Meet one of my most precious possessions: my journal from when I studied abroad in London for a semester.
This may sound a little odd coming from someone who writes about her life every. single. day…but I didn’t always love diary-keeping. I kept a diary religiously when I was a kid, up through about sophomore year of high school, but then it started feeling like more “work” than “pleasure.” The journal sitting on my bedside table stopped being something I loved to escape into, and became a source of guilt: you didn’t write in me today. Or yesterday. Or last month at all. And so, after a while, I gave it up.
Until I went to London, and realized that the experience I was having was too special for me to let slip past without keeping some kind of commemoration. And so what I decided to do was abandon any notions of diary-keeping I’d held previously, and go free-form. If I felt like writing, I’d write. If I felt like drawing, I’d draw. If I felt like pasting in postcards or matchbooks or some tinsel that I found sitting on the sidewalk, that’s what I did.
It was everything I had loved about keeping a diary back in the day, minus everything that felt exhausting and tedious. More than that, it helped me to travel consciously, to pay attention to all those little pieces of a journey that don’t seem all that important at the time, but that add up to what memories are really made of. A scribbled phone number, a note from a friend, a ferry ticket, a cocktail recipe, a restaurant receipt. Nothing big, but taken all together it’s a picture of what the time I spent in Europe was really like.
I love having this reminder of where I’ve been, and it’s a gift I’d like to give to my children. Remember a couple of months ago, when I talked about “basic” family travel and how I’d like to push our family to reimagine the possibilities for how to go on journeys together? We have some big changes coming up in our life, and a whole lot of travel, including a flight to the Bay Area to check out houses in April and a bunch of bucket-list trips to various East Coast spots, and in the spirit of taking my family’s upcoming adventures beyond basic, this is my 2015 #AlamoDriveHappy resolution: To start a travel journal for each of my children that they can keep and add to in the years to come, in any way they want. I’ll take care of those first few entries while they figure out how to, you know, write…but the rest of the pages are just for them.
I’d love to hear if you have any fun ideas for how to improve family travel or resolutions of your own – just post them on Twitter or Instagram using #AlamoDriveHappy so I can check them out (and be sure to tag a friend who you think could use some inspiration for 2015)!
Post originally appeared on RamshackleGlam.com.