In the previous post, I provided you with an introduction to travel writing. In this post, I am going to discuss the travel journal, an essential tool for every writer who aspires to become a travel writer.
What is a travel journal? It is a notebook that you take wherever you go on your trip. You use it to record the day’s events, experiences, impressions, sights, and sounds of the trip. After your trip, you will use the information that you recorded in your travel journal to write your travel article. Most writer’s use an 8 ½ by 11 inch notebook or legal-size pad. Some writers also keep a sketch book.
What should you include in your travel journal? It depends on the writer and the type of travel article you are planning to write. Some travel writers include contact information, factual details, historical information, transportation schedules, names of places, sketches, and more. Others like to sketch scenes and include artefacts, such as postcards and travel brochures. At the very least, you need to include vivid details and sensory details about the events or experience. You should also include your thoughts and impressions of each your trip.
It is not important to focus on all the facts of the place. You can do some research in a travel guide or on the Web to find specific details, such as the history of a place or the culture. Often you can do this prior to taking the trip.
You need to write in way that allows you to remember what you have seen and heard and felt. Some writers jot down a few words or phrases as they go. Others write a summary after the experience. Your goal is to write sensory details that appeal to your sense of sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing. Your goal is also to write vivid descriptions and concrete and specific details. And your goal is to jot down as much information as you can about the trip. The more notes you have, the more options you have for writing an engaging travel article.
How should you write an entry? One of the best approaches is to experience the moment, and then write about it in your notebook. By doing this, you have time to reflect on what you have seen or heard. Another good approach is to jot down a few notes as you experience the moment, write a summer at lunchtime while the experience is still vivid in your mind, and then write another summary of the day’s events and experiences at the end of the day. Whatever approach you decided to use, you must focus on what you see, hear, and feel. To help you, jot down a few key words or phrases that will allow you to relive the experience when you are going to write your travel article.
What are you going to write? This will depend on your interest in traveling to the destination and purpose of the trip. Prior to taking the trip, you can conduct research on the type of travel article you intend to write. (For an explanation of the types of travel articles you can write, see my previous post.)Then, when you are on the trip, you can record the type of information in your notebook that will help you write your travel article.
To help you remember the experience, you ought to take photographs with a digital camera. Often a good photography says more than what you can write in your notebook. So, if you don’t own a good digital camera, and are planning to write travel articles, you should purchase one.
To help you recall the experience, you should also collect artefacts of your trip. Collecting sea shells, local newspapers, postcards, travel books, travel brochures, travel guides, and souvenirs will help you to remember how you felt and what you saw and heard. These artefacts will support you note taking.
To help record and remember the event or experience, you should also carry a tape recorder. You can use it to record your thoughts, impressions, and sounds of the place you are visiting. You can also use the tape recorder to conduct an interview. The tape recorder will support your note taking.
In summary, the purpose of the travel journal is to allow you to record what you see, hear, and feel on your trip. You should take as many notes as possible. After the trip, you will use the notes in your travel journal to write your travel article.
In the next post, I will discuss a few things related to taking travel photos and using them in your travel article.