From time to time, i struggle with writing in my journal. A lot. When i don’t have ideas or inspiration, my text is at the worst a monotonic narration of the day with no vividness or feeling of any kind. A kind of text even i get bored of reading. I have a lot of pages and spreads i just skip when looking back at them. That’s why i have written down this list of 50 travel journaling ideas to write about – i like to pick one and write it down to add some interest and color into my journal. Check out also my list of 50 things to collect inside your travel journal!
First of all: lists you can add into your journal
1. Packing list
2. Songs you listened to when traveled – going back to these after a while will bring back feelings and memories!
3. Books you read
4. Total kilometers or miles traveled. I did this once by tracking down my route in Google maps and counted all the kilometers together.
5. Travel methods you used. I listed up one day of intense traveling and it was quite interesting:
Boat from Gili Trawangan to Bali (that was stuck in Lombok for 5 hours because they ran out of fuel)
Shuttle bus to Seminyak
Walking around to get from restaurants to cafes to bars
Motorbike taxi to the airport
Confused walking around to get inside the airport because the motorbike couldn’t drive all the way in
A plane to Bangkok
A plane to Phuket
Taxi to a shopping mall (i wanted to buy a Zequenz notebook but everything was closed)
Another taxi to the bus terminal
Local bus through Khao Lak and Takua Pa to Khao Sok
and all that took me almost 30 hours – it was faster to travel all the way from Finland to Bali!
6. Animals you don’t see so often back home. I have listed cows and chickens – we rarely see them outside roaming around back home.
7. Favorite foods you ate
8. New words you learned
9. Useful phrases you used in a different language
10. Things you liked the most
11. Things you liked the least
12. Your go-to snacks while on the road – for example when traveling in Thailand i love to buy salted and boiled peanuts and oreos to snack on.
13. Things you actually needed and used – compare this to your packing list
14. Things you carry always with you. For me it’s my phone, a pen, something to write on, hand sanitiser and hand cream.
15. Odd or unfamiliar things you spot in a local grocery store
16. Cocktails you tried
Journaling ideas to write about
17. Describe in full detail the best meal you had today. The smell, the ingredients, spices, the texture.
18. Count the amount of beers, wine, cocktails etc – in liters.
19. Describe an interesting person you met or saw.
20. Tell about the landscape and surroundings. Is it flat or do you see mountains or hills? What are the locals farming? Do you see animals?
21. Describe a moment using all of your senses. What do you see where you are? What do you smell right at this second? What are the sounds like? How does your seat feel, are you comfortable? Do you feel the wind on your skin, are you hot and sticky or nice and cool?
22. Compare the prices of things at the place you are at to your hometown prices. How much more or less you have to pay for food in a restaurant or a grocery store? How about drinks, clothes, public transport and souvenirs?
23. What is the main religion and how can you see it in the culture and in the surroundings? Thailand example: you can see little spirit houses with offerings everywhere and monks are not an uncommon sight.
24. Observe and write about the surroundings while on the bus or train. A great way to spend the “empty” time of traveling from a place to place and to see and notice more.
25. Write a letter or postcard to your future self and send it home.
26. Do a morning page: the first thing after waking up, write a page without censoring or judging your thoughts, words or writing
27. What is the biggest challenge you faced?
28. What are the local (public) toilets like?
29. Describe the smells in your surroundings in detail – try to find out where each smell is coming from
30. How are the local people? Tell about their habits and how are their reactions towards you
31. Write about the best moment you had today, no matter how small.
32. Are you homesick? Why? What do you miss going home to?
33. Write about the local architecture
34. Track your money spending for one day. How much did you spend and on what?
35. Write down a message you sent to a friend or a family member
36. Go and sit down on the side of a busy street corner. Write about people passing by. What do you see a lot? What catches your attention?
37. Would you come back to this destination, why or why not?
38. What is the weather/climate like
39. Describe a strange local habit you see a lot. My example: we noticed in Cambodia that people don’t really bother on finding a toilet when they have to pee. On a three hour bus ride we saw almost 20 people doing their business on the side of the road!
40. What is the most impressive thing you saw or witnessed? I have been lately impressed by Cambodian people taking care of street dogs, seeing Bangkok from the 43rd floor and the Nyepi day in Bali.
41. Local habits you would like to introduce to your own culture. I would love to bring back some of the easy going work culture – jobs get done but no need to stress about things that really don’t matter: if you got nothing to do just lay in a hammock instead of pretending to be super busy.
42. If there would be one thing you could change about the place you are visiting, what would it be and why?
43. Did this trip change you or your perspectives, and how?
44. Write about your expectations and compare them to reality.
45. Write down your daily routine while traveling and how are they different from your routines back home.
46. Learn how to cook your favorite meal and write down the recipe
47. What is the street food like?
48. What is the most common thing you see for sale when walking around? For example in Kampot, Cambodia we would see pepper for sale everywhere (apparently the world’s best black pepper comes from Kampot!)
49. Go to a local marketplace and write about the experience.
50. I found this in one book about mindfulness: Draw a circle and imagine you are in the middle of that circle. Listen to your surroundings and write down what you can hear from each compass point. I find this a great way to do a little meditation and to record a moment vividly through the senses.
I would love to hear your own journaling ideas to add to my list!