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A Guest Post by Jessica Fender* Epic Solo Travel Journals-Getting Started with 6 Tips: Traveling solo can be an amazing, life-changing experience for you, regardless of age or lifestyle. According to reports, 11% of all travelers are solo travelers, with 26% traveling alone simply to be by themselves and explore new places. Numerically, #solotravel is attached to 5.2 million posts on Instagram, with 15% of people already taking a solo trip sometime in their past.
There are many reasons as to why you might want to travel alone, and the experience can be much better if you journal about it. While bringing pen-and-paper on the road may seem retro by 2021 standards, it is an amazingly convenient way to keep tabs on your trip.
You may find yourself without a phone or internet reception or want to save battery life instead of using it to write notes. With a journal in hand, your travel experience will effectively transform for the better. Let’s take a look at how you can get started with travel journals without much difficulty.
Why Journal about your Solo Travel?
We’ve mentioned that traveling solo is a valuable life experience for anyone willing to take up the challenge – but why journal about it? The last year hasn’t been easy for anyone, especially for travelers, with new travel restrictions being introduced daily.
According to research, 61% of travelers said they wouldn’t take traveling for granted going forward, with 30% stating they want to travel alone soon. Journaling can help you create memories from your travels, whether you write, sketch, or pin collectibles into the notebook.
Years later, you will want to share your memories with your loved ones or remind yourself of the good times you’ve had abroad. This is something that social media posts and smartphone camera photos cannot do for you. So, what can you do with a journal at your side as a solo traveler?
- Learn as you go (write down words, recipes, trivia, etc.)
- Capture your memories on the spot
- Slow down periodically and reflect on your travel
- Express your creativity through sketches and artwork
- Share your experiences with someone who couldn’t tag along
- Create your souvenir from the solo travel
1. Get a Reliable Notebook and Several High-Quality Pens
To get started with travel journaling, you’ll need some reliable gear before you set out. While you can use any kind of notebook and pen to journal, it’s about making sure your journal is resilient and long-lasting. Look for quality notebooks that won’t get ruined from falling into a wet surface (near the sea) or get creased from dirt (on a hike).
The same goes for the pens you bring along since wooden pencils need extra equipment to keep them sharp. You should also have a digital journaling alternative on standby, just in case your notebook is too damaged or lost on the road. If going gets tough, you can reach out to SpeedyPaper and use their writing and formatting services for journal writing purposes.
Mechanical pens with a metal shell are your best bet, so get several of them in different colors. Writing in your travel journal in various colors will help you categorize journal entries, draw sketches, or doodle random things easily.
2. Map Out your Trip in the Journal Before you Go
Once you find your perfect notebook to journal in as a solo traveler, you should prepare for the trip itself. You can plan your trip and create a list of local places to visit, foods to try, museums to see, etc.
Get creative and create a roadmap in your journal, which you can then tick off as you travel. This is an amazing way to always keep your journal in mind as you will be encouraged to fill out your travel goals. Likewise, it will ensure that your journal is in the backpack no matter where you go.
3. Stick Different Things into your Travel Journal
As you travel, you will come across plenty of memorabilia, postcards, and collectibles from the road. Why not use your journal to stick them to that day’s page and write something about the item you collected?
You can gather stamps, leaves, receipts, tickets, and all sorts of things that can easily stick to a paper surface. Keep sticky glue handy to make sure you don’t lose any of your precious items.
4. Ask Locals to Write Something Nice into the Journal
Wherever you go, you are bound to meet new people who will be friendly toward you. As a solo traveler, your chances of meeting other solo travelers are also quite high. Ask the people you meet on the road to write something nice into your journal.
This can be anything from a proverb, a greeting, or a sentence or two about how you met one another. You can also ask foreigners to write things in their language, giving your journal a unique look. This is a great way for you to pick up conversational words and phrases to learn a new language first-hand. Ask whoever you like on the road to writing something down for you so that you never forget meeting them, even years later.
5. Grab a Polaroid Camera and Snap Photos for your Journal
Carrying a DSLR camera with you abroad can be cumbersome, not to mention dangerous, as it can make you a target for pickpockets. Instead of carrying a digital camera, why not go analog? Polaroid cameras are considered quite popular by solo travelers, and they are light enough to tuck away in your backpack.
Buy several packs of polaroid paper and use your retro camera to snap photos of memorable events. Whether you like a local snack, meet someone nice or find a great view somewhere, you can use your polaroid camera. These photos can be stuck to your journal, and you can write captions or essays on what these moments meant for you.
6. End Each Day of your Trip by Journaling about your Experience
Finally, you should make it a habit to end each day on the road by journaling about that day’s events. This is a healthy habit to pick up, especially if you are a regular solo traveler.
This will ensure that you write down every important thing that happened to you without skipping a day. It will also help you put your experiences into perspective, review your travel goals, and help plan the remainder of your trip. Take a shower, grab a refreshing drink and take 30 minutes to journal about your day before going to bed. Your future self will thank you for the regular notes you’ve taken about the trip.
Conclusion: Safe-keep your Travel Journal and Make New Ones as you Go
When you’re back from your solo travel, you should take a moment to go over your journal before putting it away. Some prefer starting a new notebook every time they visit a new place, while others like to keep one massive journal for all their travels.
Whichever path you choose, make sure to safe-keep your journal until the next trip rolls around. Treat it as an important part of you as an individual. You will want to share your journal with a friend or your child down the road. Keep journaling and tuck away your journals someplace safe.
*Author’s bio. Jessica Fender is a professional writer and educational blogger at Writeload. Jessica enjoys sharing her ideas to make writing and learning fun.
(Solo Trekker recommends that you first pick your destination carefully. Then take a look at some of the single traveler deals with no single supplement. You will want to record all the pre-trip excitement and planning as you start your journal.
Elizabeth Avery’s recalls: Just this summer I found the journal I kept on my first abroad. As a teenager, I was a camp counselor and volunteer in Trinidad and Tobago. I never knew how I would be reliving those moments years later!