It was my second year in college, and I had a bit of an identity crisis. Much like many other college students, I was experiencing too much freedom for the first time in my life. While my friends were participating in borderline reckless behavior, I, on the other hand, was having a mini existential crisis about who I was and who I wanted to be. It was triggered when I was trying to communicate with my grandmother. She commented that my Hindi wasn't as good as it used to be. I had already forgotten how to write it but to be told that I was forgetting how to speak it made me upset. How could this be?!
Hindi was my first language. I grew up speaking it for the first decade of my life. Granted, I was never good at writing it, so the fact that I had forgotten how to write it was not as surprising. However, forgetting how to speak in that language was a no go. It felt like I was losing an essential aspect of who I was as a person. It was the first time I was trying to figure out what it meant to be multi-cultured in America and more specifically, what it meant for me, personally.
I decided that to figure this out, I needed to go to India. I needed to spend time with members of my family, cousins, aunts, friends, whom I hadn't seen in well over fifteen years. So, I created my own "study abroad" program and decided to couch surf across India for six months. When I arrived, I was greeted with so much love and care that I felt compelled to find a way to record as much of it as possible. I ran across India in search of art supplies so I could keep an art journal with me along the way.
This was the first time I created a travel journal, and since then It is something I have done on every major travel trip. Even today, I look back and am reminded of memories, and experience that I had forgotten. However, the best part is when my family visits, and they look through the journal and re-live those experiences with me.
Here is why I love traveling with a journal, and it's the first thing I pack:
They are the best ways to record a memory.
A travel journal provides the space to tell the story behind a photo, ticket stub, or token. It's a great way to record small moments, feelings, words, or emotions that go along with the experience.
They make a great gift.
Travel can be an intimate experience and to gift a journal filled with moment showcasing that you valued the time spent with your travel buddy can be a wonderful gift. It also makes for a very unique and personalized gift for those that are hard to shop for.
They are great keepsakes.
I must have taken a thousand photos of my six month trip to India. Most of those photos are saved in an external hard drive, and I hardly ever go back and look at them. However, I often look at the few that I printed and added to my travel journal. When my cousin's visit me, they grab the journal, and we reminisce about all those memories.
They help you disconnect.
Creating a travel journal can be a lot of fun. Turn off your devices, surround your self with lots of arts and crafts, and get creative.
They help you get perspective.
I love how much gratitude I feel when I am creating my travel journal. It's easy to forget how lucky we are to be able to travel and have once in a lifetime experiences. They help you step back and gain perspective on life, culture, history, and humanity.
If you have been contemplating traveling with a journal, I hope this post helps encourages you to try it out. If you are an avid travel journal enthusiast, We would love to see your travel pages.