I’m excited to have a guest post today written by Travels with Gannon & Wyatt author, Keith Hemstreet. He writes about the importance of journaling, specifically noticing travel journals. As I mentioned in my last post, a review of the Travels with Gannon & Wyatt: Hawaii book, travel journals are a fun way to capture a story – especially when they’re your own.
Before you head out on your next adventure with your kids, take a look at the awesome tips Mr. Hemstreet has written below and encourage your kids to follow in the footsteps of the great journalists before them.
Dr. Seuss wrote, “Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.” This is often the case with travel. While you may realize that a particular moment is special, the value of that memory will only grow over time. I’ve always felt that the best way to capture and preserve memories is by keeping a journal. Writing weekly, or even daily journal entries is an invaluable exercise that people of all ages should embrace, especially when traveling.
Where did you go? What did you see? With whom did you speak? What did you learn? Write it all down. Make note of how these experiences affected your senses – touch, taste, hearing, sight and smell. In addition, “Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart,” as William Wordsworth suggested. In other words, pay attention to your feelings. Don’t be afraid to record your dreams and aspirations or how a certain experience made you feel.
Make note of how these experiences affected your senses – touch, taste, hearing, sight and smell.
For those just starting out, it’s important to know that there are no rules to keeping a journal. Do not get hung up on grammar, spelling or penmanship. Simply write whatever comes to mind. Sketch things you’ve seen. Draw maps. Write a poem. Make note of the weather. Fill pages with stats and figures.
Author and adventurer Jack London had similar advice. “Keep a notebook,” he wrote. “Travel with it, eat with it, sleep with it. Slap into it every stray thought that flutters up into your brain. Cheap paper is less perishable than gray matter. And lead pencil markings endure longer than memory.”
Keep a notebook. Travel with it, eat with it, sleep with it. Slap into it every stray thought that flutters up into your brain. Cheap paper is less perishable than gray matter. And lead pencil markings endure longer than memory. – Jack London
When I travel with my family, we spend several hours each week writing in our journals. I’ll admit, there are times when my daughters would rather be doing something else, but down the road when they open their journals and read what they wrote, it always makes them smile.
Of course, photographs are excellent, too, as an image will forever remind you of the places you have been and the things you’ve seen. Video also captures what you have seen and adds to the images the natural sounds of a place and conversations between yourself and others. As valuable as these methods of documentation are, they can also distract a traveler from being present in the moment, from fully connecting with their surroundings, from assigning meaning to their experience. I am not discouraging travelers from taking photographs or video. During a trip, I take thousands of photos and hours of video. I’m only suggesting that a traveler strike a balance, and even put the camera away at times, so that they can focus undistracted on the wonders that surround them.
Keeping a journal is now an important part of my job, but even before I was an author I brought a notebook along with me wherever I traveled. In fact, I still have the tattered composition book that I took on a road trip through the Western United States; the spiral notebook I kept while wandering through Central America; the leather bound journal I was given by a friend to write in while hopping trains in Europe; the felt covered journal I used while exploring the South Pacific. In time, these journals have become priceless to me. The details of a particular day I spent in Greece would be lost if I had not set aside a little time to write them down.
Today, my journal of choice is a Moleskin, preferably the pocket-sized edition. (Quick note, I love them too and you can find them on Amazon or your local bookstore.) They are easy to tote around, and according to the company, were used by creative icons like Ernest Hemingway, Oscar Wilde, and Pablo Picasso. Hardcover and encased in black leather, they are the type of notebooks that just make you want to write! Once I have filled all of the pages, I open to the front flap and write every place that the journal has been. Then I stack it on the shelf with the others so it is handy when I need to reference something I’ve written.
A well-composed journal can be as entertaining and influential as the greatest novel or biography. For instance, the journals kept by some of the famous explorers from the 1800-1900s are some of the greatest adventure tales ever told. Lewis, Clark and Sacagawea’s expedition through western America; Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s attempt to become the first to reach the South Pole; Charles Darwin’s voyage aboard the Beagle! When I was young these journals inspired me to read, write and learn about the world. My great hope is that our fictional adventure series, Travels with Gannon & Wyatt, will do the same for young people today.
As a nod to these brave explorers of the past, Travels with Gannon & Wyatt is told through the journal entries of the two main characters, Gannon and Wyatt. There are also lined pages in the back of each book where readers can make their own notes. This, we hope, will entice young people to begin their own journey of self-discovery through journaling.
When I speak at elementary and middle schools, I leave students with a little advice. Growing up, I tell them, the smartest kids I knew were all avid readers and practiced writers. The reason being, I concluded, is that when you read and write, your life is truly enriched. The more you read and write, the deeper your thoughts and the deeper your understanding of the world. And let’s face it, the more you read and write, the more intelligent you become and the brighter your future.
Happy journaling!The Importance of Journaling by Keith Hemstreet - #familytravel Click To Tweet
Find out more about Travels with Gannon and Wyatt
Thank you again for sharing your journaling thoughts. I have always kept a travel journal, but I now want to make sure I go deeper in my writing. And I definitely need to check out some of the authors you recommended.
If you want to find out more about Keith Hemstreet and his Travels with Gannon & Wyatt series, you can find it on the website Gannon and Wyatt, follow them on Facebook, of via Mr. Hemstreet’s organization the Youth Exploration Society.