I will be traveling to China this week. I won’t be doing much in the way of blogging during my trip, so it will be a few weeks before another blog entry. I will be busy enjoying the Chinese culture and spending time with friends. Our latest project here at Aaron’s English, a new vocabulary course on UDEMY, is almost finished. However, it will not be available just yet, because we want to make sure it is of the best quality for our students. It is projected to be ready for students by the end of this month, if all goes smoothly.
Thinking about my upcoming trip has reminded me of a great way to improve anyone’s English writing skills, travel journaling. A travel journal is a written record of events while traveling. It can include pictures, keepsakes and of course, written information. Travel journaling is a great way for people who have wanderlust to write down their experiences and impressions of places they visit. Documenting travels is as old as the written word. It serves to remind us of the things we saw and did, as well as to inspire others to explore.
Before starting out on your journey, a little planning helps. First, decide if you will keep a paper notebook-style journal or a more modern electronic one, using a tablet or laptop. I personally prefer the nostalgia of a bound notebook with lined paper. However, it is really up to you and your personal style, as well as ease of use. If you do decide to use a paper notebook, be sure you use a small sturdy notebook that can handle traveling around with you. It might be helpful to glue in pockets to hold pictures or anything else you want to save.
Once you have started your travels and are ready to record your thoughts, it is a good idea to have a focus of what you are writing about. Naturally this will be things that you find interesting and important. For example I like to focus on local food and dining experiences, nature and culture. Other ideas include architecture, art, music, fashion, historical sites or even funny things that happen. This is your journal, so think about what you will want to remember. Stay on the lookout for things the ordinary tourist might miss. Use plenty of adjectives to describe things you see and do, as well as your own thoughts, feelings and interpretations. Supplementing your entries with photographs, brochures, tickets, postcards, sketches or other keepsakes adds creativity. For example, after a delicious meal in a foreign country I once visited, I included a recipe for one of the dishes along with my journal entry about the meal.
Some people like to wait until after their travels have ended to compile their photo albums and travel journals. I think this is a mistake. I prefer to write things down as I am traveling so as not to forget anything. Look for opportunities for doing this while waiting in airports, on the bus or train, in the morning or evening and while taking a rest from walking. If you have a busy schedule and don’t have much free time, even just jotting down some short notes of things you want to remember will help you when you are able to take the time to write out a complete journal entry.
So the next time you take a trip, think about keeping a travel journal.
Keepsake: A object you keep to remind you of something, also called a souvenir
Wanderlust: A love of traveling, experiencing and discovering new places
Nostalgia: Feelings caused by remembering something from the past