Posted on Monday, 16th May 2011 by

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A Journal is a Great Way to Remember

I often plan to keep a journal when I travel but to be honest I either never put pen to paper or I start and capture a couple of days and then… well nothing.  When I have planned a particularly fun vacation with friends or the travel plans take me to an exotic or historical area I am more inclined to keep a journal before going to bed each night as a way of remembering the activities, people and adventures or discoveries of the day.

My most recent travel journal covered a vacation with my partner to Venice Italy and Greek Cruise.  We met some extremely fun people from Scotland, Australia and the English Channel Islands.  I filled pages with stories from evenings on the ship with our new friends.  One evening we attended the ship’s Karaoke show.  Our Australian friend stood up to dance and sing along with one poor sole who had lost track of the chorus and she was able to help her regain her composure, while another singer was so difficult to listen to our Scottish friend commented “where’s Ted Bundy when you need him?”.   It wasn’t always easy to understand our Scottish friend but his wife assured us that we probably didn’t want to hear everything he had to say.  We laughed so much on that cruise and my journal is a great reminder of the fun we had and the friends we made on that ship.

You will also find your journal to be a useful tool when going through photos to add a caption and notes on who is in the photos.  Another benefit in writing a journal is remembering the great places you had a memorable meal at and those places you want to make sure you never eat at again.  I enjoyed Venice enough that there is no doubt I’ll return to visit again and my journal will help me avoid a really bad restaurant while helping me recall some great places to shop and eat that I want to enjoy again.

Another favorite journal I have is from an Alaska cruise tour in 2004 that I went on with three friends.  The notes in that journal keep fresh all those discoveries in Denali National Park and the train ride getting there.  We saw just about ever wild animal you can see in Denali.  Grizzly Bears, including a mother with 3 cubs, Dall Sheep, a Wolf, a Lynx, a herd of Caribou and a few little rodents that hide in the rocks.  The photos taken and the journal really take you back to that moment and you feel like you’re back sitting on the bus and taking it all in.

Traveling across Alaska is quite an adventure in itself.  You have never seen wilderness until you’ve gone by bus through remote areas of the state.  We were there during Moose hunting season and they were scarce, almost as if they knew they needed to hide.  We did see two that quickly disappeared in the tall brush on our way from Denali to the Wrangell St. Elias National Park region.  We also found some great fruit pies along the road and a restaurant that served up a home cooked meal for our 8 hour ride that covered a mere 110 miles.  The mountain vistas were breath taking, the air cool and crisp and the peaceful sounds of nature on that ride made it worth it!  Of course being greeted at the lodge with a glass of wine didn’t hurt either.

A journal will bring those special travel memories back to life years later.  I remind myself of this when at the end of the day I reflect on the activities, laughs and discoveries.  Because late that evening when you’re exhausted from the day’s activities it is so much easier to say “I’ll write in my journal tomorrow morning”.  But when I fall into that trap that’s when I often end up losing interest in making notes about that special place I’ve been exploring or remembering the great time I’m having with my friends.  All in all a journal is priceless at the end of a special vacation.

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