Monday, February 6, 2017

My Russian Travel Journal

One of my favorite things to do to relax is to work on scrapbooks or my many journals. Back in the USA I have a few scrapbook journals. I'm not an artist in the least, so I tend to focus on mixed media journals rather than drawing or painting. I think I started these journals when I was in middle school. Along with the hobby aspect of it, I have a terrible memory and I'm very sentimental. In some of these journals I keep pictures or notes people have given me over the years that I have no particular place for but I don't want to throw out. My first travel journal was a souvenir given to me by my sister from India. I used it solely to write down every single moment of my trips to Mexico and Southeast Asia. I am almost certain I wrote down every detail, from what I ate to little inconveniences. It is much more personal than my blog.

I managed to fill up every page of that journal from just two trips, so before I came to Russia I wanted to buy a new one. When my sister and I were in Cambodia we shared a van with a group of people and one of those people was a French Canadian guy. He showed us his own travel journal. He had it filled with drawings, ticket stubs, and little notes about his trip. His drawings were terrible, but I loved that he didn't care. He wanted the drawings to be a visual representation of what he did. As someone who doesn't draw because I'm horrible at it, I saw that as an opportunity to change my mindset going into this new journal. I wanted it to be less writing and more visual story telling. Unfortunately, as my journal progressed, I've returned to more writing in my attempt to remember every single detail.
I picked up this journal at Half Price Books in the USA for about $9, I think. It's much bigger than I wanted it to be but the price was too good to pass up, especially since I wanted a moleskin-like journal. You can also see that the binding is breaking a bit, but it's only the outside and nothing duct tape won't fix. So far this journal is only dedicated to all the trips and memories I have since living in Russia. I have entries for Spain, and I'm working on those for Finland, too because I've taken these trips since living here. I'm still debating, if I left today, whether I'd continue working in this journal or buy a new one. As much as I love Russia, I know I won't live here forever, butI like the idea of keeping this journal as a reminder of this chapter in my life. However, if I have too many blank pages left I may just continue using it. We'll see.
My must-have supplies for this journal are scissors, a glue stick, scotch tape, a pencil, an eraser, a ruler, a black pen, a black marker, colored pens/markers/pencils, and a pencil sharpener.

Along with my must-haves, in order to make my journal visually appealing, I use a lot of local items. Ticket stubs, wrappers and labels, maps (usually free at tourist centers), information pamphlets (also usually free at museums or tourist attractions), and business cards. It's also a good idea to check airline magazines because they are free and sometimes they have great photos or write ups about your destination. There is no need to spend money on your journal because you can find so many free things.

My inspiration for drawings and hand lettering come from different places. I bought the Russian version of this journal from Keri Smith that has great layouts for writing. I usually use some aspect of her illustrations in my own journal. VDNH and Irkutsk Tourist Center both had minimalist icon drawings for their points of interest that made it really easy to draw. Lisa Congdon is also an artist I look to for inspiration. I love her simple, yet fun, drawings. I also utilized Pinterest and Instagram for help. I'd search "hand drawn _______" or "travel journal" to give me ideas. I even have a board on Pinterest dedicated to journaling.
One thing to remember is that this is for you. Unless you're Beyonce, no one is going to want to buy your travel journal so who cares if your drawings are a disaster. It's something that will be interesting for your children or great grandchildren. Even if you can't draw you can probably trace or use scissors to cut out pictures from magazines. Don't let the stress of needing it to be perfect keep you from creating it. This is more of a pep talk for me and less of one for you because I still have trouble wanting everything to be perfect. I eventually plan to make a YouTube video going through each page in case you are interested. In the mean time, you should follow me on Instagram because I may do a video.
Do you keep a travel journal? How do you look back on old memories?

18 comments

  1. I love what you said about drawings not having to be perfect because the travel journal is just for you. I love keeping travel journals but I rarely include any drawings in them because I'm a horrible artist, but I might start to include a few sketches because I don't need to impress anyone. Something I like to do is include a few prompts to get me writing if I have writer's block- I've listed some of them in this post: https://teachingwanderlust.com/2014/08/25/819/

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    1. I will check them out! I love getting inspiration!

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  2. Cute journal! You are way creative with journaling. I have journaled since I was in elementary school, and every time I travel I journal. I have a couple journals from both times I was in Russia which I cherish. I am going again in April and really look forward to journaling even more, and possibly blogging. We shall see. Anyways, I love this post!

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    1. My creativity comes from other people. I definitely couldn't think of most of this stuff on my own. You are coming to Russia in April? What part? You should definitely blog. I'd love to read it!

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    2. Same here... others are great inspiration! I will be in St Petersburg and Petrozavodsk!

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    3. I've never been to Petrozavodsk! Have fun!

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  3. This is awe-inspiring and beautifully creative! Your travel journal looks fascinating! I would love to see a YouTube video about it! :D

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    1. Thank you!
      I'll make one. I just have to build something that can shoot overhead!

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  4. I did something like this in my soviet school chaildhood. It was not about travels, rather about about my daily life, a kind of dairy. I have zero artist talent so it was predominantly text entries, maybe there was several photos.
    Then I had quitted this activity.
    Now I have just a file in my computer where i write down about some events that are important for me.

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    1. My first journal was text based. I wish I journaled more about every day life, but my life is pretty boring so it would be the same thing over and over again. :)

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  5. I kept a purely written diary for years when I was a teen and wrote in it every day. I haven't journalled since then but I've been thinking about getting back into it! I like the idea of practicing gratitude too, when you write down something you enjoyed / are grateful for every day. I also just want to put all of my photos in albums, which will take me a long time because I have *so* many! I'd love to see a video of you showing us around your journal, those sorts of things fascinate me! xx

    Jessthetics

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    1. I always tried to keep a written diary, but they never stuck. I have one from middle school but it is still more than half empty. I like the grateful post idea! My friend Haley actually does something like that every week on Instagram. Her account is https://www.instagram.com/hstr0m/ . I want to put my photos in albums too but it costs soooo much money to print photos!

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  6. I LOVE this! I can't wait to see more pages. I love what you say about not making it perfect. There are so many times that I've held off on working on art or journaling because I wanted it to be perfect... definitely something I'm working on changing right now.

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    1. I still struggle with it! It's not easy! We should have a journaling day when I get back!

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  7. I love travel journals like this! I did one kind of similar when I visited America last summer. I found it's best to fill it in at the end of each day for that day - or the next morning at the latest! - so the memories are still fresh. That way you record the little things as well as the landmark things.
    You can check mine out if you're interested:
    http://alwaysarty.blogspot.co.uk/2016/10/seattle-and-portland-travel-journal.html

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    1. I would write down everything that happened on a slip of paper because I have a terrible memory. Sometimes I would be really lazy and forget to do that :)

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