Thursday, October 11, 2012

Pages from the Travel Journal

I returned from my trip to the West Coast last week, and have spent the following time slowly getting caught up with everything and settling back into my old routines.  Now, as promised, I am ready to share with you some pages from the travel journal that I kept during my week-long trip (actually, it was eight days).

Page spread from day 3.  A watercolour sketch of the beach and the ocean (my first time ever sketching in public!), supplemented by some writing and some small sketches of the shells that I collected on the beach.  (Please ignore the areas on the page where I blocked and blurred out private information!)

This was my first time ever keeping a travel journal, so I wasn't sure how it would work out, but I quickly found myself settling into a routine.  I used an entire page spread for each day of our trip (although even that often wasn't enough space), except for the first two days which were spent mostly travelling from point A to point B and were rather uninteresting and hence shared one page spread.  I started each day's entry by collaging some paper scraps to create a space on which I wrote the date and the day of our trip (day 1, day 2, etc.).  I then worked on the journal whenever I had a spare moment during the day (though I mostly worked on it during the evening).  I did not always work linearly.  Often I would flip back to add a sketch to an earlier day if it would fit (for example, some of the seashells that I drew on the page spread above were actually collected and drawn a couple days later).  Apart from keeping the journal, I also kept notes on a scrap piece of paper as to where we were each day.  This would help me to complete the journal when I was at home again.

I made sure to leave spaces on the pages for the photos that I planned to add in later.  After I returned home, I flipped through the journal and decided what photos needed to be where, and then I looked through the hundreds of photos that I took to find the ones that would be the best fit.  I printed the photos, trimmed them to fit in the spaces that I left, rounded the corners with my corner rounder (I love the look of round corners), and glued them in.  Using the notes I had kept, I also completed the written entries.  Finally, to finish off my travel journal, I made a title page, drew a map which showed the route we had travelled on, and created a page which showed our schedule on every day of our trip (once again my rough notes came in handy).  I'm not showing you these pages because they are a bit more personal.  I put some receipts as well as extra photos in the pocket at the back of the book.

Page spread from day 5.  This page spread is more typical of the pages in my journal, as it contains both small sketches and photos.

One of things that I liked best about working in this journal was that I didn't feel pressured to complete each day's entry on that day.  We were quite busy on our trip (which was not nearly as long as it should have been), and if I had tried to do that, the journal would probably have failed.  As it was, I kept good notes and took a lot of photos and I didn't actually finish the journal itself until a week after we had arrived back home.

There were a few things that I will do differently next time.  For example, I will use a sturdier paper for the cover.  The handmade paper I used for the cover of this book looked good but it wasn't really strong enough.  For my next journal, I will use a sturdier paper or maybe even make a hardcover book.  I will also bring fewer supplies.  I used my Pitt Artist Pens, waterbrush, and watercolour pencils almost exclusively, and I hardly touched my Gelly Rolls or Staedtler Triplus Fineliners at all on this trip.

My travel journal ended up being a personalized souvenir and record of our trip, something that I was able to share with the rest of my family (and they all loved it), and that I will be able to enjoy looking through for years to come.  This was my first travel journal, but I am really delighted with how it turned out and I will definitely be keeping similar journals on my future journeys.  And I also highly recommend that you try keeping a travel journal on your next trip!

Find out more: Binding the Travel Journal + Supplies for the Travel Journal

10 comments:

  1. Lovely journal! I aspire to such a nice compete story of our travels someday.

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    1. Thanks, Haley! I'm glad that my pages have been an inspiration.

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  2. Whoa! This is soooo neat! I love your travel journal, it's so pretty and creative! And I love rounded corners too hehe. Thanks for sharing :D I hope your trip was great too!

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    1. Thanks so much, Azizah! My trip was great too, by the way. I hadn't visited the ocean for years, so this trip was long overdue! And I'm glad to share the rounded corner love :)

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  3. I think, it looks great! Thank you for sharing.

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  4. Very nice! I keep my travel journals in much the same way -- I leave room for adding photos later
    and enjoy putting finishing touches on it when I am back home.

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    1. Thanks, Pamela! I would really recommend to anyone to keep their journal that way. Even if someone didn't want to add photos, it is just so much more relaxed and stress-free to allow yourself to finish the journal when you get home. I was surprised at how much work I put into this journal, and I would never have had time to do it all during my trip.

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  5. Beautiful! Fantastic idea. I keep a daily journal which I take with me on my travels but mine is narrative only. I love the addition of sketches and photos. I'm going to link to this from my blog - thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thank you very much as well! I think that adding sketches and photos just makes the journal that much more fun, and I would definitely recommend it. It is also great if you want to be able to share your travel journal with family and friends.

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