The moment I stumbled across the “bullet journal” and “travel journal” tags on Tumblr and started watching videos of people making them on YouTube, I knew I had slipped into a rabbit hole that would be difficult to get out of. The timing of this new obsession was perfect, however, as I was getting ready to pack for my family’s trip to the Philippines and Singapore and I was determined to create the most beautiful, filled journal of tidbits and memories anyone had ever seen.
Long story short, my journal didn’t quite look as aesthetically pleasing as the ones I saw on Tumblr or YouTube, but I did have a ton of fun writing and pasting things, and it was a great entry into the world of travel journaling and scrap booking. All in all, I chalked it up to a great first try.
My tools of choice included:
- A notebook (duh), this one is a kraft cover Moleskine with blank pages
- My favourite 0.7 Muji pens
- An Exacto knife (put this in your check-in luggage in case it gets taken away at security)
- Washi or making tape (from the National Book Store in Manila for 67 pesos / $1.85 CAD… So cheap!)
- Glue tape
- A small stapler with the cutest tiny staples
- Not pictured: a small folder to keep odds and ends until I sit down to put everything together
Here is what my journal from my Philippines and Singapore trip looked like:
Some notes on my Philippines-Singapore journal:
- I had intended on keeping every single thing but somehow I ended up with much less. Among the things I kept were receipts, tickets, bills, and postcards, but I’m definitely making sure to keep everything including napkins and labels next time!
- I made a little list of writing prompts to look at if I ever found myself at a loss of something to write. I didn’t actually use any of these prompts but they’re handy to have if the situation ever arises, and I’ll be using them for reference in the future!
- I used tape to create a makeshift pocket on one of the pages to stick tickets, travel info, and other straggling pieces in. This turned out to be quite handy!
- Not only did I write daily summaries, I also kept track of the little details and the way I felt during the trip. I think this is a good way to better relive the memories after the trip is over.
- Since I had so many long stretches of writing (something I’ll likely change in the future), I used highlighters to, well, highlight key points in the text which will help in when I read it back in the future. This is something I used to do when reading textbooks or articles in university as it helped my eyes stay focused. I’m just not a huge fan of long-form!
Things I’ll do next time:
- I’m going to make it a priority to sit myself down and write my day the night of. It can get a little overwhelming and mind-muddling to cover 3-4 days in one sitting.
- Unfortunately I don’t have a Polaroid to take and insert photos while on the trip, so I’ll put together a photo collages of certain days and paste them in the corresponding pages.
- I’ll probably paste more things in the pages to cut the text blocks in the future. Pages full of text are totally fine, but I prefer to read them back in chunks, plus it’s more aesthetically pleasing to look at that way.
If you’ve been thinking about travel journaling, or journaling in general, please do it! Not only is it great writing practice, it’s like creating a souvenir that is unique to only you! I used to throw all my “scraps” from a trip in a box, and while memory boxes are always fun to dig through, I’m finding that having a journal you’ve written in to provide some context makes going memory lane more vivid and the nostalgia that much stronger. I’m totally going to continue travel journaling even while I’m home!
There’s no right or wrong when it comes to journaling, and you can put as little or as much effort into it as you want! For me, it’s been a way to remember the smallest details of a trip (like the way the ocean left tiny grains of salt after splashing us) that you might otherwise forget with time. I don’t think I suffer from FOMO as much as I suffer from FOF (fear of forgetting), and journaling has helped a lot with that.
Thanks for reading! Feel free to leave a comment with your views on journaling, if you’ve journaled a trip before, or anything about journaling! How many times can I say journaling in a paragraph. Journaling.