speak well enough for the cause.
Click a picture of yourself at the airport while leaving your hometown and stick it to the journal. The journal should be more lively than just words.
Write about your co passenger on flight train bus or cab enroute to your destination, for which you will also have to talk to him. Write where he was going, was he cute or sturdy, what was he wearing, was he weird or sorted out person, what his presence made you felt, etc.
Write about the deep breath of fresh air you took when you boarded your first step on your destination, how was the crowd, what culture it felt like, did you felt like a stranger or at home.
Stick the business card of your cab on journal along with that of your hotel. Write what was hotel lobby like, did you find a warm porter, what came first to your mind on entering hotel room.
Write about the city architecture, how the houses (along with some pictures) are and popular market buildings (along with picture).
Make some space for your travel tickets, of Bus, of Flights, or local commute, of local transit line, or local tram. They are great memoirs, and tell the story of city in a branded way.
Sit down at a busy café or on a bench in busy market area. Listen to conversations, observe people and write down how the vibes of city are, or are there any eyes staring you.
When commuting to a local sightseeing spot, write down the names of streets you pass, like a journey to that place, click pictures of striking pass by and stick them too.
Western culture is everywhere, but still you will find bunch of people carrying the legacy of traditional dresses forward. Write down how they wear it, and how it’s part of their lifestyle.
Get in a candid conversation with your cab driver or your hotel staff to know strange facts about the city, it always will be interesting and also write them down.
When few days pass and you get habituated, write how you feel and how the place is different from your hometown. Write if you would stay for entire life in this place, or if you are homesick.
Write about the tasty local cuisines you ate. If possible, also write the recipe for cooking it too. Get clicked a picture with chef and a plate of freshly cooked cuisine, etc. and embellish the journal.
Write about the stage of your life. Every now and then we are in one of it. Write down what are the most important things right now in your life, important decisions to take, your priorities. Think about them deeply in your leisure time, and write what all you will change and you will do.
At end of every day, write summary of the day wrapping everything you went through, what you saw, what you did, and also what you didn’t did! Along with dreams you intend to see tonight.
The Journal shouldn’t be all wordy. Make it interactive with sticking maps of the destination or a sightseeing spot or a large monument, you receive while buying tickets, or tourism board offices.
Cut outs from tourist brochures can be a great fit for your Journal. They can be hugely informative, and the cut outs can be put in specific section of that place in your journal. Or if you want the whole of it, stick the whole brochure somewhere in between.
Remember all your bills or any one of them (Including those ATM receipts with address of the ATM, and little name of local bank) is not at all a trash, especially if you have a travel journal. Stick em.
Postcards are another great piece of art that can bring your journal to life. So stich them in between the places you visit. Try to make both sides accessible, it adds great feel.
Go to the post office, and buy stamp tickets of different designs, or possibly all designs available till it doesn’t gets too costly, and stick them on different pages of your journal, probably at lower right.
Bottle labels, wrappers, packaging of local food items is another great way to save memories and scribble down how was consuming it, and how it made you feel.