Many is the time when I am traveling and want to jot down something about my trip—an observation, a thought, gas mileage, information about a shop or restaurant I’d like to remember. At best, it might get written down in my day-timer, which isn’t exactly conducive to preserving memories. Mostly, I just forget. The closest I ever came to journaling on vacation was a bunch of text messages I sent to myself on the way to North Carolina last fall, followed by daily notes scrawled in a cheap memo pad. I managed to preserve them only by posting them here. Usually, the people I send post cards to end up with a much better record of my adventures than I do. And my good memory isn’t going to last forever.
As luck would have it, last month I ran into an old college friend and sorority sister, Pam, who handcrafts and sells travel journals through her company destination: unknown. Always eager to patronize small businesswoman (since I was once one myself), I have ordered a pocket-sized journal and two matching luggage tags. The design is called “roadtrip” and is appropriately suggestive of the fact that most of my vacation travel is done by car.
While I may not keep as detailed a log of my adventures as some travelers, just off the top of my head I can think of a dozen instances when I could have used it in the past. Ponder with me, if you will…
- June/July 2000 – Montreal – annual jazz festival. Ah, to have a written record of all the performers we saw in all those free outdoor concerts, or the international travelers we shared rooms with at the youth hostel.
- January 2004 – Washington, DC – candlelight vigil at the U.S. Capitol in support of Navy Capt. Scott Speicher, missing in Iraq since 1991 and believed captured. I was one of the two main planners of the vigil and could have written some extemporaneous notes throughout the day as I fielded media calls, oversaw the assembly of the staging, and greeted attendees.
- March 2003-06 – Fort Myers, Florida – baseball spring training. I would have jotted down thoughts about the young prospects I saw, other fans I met and talked with during games, local bars and restaurants I enjoyed.
- Any number of summer vacations to Cousins Island, Maine. I might have noted weather conditions, described passers-by, or done quick pencil sketch of sailboats on Casco Bay, observed from the pebbly shore or the ferry wharf or the cottage’s front veranda.
Looking forward, I imagine I’ll christen my new journal in a couple months on the flight to Florida, even though I will also have my laptop. As much as I enjoy the convenience of technology and rely on it more and more (what would I do without e-mail and my cell phone?) there is something about the physical act of writing that I enjoy very much.
If I eventually forsake blogging in favor of handwritten journaling, blame Pam.