Wednesday, November 26, 2008
By Rick Steves
Travel can make you a poet. Travel can be spiritual. You meet people on the road you'd never meet otherwise. Traveling rearranges your cultural furniture, challenging truths you assumed were self-evident and God-given. By traveling, you learn not only about the people and places you visit — you learn about yourself.
But without capturing your thoughts on paper, the lessons of travel are like shooting stars you just missed...and butterflies you thought you saw. Collecting intimate details on the road and then distilling them into your journal sharpens your ability to observe and creates a souvenir you'll always cherish.
Choose your travel journal carefully. I prefer a minimalist journal, light yet stiff enough to protect the pages and to give me something solid to write on (since I often write on the fly without a convenient table). I like invitingly empty pages — not pages decorated with extra literary frills and verbose doodads. It's my journal, not someone else's chance to decorate my observations with cute quotes, clever tips, and handy reminders. I use black ink or a mechanical pencil. Nothing should compete with the simple words. Avoid spiral notebooks — they fall apart quickly. A bound book will become a classic on your bookshelf.
Read the entire article on Rick Steve's website.