Travel Journals – Today’s Diary Is Tomorrow’s History

What if you used a trip diary to record a different kind of travel – a journey into the milestones of your life or the lives of loved ones? Did you ever think that your everyday life is an adventure worth preserving?

We travel for lots of reasons, such as to enrich our lives, to relax, or to visit friends and family. Travel journals are the perfect tool to capture our travel experiences, so we can preserve them and relive them.

Historians use diaries to gain information about the past. A good example is Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House series. Her father’s restlessness caused the Ingalls family to move across the Unites States, which became the basis of these famous books. A more tragic story comes from one of the most famous journals, The Diary of Anne Frank. The author described a journey that forever left a mark on history.

What do Anne Frank and Laura Ingalls Wilder have in common? Neither knew they were making history when they started their journals. Both of these girls lived extraordinary lives but started out writing about ordinary circumstances. When Anne Frank made her first diary entry, she wrote about her birthday. She did not know that her diary would become a book and historical document.

The words ‘journey’ and ‘journal’ come from the same root, from the French word meaning “a day.” Anne Frank and Laura Ingalls Wilder captured the journey of a day. All those days added up to a legacy.

What if you were to start your journal as travel of a day? Can you imagine what you would have if you wrote one sentence and took a photo of something, every day for one year? Perhaps you start out recording the ordinary, but if something extraordinary happened, it would be easy to write about it since you have already begun your daily journal.

You could concentrate on special events, such as social and family gatherings, trips, family traditions, holidays, or historical moments. Perhaps you could write about tiny trips, such as going to a movie or out to dinner. These may not seem important now, but can you imagine your grandchildren reading what you wrote?

What if you made this a family project? Imagine what you would have if every night before bedtime, your children wrote something about their day? In these days of economic uncertainty, a keepsake like this would be priceless.

If you want to, you may add photos to your journey journal. You can keep them on a CD or DVD and store them in a pocket in your diary. If your journal doesn’t have a pocket page, you can attach a CD sleeve to the inside back cover.

You can start your armchair travel anytime. Your birthday, the New Year, or today. Remember, you are capturing history, and history does not make an appointment. So why not start now? You never know what will happen tomorrow.

Oscar Wilde wrote, said, “I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.” Perhaps your journal will not make for sensational reading now, but later, when the memories are cold and forgotten, you will have created a legacy.