Today we’ll talk about why I began with travel blogging and why you should consider it as well.
Now, I’m not saying you should create an online blog like this one (although that’s cool!), but that you should consider having your own little travel diary in some form or another. Let’s get into why!
Every journey has two parallel experiences — but here’s a problem…
Every journey has two parallel experiences. Firstly, the external in which where see the world around. Secondly, the internal, in which we visit new places within ourselves. When we weave these two journeys together we end up with vivid accounts of our trips. But, there’s one problem … Let me elaborate.
Because, we think that everything can be hardwired and maintained in that beautiful brain of ours. That all the information and memory essentially is stored in a “brain Dropbox folder” we can tap into whenever or wherever we want to think about past travels and adventures. This is far from the truth. Unfortunately, without our direct awareness the “files” slowly but steadily degrades and vanishes into the dark corners of the litter bin.
A personal example
Let me give you an example. A while back a friend of mine asked me for some travel recommendations for a trip to Italy. I was pleased, I had been in the country several times, and I love to help friends out. However, as I sat down to write him recommendations about where to stay and what to do, I realized to my great surprise that I couldn’t really remember a lot of valuable information. Sure, I could say that the Colosseum was cool or that Florence is beautiful, but I couldn’t really remember anything essential or specific. What was the name of that amazing Italian pizza restaurant that I ate that?! What was the name of that cool street? Besides the main excursions and tourist spots, what did we actually do? And so forth.
I then turned to Facebook and looked through my Italy photo album. That helped a little bit, but not that much as the photos didn’t really tell much. They were largely poses in front of some buildings and stuff, and didn’t go any deeper.
By no means, I’m not suffering from any kind of dementia, and I could still remember a lot about the trip, but it struck me that, as time will go by, I will forget almost everything about a trip — besides spectacular events and the snapshots saved by the photos. It had only been a year and I was increasingly forgetting a lot about my last trip to Italy. That’s not good at all!
We travel to new places and want to bring back memories
Let’s face it, other souvenirs such as the “I <3 Rome” t-shirt that I bought outside of Pantheon, didn’t even last a round in the washing machine until it was ruined. And the “Italy” magnet on the fridge is still there, but it doesn’t really tell more than the fact that “yes, I have been there”. What value does that add if you can’t really seem to remember and appreciate all the great things associated with that city or country, and the things you experienced, huh? Not that much.
Now, you might say, “Well, Jon, aren’t you forgetting something?”. Yes, you’re right — photos. Yes, photos are certainly neat, but it won’t let you document the full experience. Taking pictures deals exclusively with what we see, and thus omits a lot of the experience.
The solution? Writing a travel journal/Travel blogging
When we write travel journals, we can write down all of our senses — not just what we see, but what we feel, hear, smell, taste and so on. When we weave the outside and the inside journeys together through our writing, we end up with vivid accounts of our trips — keepsakes that help us remember our travels for years to come.
The word, “souvenir,” comes from the French verb for “to remember.” A souvenir is a memory. A travel journal is the ultimate souvenir — the ultimate travel memory.
We can describe the people we meet and the places we visit. But more importantly, whereas photography allows us only to look outward, in a travel journal, we can also capture what’s going on in our mind. We can use it to “re-live” great travel moments and reminisce about those experiences. Personally, I can’t wait to sit in a good ol’ rocking chair as I hit 70+, with a nice cup of tea, dwelling about the good old past, (and constantly tell the younger generation how everything was better in the old days — with backed up stories to prove it!).
Travel journals don’t shrink. They endure. They help our journeys resonate in our minds for years to come.
Moreover, you don’t have to share your travel memoirs and journals to the public like I seek to do occassionally here. But by doing so, you can elevate the experience even further both for others and for yourself. You can inform, entertain and inspire others who might want to go just where you went or you may come in contact with other people who have been there and a beautiful discussion about what the best gelato in Rome may subsequently occur. Should you start to travel blogging — just remember that reader’s don’t read to gratify your ego, they read to satisfy themselves. So merely saying “Look at me” Look what I did” will add little of value to your readers.
Don’t jump directly to the public though. Write for yourself and avoid any audit and self-criticism. Don’t spend time on tweaking paragraphs, editing and such (unless you have way too much spare time). Rather, keep it simple and let the words flow. The hardest part is beginning.
What do you think? Do you agree?