My travel journal
After I spent the all summer locked down behind my computer at work, I treated myself with a few days of vacation in the amazing Edinburgh in September. Even though I took my bullet journal with me on this trip, I have to confess that I didn’t open it once during my stay in Scotland. My travel journal was the one tool I choose to rely on to organise my 4 days holidays and to keep memories of it. Here’s a tour of this tiny notebook that have been my sidekick during my city trip, and helped me to enjoy it as much as possible.
Before I go
It had been a year that I didn’t had “real” holidays (holidays during which I leave Paris for some days). One of my goals was to free myself of any plan and I decided that I didn’t really needed a plan before I left for Edinburgh. The only plan was to walk in the city, let it surprise me and spend some time outside the touristy areas. So I didn’t have a schedule before I got there to make sure I won’t put myself under pressure to achieve it.
The spreads dedicated to the preparation of my trip are therefore few and straight to the point:
– A checklist of things to do or to buy before leaving: it’s the first page of my travel journal. I always start a list as soon as I have booked my flights, several weeks ahead of the day I leave to make sure I make some time to buy or borrow the stuff I need to enjoy my trip.
– My itinerary details and AirBnB address: nothing special about this spread, but I find it super handy. At least, I was sure I wouldn’t go to the wrong airport to catch my flight
– A packing list: it’s one of my essential as I always tend to forget to pack things (usually my hair brush…). This list is also super useful when packing again to get back home for I can check that everything is back in my suitcase.
– A mini bucket list : even thought I didn’t wanted to have a precise plan and schedule for my stay in Edinburgh, I did have a mini bucket list of sites and areas I wanted to visit.
I’m always super happy and excited when starting to get ready for a trip in a new travel journal. Opening a brand new notebook and filling the first pages with these lists is making the departure more closer and that’s definitely the point where holidays are starting to feel real.
Travel journal daily log
As soon as I’m travelling, I try to keep a travel journal. It’s not something that comes easily for me to keep a journal in general (I’m currently struggling with my memory cards project), but it’s one of the small rituals do on holidays. So I followed this routine during my 4 days in Edinburgh, spending time in tea rooms to update it along the day, enjoying shortbread or scones at the same time.
The journaling part of my travel journal is a day by day memory log, with all my impressions about the city, the places I visited and all the small details that caught my attention. I also wrote down all the informations about restaurants and coffee shops I enjoyed and cute shops I spotted in the different areas along my way.
I really wrote a lot during this city trip : most of my daily logs are taking 4 pages at the very least, and I take this as a small victory over my difficulty to keep a journal.
I left Paris with, as my main and only camera, my Instax mini 7. I didn’t regret this choice for one second. I took plenty of photos of small details spotted during my days of walk in the city. These little pictures were just the perfect to be added to my travel journal and are, in my view, the best souvenirs I could have taken back with me.
Left page: mini bucket list / Right page: mini map as a summary of my walks
Besides this day by day memory log, I dedicated a special spread of my travel journal to a mini map of the city. Edinburgh is typically a city that is small enough to explore walking and I wanted an overview of my walks across its streets. So I created this non-accurate-at-all mini map and draw the itineraries of my strolls as a summary of the places I visited during my stay.
Getting back to reality
When I’m travelling I try to stay as far as possible of my normal life routines and to push all the daily life thoughts away (and the spleen that comes with them). Thing is my brain isn’t always super cooperative and I can’t help myself to feel anxious about a task that will need a urgent action plan when getting back home. To keep my anxiety down, I always dedicate a spread for a “getting back home” braindump in my travel journal.
Once I’m home, I just migrate it in my regular bullet journal to make sure I don’t forget to take care of the most important tasks first.
My travel journal is helping me to ease the transition between the joy of travelling and daily life. I usually spend some time the days after getting back home to refine my travel journal a bit: labelling the pictures and picking the best of them, putting some masking tape on the edges of the pages as an index… And it’s only once my travel journal is finalized and join the other ones on my shelves that the travel is over for good.
I keep all my travel journals as they were small treasures. They’re holding all the memories created and the experiences lived during holidays. I don’t think I’ll have the opportunity to travel before spring, but I always find a great joy to spend some time reading my old journals on the rainy days during the winter season. And if I have friends planning a trip in a city or country I’ve already visited, I can super easily find good restaurants or nice shops to recommend to them!
PS: if you’re still not sure about giving Edinburgh a go, I can definitely tell you that I had a blast there. I would recommend this city to anyone as I had one of the best travelling experience of my life there.