Travel Journal Resistance
Beija scrunched up her face and face and irritably informed me that she didn’t “feel like it” when I pulled her travel journal from my bag. Again. Same scrunched up face, different day. From really early on we tried to get Beija to journal her adventures. At first I thought that it was because she wasn’t yet a fluent writer, then I thought it was hard to turn her experiences into words, finally I realized that she just didn’t like journaling in the traditional sense.
Looking back at the photos from Croatia, there is actually more evidence of journaling than I remembered. It was the first journal I made for her and I probably had a lot more invested in it than she did. I really wanted her to love the journal. She tolerated it but definitely didn’t love it. So I learned from that not-exactly-failure and not-exactly-success to build a better tool.
What does travel journaling get you?
Why did I keep trying? Well, some of the most important parts of travel can’t be labeled or captured in a photograph. The more travelers engage and give energy to intangible, heart-opening experiences the more solid, memorable, and lasting they become. In governance circles we say, “what gets measured, gets done” the experiential take on this is logical—what you spend time deepening and defining together while you travel becomes the lasting reality of your shared experience.
We travel with Beija because it is very important to us to create lasting memories that she integrates into her growing self. So I was motivated to try again. And again. And again.
Getting to Travel Journal “Yes”
I’ve built a lot of family travel journals now. Not only for us, but for friends. Each time they get a little better. So here is what turned it from an eye roll to several trips now where I haven’t heard a single complaint.
1. Journal Together
For many people, kids and adults alike, sitting down with a pen and paper to solo-document experiences sounds really boring. But having conversations about your experiences gets the creative ideas and reflections flowing. Ideas build upon each other and we learn from each other’s perceptions and wonderings.
2. Short and Well-Timed
Knowing that you aren’t sitting down at the table for an hour-long lecture really decreases resistance. I like to journal with the family at dinner. Other friends said that they journaled together right before everyone got into bed. Your family will have its perfect time too.
3. Be Flexible
As much as I want Beija to take ownership for the journal she usually wants me to write things down. I always offer the pen, but it is more important to me that she be interested in engaging in the daily ritual so I let it go. Flexibility might take other forms like only doing half if everyone seems tired or touching base at breakfast instead.
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