I started a diary again last year. It began as a project to give my eyes a break from all the screen time they were getting. Now, I have a collection of 12 journals, all about travel.
I’ve always liked writing things down. But with the advent of phones and note-taking apps, my devices became my writing pads. Then the ill effects of technology started to show up – fatigued eyes, headaches, and anxiety. That’s when I decided to get back to using a pen and paper for jotting down my thoughts. It was random at first but it slowly turned into a habit when I started writing about my travel experiences. And that I think is what helped me stick to it this time around.
Why writing about my travels is important
It’s personal, more so than anything else. It’s completely honest. Usually, since most of our interactions in the real world involve people, we are trying to present a certain view of ourselves in front of them. Whether it’s while talking to a person, while posting pictures on social media, or while writing an article for work – there’s always a front. Writing in a journal gets rid of that. You can bring out your deepest feelings without the fear of being judged.
Didn’t like something on a trip? Melted into the eyes of a stranger you’re never going to meet again? You can pen down these thoughts as is, no terms and conditions attached. That’s the liberation that comes with writing.
And one day, when I’m old and wrinkled, I’ll sit down with these journals and reminisce about all the parts of my life I spent in other parts of the world. I don’t think looking at old Facebook or Instagram posts is going to give me that same feeling.
Turning away from turning the pages on social media
We use social media as a digital diary of sorts now. Everyone posts online about their life and more specifically about their travels. And don’t get me wrong, I love to see snaps from people’s journeys across the world – beautiful pictures, interesting descriptions and well-organised bucket lists definitely inspire me on my own trips. I also like to post, but I find that after a point, it gets overwhelming. There is competition, judgement, comparisons – something that no one talks about and something that is quite harmful for our mental health. There’s so much stimulation, the mind cannot comprehend all the information after a while. I personally suffer from this time and again.
And then there is a deluge of overwhelmingly mediocre content. You don’t really need to excel at anything to be able to post on social media. That is why even though a number of people label themselves as travellers, not many give you valuable information.
As humans, we’ve always found comfort in sharing information about our journeys. In the past, a hand-written letter or a comprehensive book did the job that digital media accomplishes now. But the effort of sitting down and filling several pages with ink, required effort and a defined thought process. It was quite unlike the quick reaction or emotion that characterises most of what we see on social media these days.
Developing the art of reflection
The point of keeping a travel journal is that it gives you a chance to reflect on your journey. It is not something you’re doing for mass consumption, so it is more likely to be honest than a show off. Travellers have kept journals for centuries – not to boast about their journeys but to keep a record about the feelings a destination kindled inside them.
Today, we prefer to share our feelings in an instant, through posts that don’t even last 24 hours. We want to move fast through a world that is moving even faster. How many people do you know of who write diaries in 2019? No one in my circle does. I really hope they do though.
Personally, keeping a journal has helped me calm down in more ways than one. I have a better grasp of my thought process and have also become more productive. And if there’s anything I know for sure, it is that no matter where my journey takes me, I will be carrying around a notebook to record it.
How do you like to keep a note of your travels? Let other travellers know about your story on Tripoto.