Journaling: Why bother?

So in every place I’ve traveled to in the past two years I’ve chosen to keep a journal. It is one of the greatest decisions I have ever made, and will continue to make as I continue to go abroad. Keeping a journal is fantastic in such a variety of ways. Personally, I like to use mine as a journal/planner. Thus when I go through it later on it’s kinda cool to see how my plans changed as I met people, experienced things, or encountered hardships. It’s also a really easy way of having all your notes/thoughts in one place and can refer back to them easily when necessary.

Keeping  a journal is also useful because five weeks, eight months, two years, down the road when someone asks you what that mountain you climbed, or that river you saw that one day you were in that one amazing country. You want to be able to tell them exactly how amazing it was, and how you got there, and how they should definitely not get there like that, but instead do it this much better way. And you’ll be able to tell them all this because you’ll have had it all written down in that little journal of yours.

Rereading my stories have made me laugh time and time and again, and looking back it’s also helped me see how I’ve changed so much. A wise friend once told me:  before you go on a journey write down your predictions on the first page. Predictions of what you think you’ll be good at, what you think you’ll suck at, things that will make you sad or happy, things you think you’ll love or hate, what you’re nervous, excited, apprehensive about… write all of it down, and at the very end of your trip reread it and see how you wrong you were. Humans are notoriously bad at making predictions. Therefore, by having made these concrete guesses at the beginning of your trip you will be able to see, almost in what will be a quantitative way in the ways travel has changed you later on. And being able to see how much you’ve grown and completely changed as a person, while somehow still being the same individual that left that first day is a crazy concept. One, which I like to document in a little book that has seen many scribbles in airports, buses, random cafes, and sandy beaches.

Paula Xx

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