You’ve planned your science-fiction-, fantasy- or horror-themed vacation. You know where you’re going and when. You’ve created a list of not-to-be-missed sites to see. And, of course, you’ll have your handy cell phone camera to document your trip. But what about your genre travel journal?
Pictures may be worth a thousand words, but they can’t document everything. Looking at them years later, will you remember those interesting conversations you had? Will you remember the tapestry of emotions you felt while visiting a favorite movie’s location site? Will you remember all the cool facts you learned during your trip?
Probably not. That’s where a genre travel journal comes in. Use the following tips to help you make the most of yours:
Make Your Genre Travel Journal Look and Feel Special
What do you want your journal to look like? What do you want it to feel like? Keep in mind that you want your genre travel journal to encourage you to use it. Here are some things to consider when shopping around for your journal.
Do you want a steampunk-inspired leather-bound journal? Something that Indiana Jones might carry around? Or do you want something more futuristic, with a metallic cover? Perhaps you want something more ordinary so you can decorate it with stickers or images you either cut out of a magazine or draw yourself?
Do you want something compact that will fit easily into a cargo-pant pocket, backpack or purse? Or would you rather have something larger, that you can easily display on your bookcase once you’ve completed it? Keep in mind the practicality of the genre travel journal’s size. Also, remember that the size of the journal will directly affect the weight of the journal.
How do you prefer to journal? Are you strictly a words person? Then you’ll want a journal with ruled pages. Do you like to sketch and doodle? Then perhaps a blank paged journal would suit you better.
You can most likely find a wide selection of journals to choose from in your local bookstore or on Amazon.
Plan for the Types of Information You Want to Record in Your Genre Travel Journal
Because travel is usually such a change from your routine, you might think you’ll never forget a moment of your trip. But a few years afterward, you won’t remember many of the details. You may want to capture these details in your journal:
- Complete date information including the year: Specific dates fade easily from memory
- Where you went: the country and city
- Where you stayed: names and addresses of people’s homes or hotels and suite numbers
- Sights you saw: museums, National parks, amusement parks, filming locations, etc.
- Places you’d hoped to visit that you’ll catch the next time: Did you run out of time? Or perhaps a location was closed temporarily. Maybe you discovered something that you weren’t able to fit in.
- Descriptions of interesting foods you tried, including where you ate them: I’m glad I wrote down what I ate at Count Dracula’s Castle in Bucharest, Romania! Someone had a lot of fun creating that menu.
- Sights, sounds and smells as you walked down the street: These detail can never be documented by a camera, but they are important memory triggers
- People you met: Did you have an interesting conversation with a shop keeper? Or maybe, by luck, you bumped into a celebrity!
- How you got around the city: public or private transportation, and what kinds: It is especially important if what you got around in was something out of the ordinary from what you have at home, such as a rickshaw or a double-decker bus
- Souvenirs purchased for yourself and loved ones: Things get broken or lost. And, of course, if you give the time away, you may never remember that cool TARDIS coin bank you bought for your nephew.
- The Good, the bad and the mediocre details: For example, “The bed in the Smith Hotel was so lumpy, but I was exhausted and slept like a log” are interesting asides that you’ll later be glad you wrote.
But most of all, remember to record your feelings about your genre-themed trip experiences, which will help you better recall your cherished moments of the vacation.
Take every opportunity to note your travel experiences
Make notes daily. Notes made soon after an event tend to be more specific, factual, and complete than those made at the end of the week. You’d be surprised at what you may forget! Here are some opportunities to take advantage of:
- When in a cab or traveling by bus, pull out your pen and journal and write about what you’ve experienced so far that day.
- If you’re an artist, you could make a sketch or two of sights you’ve seen.
- At breakfast, jot down information about the evening before. Or mention what you plan to do that day.
- Write your notes after you get back to the hotel for the evening.
Collect flyers and brochures
These pieces of marketing ephemera can help you fill in the details of your experiences. For example, you might’ve already forgotten the name of the restaurant where you ate those delicious sandwiches at lunch. But if you remembered to keep the receipt or a brochure from the restaurant, you can refer to it later for the details.
When you go shopping and you see brochures listing the stores and showing the floor plan, grab one to use later when you’re journaling about the day’s activities.
These flyers can also help you put together a scrapbook when you return, adding additional richness to your genre travel journal.
Create a Genre Travel Legacy
Keeping a journal of your genre-themed vacations preserves those precious memories forever. You’ll return to your journal over and over again to re-discover the special experiences you had. And someday, your children will be thrilled to read these personal accounts of your trips, as well.