One of the pleasures of traveling is the memory it creates, which I can keep long after returning home. And stories of particular adventures and life-changing experiences are strengthened when documented and shared, which is one of the reasons I enjoy writing here, at Tripping Over the World.
Over the years, I’ve gone through various phases of chronicling my travels via cards and letters, photography and postcards, vines, blog posts, Instagram etc. But two of my all-time favorite ways to capture travel is through journaling and sketching.
Here are three reasons why journaling and sketching are my two favorite ways to capture my travel adventures.
1. It helps slow me down.
In an effort to see and do as much as possible, I sometimes suffer from moving too fast when traveling. I try to experience every possible thing a place has to offer with limited time, leading to a superficial check-in-the-box encounter. Journaling and sketching while on the move forces me to slow down. They’re kind of an old-school approach to documenting a place — and take more time than their contemporary blogging and instagram-ing counterparts — but that’s exactly their strong suit.
2. It captures the essence of a place while I’m in that place.
One of the best parts about occasionally slowing down is it allows me to see and appreciate a place on a deeper level. Sitting for a half hour sketching a beautiful building in front of me allows me the time to think about its history, the people who made it, the people who’ve visited, and the change in it’s purpose over time. It allows me to see the craftsmanship and the detail more clearly because I have the time to really see it.
Other times, I write or sketch from a memory earlier in the day or week while enjoying a peaceful break or picnic in a park, or while waiting for a train. Journaling and sketching helps me process a place while I’m in it.
3. It makes a memorable souvenir.
My sketch books and journals are souvenirs from my travels. When Jim and I did our first big trip to Europe, I purchased a blank book while in Prague from the Alfons Mucha Museum store. Mucha is one of my favorite artists, and the book is interspersed with copies of his work. It was a perfect souvenir from one of my favorite cities, and inspired me to sketch and document during the rest of our trip.
The images included in this post are from my Mucha journal, and include excerpts and sketches from Praha (Prague) Czech Republic, Köln (Cologne) Germany, and Paris France.
~ Laura Rowley