Evening barbecue in thailand Journaling

New rules

I made new rules because I tend to be all over the place. One piece in the past, one in the future, a half of a piece maybe here. And my thoughts in every single thing i should be handling. I don’t realize i don’t need to do it all right now. I don’t realize i can really do only one thing at a time. And to do it properly i need to give it my attention. I know i need to pack, i need to do laundry, i need to e-mail my hotel in Delhi, i need to contact the girls coming to the same flight as me, i need to eat lunch, i need to stretch, i need to make a shopping list for Phuket, i need to drink water, i need to dry my yoga mat, i need to walk the dogs. That’s what i know. But what i usually don’t realize is that i’m not going to do it all at one, right now.

So i made new rules that i want to remember. To simplify life and to simplify the doing. So i would not be all over the place. My mind needs to be here, focusing on one thing at the time.

Journal page about slowing down

Do one thing at a time. And this means really one thing. If i am drinking coffee, i am drinking coffee. I want to taste the coffee. When i am walking, i want to make every step as important as the one i arrive with.

Do it slowly. Everything will be accomplished.

Put your mind into the doing. So that i know that what i am doing right now is the most important thing i am doing. So that i know whatever i will do, i will do it well and focused. Even if it is eating lunch.

Do not judge if you don’t know. And even if you do, don’t. “That guy is strange. What’s wrong with him. Why is he like that?” I notice myself thinking sometimes. But the thing is, i will not never know his story. Or her story. It is not my place to judge and critique how someone else is. Because it really, really doesn’t have anything to do with me.

Notice your breath. It’s the link to this moment.

A page in my midori traveler's notebook

Be there when talking to someone. I want to really be talking to them, and listening to them – not glancing over their shoulder or on my phone or waiting for the conversation to be over. Genuine connection. Genuine communication. Give the people your full attention.

It’s OK to feel things. It’s ok to be hurt, to be sensitive, to feel tired, to erase yourself from the situation, to be weak, to be angry, to be anxious. It’s ok to feel them. Be there and feel it. Don’t suffocate them. Let them be. Then let them go.

Drop everything that is pulling you down. It doesn’t matter what it is. People. Situations. Overthinking. PMS. The past. The future. If it doesn’t serve you, drop it. Just drop it. Like a heavy baggage.

Anything concerning other people is really, really none of your business. Why am i letting myself thinking mean things about people, why am i judging them for acting a certain way that does not appeal to me – they are not in this world to act so that would be pleased and happy. Because again, really – it doesn’t have anything to do with me if someone has big fake boobs or if someone acts a certain way. It doesn’t have anything to do with me if someone is too loud or too quiet or doesn’t very much like tofu. Other people are none of my business.

Midori Traveler's notebook spread

50 things to write in your travel journal Journaling

50 journaling ideas for your travel journal

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!

Morning coffee and journaling in Kep, Cambodia

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

A zequenz travel journal

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.

Journaling ideas: what is the main religion and how does it appear in the surroundings?
A Buddhist spirit house in Thailand

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.

My midori traveler's notebook
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.

Journaling ideas: a sound circle meditation

I would love to hear your own journaling ideas to add to my list!

Stack of used travel journals Journaling

50 things to add in your travel journal

There is so much beauty in going back to pen and paper from the digital world. You will give a break to your sore eyes, you will get your creativity going and your soul will rest. You will have a thing to leave behind and to go back to, unlike with only using diary applications or writing your thoughts down on the computer. Filled notebooks, especially a travel journal, are satisfying to look at, they are a form of art. 

We were sitting inside a freezing minivan in Cambodia a while ago. Raindrops were pounding on the windows, making me feel like it was a cold, dark autumn night. I needed to forget the feeling of numbness in my freezing toes, so we wrote down 50 ideas of things to collect inside a travel journal. I’m sharing these 50 things with you here – check out also 50 things to write into your travel journal!

50 things to collect in your travel journal

1. Your boarding pass
2. Tags from your checked baggage

A flight tag from Labuan Bajo, Flores
My baggage tag from the flight to Labuan Bajo, Flores

3. Bus tickets
4. Train tickets
5. Boat tickets
6. Subway tickets
7. Entrance fee tickets to movies, museums and sightseeing

Entrance fee ticket for a waterfall
Entrance fee ticket for a waterfall in Bali

8. Disposable room keys or cabin keys
9. Parking tickets (the ones you get when you buy parking time, not the ones you get from the police for parking wrong – though i might include them also…)
10. Event flyers or brochures

Full moon party flyer
Yes. I went to a full moon party.

11. Business cards from people you meet, restaurants you eat at and hotels you stay at
12. Maps of the country or city you are in
13. Postcards from the place you are staying in
14. Labels from your bottles; beer, soda, wine etc

A label from southern thai speciality, lao khao.
A label from southern thai speciality, lao khao.

15. Coasters from pubs
16. Pressed plants and flowers
17. Coffee stains from your morning coffee

A pressed leaf and a coffee stain in my travel journal
18. Wine stains
19. Piece from a local newspaper
20. Any pieces of paper with local language – for example local lottery tickets

Boat tickets from Lombok Indonesia
Boat tickets from Lombok

21. Candy wrappers from candies you don’t have back home
22. Interesting papers found from the ground, like someones shopping list

Thailand bus tickets found from the street
These are bus tickets used in local buses in Thailand – i picked them up from bus stops where people abandon them after their ride.

