Share Your Travel Journal with Loved Ones

 I Visited Chagrin Falls, Ohio

By Anna Krejci

I treasure my travel journal. When I write about my travels, I process the experiences much better.  I take time to appreciate what I learned, and I take care to safekeep my memories of the people and the places that I will never encounter again in the same ways.

My method of journaling has not always been the same. I read some of my early journaling, and I regret not including the details of my surroundings like the sounds and the sights. Those are the things that would make me feel like I was living in the moment that I was writing about. I’ve had the experience of writing about vacations where I write down where I went, who I saw and what I did, but it would have been better to explain my impressions too. Nowadays, I love to write about the surprising things I learn.  When I travel, I like to ask questions about why the foods there are traditional or ask questions about the local industries.  This is so much easier when I take a tour and have a tour guide to ask questions of.  Reading a book about the places I plan to visit can be helpful, too.

I visited a community in Ohio called Chagrin Falls, and I wrote a journal entry about it.  It was the beginning of summer, and I could sit outside on a bench, drink an iced tea lemonade, and watch the people walk along the downtown streets. I had such a fun time with my spouse who was with me, and the warm weather made me feel so relaxed. Being seated, I felt I could be more attentive to what was going on around me.

In my journal I chose to capture the sights that were clear signs of summer. A woman walked briskly in an eye-catching, yellow summer dress as she carried a matching yellow gift bag.   I surmised that someone was going to be delighted in receiving a gift that day. Making a cheerful observation like this, I could tell I was in a good mood the day I wrote.  My outlook plays a large part in how I present my journal entries.

There was a red motorcycle parked on the street only feet away from me.  That struck me as a sure sign of summertime and made me feel the anticipation of summer travel, or specifically setting out on the open road.  It added to the thrill of my day.

My spouse commented that a good hamburger restaurant called Flip Side was within sight of us.  We have been there, but because of the phrase, “on the flip side,” it started a conversation between us about the virtues of being open-minded. The phrase “on the flip side” usually introduces a second consideration of something, or an alternative way of seeing an issue.  How fitting that around mealtimes I like to have a conversation about current issues, politics, culture and – yes – travel adventures.  With all these topics, it helps to keep an open mind.

By journaling you can accumulate quite a lot of material, depending on how often you write.  I find it is more manageable to write about just the experiences that leave the most profound impressions on me, or to capture an especially pleasing environment where I find myself.

If you write, you can share your travels with others, too.  I like to write to relatives about my explorations.  I like to send a paper letter in the mail, especially to my long-distance relatives.  In my adolescence, I wrote handwritten letters to my great-great aunt who was a senior living in Florida.  These letters were never meant for publication, but my great-great aunt held them for years, and then as she aged, she returned them to me.  She mailed all of them back to me when I was a young adult.  Then I was curious to see what I had written during my long forgotten middle school years. It was a very thoughtful, sweet thing my great-great aunt did by keeping those letters to send back.  In my adolescence, I wrote about family vacations among other things.  Some things were childish thoughts.  I think my great-great aunt appreciated the pen-pal relationship, nevertheless.  If you ever wonder what your thinking was like as a teenager or tween, it is amazing to read the things you wrote about in those times.  You see the things that mattered to you then. You can compare them to the things that matter to you now.  And you see how much you grow and change.  Then I like to look outside myself and understand that other people have similar growth experiences.  Keeping a journal in this way helps me have empathy for others.