Writing on the Road...
I take a freeform approach
to journal writing. Part of the delight of the journey for
me is a break from strict schedules, so I don't have a particular
time of day put aside for writing entries. Rather, I keep
my journal with me as I go; jotting down notes whenever I
snatch a moment. These writings are a hodgepodge of phrases,
lists, directions, and the like.
At some point each day
I like to take twenty minutes or so for more reflective writing.
In these little cafe or poolside sessions, I try to sift over
the jumble of impressions collected throughout the day and
turn them over in my mind to see if themes and patterns develop.
If they don't, that's okay. I just write whatever comes to
mind. If I'm tired and can't think, I let my senses guide
me, concentrating on the sounds, the aromas, what the air
feels like on my skin, the quality of the light.
Collect souvenirs of
the places you stop at, too. These will add a great deal to
your memories later on. I make sure that my backpack or purse
has a separate section for my journal and materials -- pens,
glue stick, and a small pair of scissors. These come in so
handy for entering newspaper clippings, flyers, tickets, and
so on as you travel..
Learn to eavesdrop. That's
right, I do it all the time -- at bus stops, at cafes, on
park benches. Jotting down overheard snippets not only helps
me to get the rhythm of a place, but it's a great source of
information and amusement. The key thing here is to be unobtrusive.
Just as an artist might sketch the people in a scene without
staring at them, I sketch phrases and words without appearing
to listen too hard.
Make your journal interactive.
Keep a separate page for inviting people you meet to sign
in. You'll accumulate wonderful quotes, sketches, and addresses
that will bring your journey back to life when you get home.
Stay focused. Rather
than trying to describe everything in a scene, pick out one
thing that grabs your attention. Think of focusing your mind
like a camera lens, finding more detail in the object with
every line you write.
Make sure to spread the
word. There are lots of ways to share your travel journals
and photos when you get home. For example, creating an online
journal with text and uploaded photos is one of the best ways
to bring your adventures to friends and fellow travelers.
This way not only are you having the fun of telling everybody
about your journey, your observations and hotel activities,
etc. will be a terrific help for another Journeywoman getting
ready to travel.