A couple of days ago I posted a list of my growing collection of illustrated travel writing from other artists (it's here). I also have a small collection of my own writing/drawing travel journals. I currently have three (Ireland, Canada and Alaska) and I'm planning to add another (Europe) this year!
My 2009 trip to Ireland for 10 days was with three very close friends and included my 29th birthday. We traveled around the whole country and keeping this journal was the best decision I made when planning to go. I just re-read it last night and was reminded of so many great little moments I had all but forgotten - a lemur fell into a pond!
I kept track of places we went and food we ate. The little maps and weather reports are my favorite parts of this journal.
Confession time: I did a TERRIBLE job keeping this log during our trip to Vancouver (and the Olympics!) in 2010. In my defense we were rarely indoors. Our hosts are amazing, active people who planned so many adventures for us. My photos from this trip are great but the journal is lacking. I think I chronicled just a handful of days and most of those pages were composed on the plane ride home!
This is the first trip during which I decided to BRING IT with my diary keeping. I knew we would have a home base most of the time (the home of the friends we were visiting) so I brought my watercolor set and my Instax Mini instant camera (and some washi tape). Because it was a very special trip I tried to keep track of everything we did.
The Alaska trip was chock full of the great outdoors so my book included a few 'animals we saw' lists and little watercolors of scenic vistas! (Alaska is breathtaking, by the way.)
After returning home I used Blurb to turn my journal (plus my photos rom the trip) into a little book to sell and share with the friends who traveled with me.
I like that I can clearly see the evolution of how I keep track of my travels. After seeing how pencil gets so smudgy over time, I switched to ink for the text and the Alaska trip is in color (!) and is much more image-heavy. Working in pen also makes me more aware of my handwriting so the AK book is the easiest to read. The Vancouver trip was a whirlwind that didn't allow for great record-keeping but other than that I think I've done a pretty good job! [insert self back-pat]
We are planning a trip to Europe in September and aside from making a dream list of places we'd like to visit, the only prep I've done is to plan some art supplies for the travel journal-keeping. Recently I was gifted a beautiful set of French watercolors from a beloved friend and I treated myself to a BIG A3 folio watercolor Moleskine. My past travel books have been spiral bound but I've fallen in love with the watercolor paper Moleskine uses in their little books so I'm going to give this new format a try.
Now that my art supplies are stacked up, I just need to pack a couple pairs of underwear and I'll be ready to go!
I'm not sure where our autumn trip will take us exactly but I hope we have plenty of down time (on the train maybe?) so I can keep up with my travel writing, drawing and painting! Wish me luck!