23. Cool packaging from for example local coffee
24. Money (small bills from the local currency)
25. Used vintage stamps

I found these used Malaysian stamps from a small paper shop in Chinatown, Kuala Lumpur
I found these used Malaysian stamps from a small paper shop in Chinatown, Kuala Lumpur

26. Fresh, new local stamps
27. Tea wrappers
28. Tea stains
29. Small envelopes from local shops to use as a decoration or a little pocket

A little envelope from Kuala Lumpur Chinatown
A little envelope from a street stall i found from Chinatown, Kuala Lumpur

30. Piece of a cool poster from the street
31. Handwritten notes you find in your bag (or someone elses bag)
32. Shopping lists you made
33. Food wrappers (if you find them clean enough to put in)
34. The flag patches you sometimes see on a traveler’s backpack
35. A drawing or a sketch of anything you see or find interesting: animals, maps, scenery, buildings
36. Promotional stickers you might get from places

A sticker from freedive gili trawangan
If there is a sticker to take, i will take it.

37. Contact information from people you meet
38. Subway maps
39. Price tags
40. Small plastic pockets filled with sand from the beach
41. Small local jewellery – like a handmade bracelet
42. Information sheet from the medicine you have to buy or events you attend to

I got this information letter about the Balinese new year from the door of the house i was staying in.
I got this information letter about the Balinese new year from the door of the house i was staying in.

43. The papery seals from your liquor bottles
44. Feathers
45. A message in an unknown language from a friend or acquaintance
46. Splash of perfume you used while traveling
47. Tax stamp stickers from for example cigarette packages (these can be really pretty for decoration actually – pay attention the next time you see a cigarette package!)
48. Piece of local poetry
49. Lyrics from a local song
50. Receipts from shops, restaurants and cafes

My receipt for indonesian visa
My receipt for indonesian visa

I hope these will give some inspiration for your daily journal, travel journal, scrapbook, photo album or anything crafty you are on to. Stay tuned for 50 ideas to write in your travel journal in a few days!

50 things to add in a travel journal

Paper scraps going into the travel journal Journaling

Bangkok wandering and a journal spread

Bangkok has always intimidated me. I always want to get out as quickly as i can. All the smells, the sounds, the traffic, the people, they overwhelm me. My senses overload, i get panicky and have to get out. But Saturday morning, 9 am, when we arrived in Bangkok, i looked at the city from a different angle. I decided to get into it, to embrace it with open arms. And open senses. Also it helped a little bit that this time we got tips and suggestions from a friend who has lived in Bangkok for four years.

After a about an hour of wandering in the streets, greeting local people and local cats, we arrived by a little canal. And we found this little gem called Khlong Bang Luang. A little cafe full of things to see – an old letterpress machine, stacks of filled notebooks, paintings, statues, stickers, sketchbooks and local artists sitting by the tables painting or sketching. We joined them for one afternoon with out paper scraps and travel journals, watched the tourist boats go by and waved at old ladies selling veggies from their small boats.

Boats on the canal in Bangkok near artists house
Boats on the canal
Artists house, Bangkok
The perfect place to do anything artsy in Bangkok!
A local guy painting a mask in Khlong Bang Luang
Local guys painting masks were everywhere around the cafe.
A traditional thai puppet show in the artists house
We also got to see a traditional thai puppet show and watched them train the young puppeteer generation afterwards.

A market boat that passed by the artists house

Another market boat selling fried meats
Possibly the most perfect setting i have ever done a travel journal spread in.

Another market boat selling fried meats

In the Artist’s House – Khlong Bang Luang – i could have spent hours. I was a bit sad to leave, the setting was so brilliant. A peaceful riverside, far from the noise and crowds, catfish playing around in the river and such an artsy vibe going on. The most perfect spot i can imagine to spend hour after hour watching life go by, to see and feel the local life without the feelings of being too overwhelmed. And i am happy we could find a place like this in a city that i have been avoiding as much as i can. Now i am sure there is so much more to see and explore.

A travel journal spread

Travel paper scraps in my midori traveler's notebook
01 – collection of scraps – a guide how to use my new tiger balm, the one dollar bill i couldn’t change into thai baht, the business card of our Phnom Penh hotel, my boarding pass from Phnom Penh to Bangkok and the other side of our receipt from a local thai eatery.
Paper scrap collection going into travelers notebook
02 – Always on the hunt of pretty things to stick into the pages of my notebook. This one we got from a restaurant we had lunch at.
Boarding pass is an important thing to put in your travel journal
03 – My top thing to save and add is boarding passes.
Carry washi tape to add in the travel journa
04 – I got my pouch full of washi samples and stickers with me wherever i go – i got these from my lovely instagram followers (if you recognize yourself, thank you again!!)
Bus tickets also go in the travel journal
05 – To tell about the journey i save everything. Even the ugliest bus tickets.
Writing in the travel journal
06 – And the last step is to write little stories and snaps about my journey to the remaining empty spots.

Finished travel journal spread in midori traveler's notebook

We got to see so many things Bangkok never offered us before – maybe we were not even looking properly before. This time we went to see belly dancing, we took a gong bath from my lovely french friend Lili, and went up to the 43rd floor of a building to look at Bangkok from above.

From the rooftops of BangkokI am not sure if Bangkok is ever going to be one of my favorite big cities. But i am slowly growing into it. And especially after seeing a little piece of the cultural, bohemian Bangkok i feel like i wouldn’t mind coming back for more.