Staff participants at Schreiner University’s Lunch and Learn workshop entitled, “Travel Journal Writing” took note of how important it is to travel thoughtfully. Below are four comments from the post assessment, including the title to the blog post.
“I wish I had known that a trip is not just a trip.”
Early on in the workshop we consider different kinds of travel. Some of us travel as tourists or to visit friends and family. Some of us are more into learning trips, such as the Roads Scholars program. Others may be into ‘adventuring’ like camping, fishing, hiking while others enjoy extreme adventuring, such as skydiving or mountain biking. Then there are the more serious kinds of travel that might be for business purposes or on a pilgrimage for personal insight, or traveling with a mission group to help others. Any of these trips can be an outward journey into the world and/or an inward journey into ourselves.
“The workshop can start one’s imagination in motion for traveling to other places.”
The group members, using exercise prompts, wrote what they could expect about future travels. Prompts included things like, ‘What makes you shake, rattle and roll?’
- What makes you shake (or tremble, good or bad)?
- What rattles or upsets you?
- What calms you down so you can roll with the punches?
“Loved the connection to prepare students traveling.”
Being on a college campus, I pointed out how valuable these kinds of questions can be for students who will study abroad, work through an internship abroad, or travel in any kind of experiential learning globally. If we as adults and seasoned professionals are unlikely to travel thoughtfully, why would we think students would do so without some prompting.
“I have more to learn about the ‘art’ of preflection about travel, as opposed to ‘worrying’.”
‘Preflection’ is the anticipation of what one wants from a travel experience, what one can expect from the place and its conditions, and how one might approach the experience with an open mind. This heightens our awareness and raises our expectations while traveling and when we arrive. Journal writing before we leave about what could be and what we want creates a radar within us to extract more from the experience, making it deeper and richer. Preflection may include what could go wrong, but it will be followed with how one will choose to react and make the most of the experience. This is the beauty of preflection.
Tools, Techniques, & Topics
In the beginning of the workshop we discuss the reasons or purposes for travel and the place and conditions of travel. These factors influence the supplies one will choose to use while traveling. For example, you may want notecards to stash in your purse or pocket. While others may prefer a beautifully covered notebook, lined or unlined, to motivate them to write. Yet other travelers may prefer a small, plastic covered notebook with pockets in which to tuck tickets or brochures. Those who travel in rough terrain or in rainy weather may need special pencils that write even in the rain.
Where you went, what you saw, and what you ate are not the only topics of traveling journal writing.
In addition, we discuss tools or supplies, journaling techniques that make for more interesting and challenging journal writing. And then we list topics that one might select to write about. Leaving ready with anticipated topics keeps one from saying, “I don’t know what to write about.”
What books on journal writing can your recommend? What have you learned from your own travel journal writing experience?