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The Merits Of Keeping A Travel Journal

To those of you who already keep a diary or journal you will immediately identify with this blog. In the past I had never kept any kind of written documentation of my life. The closest I had ever come to that was the unbridled number of photos my husband and I took of our first child in her first year of life! Those of you with kids will know exactly how meticulous this particular visual testimonial can become. Not to mention the tedious hours of adoring video footage taken of sleeping babes.

My initiation into journal writing began when our family embarked upon our great Ozzi road trip adventure.  Having up-sticks and changed continent our greatest desire was to introduce our three girls to the vast diversity of the Australian landscape. To take a glimpse at the ancient and enduring culture of it’s indigenous people and explore the allure and formidable energy that one witnesses along Australia’s prodigious coastal front.

After some umm-ing and aha-ing we choose the caravan hire/car option in preference to the Winnebago route.  We wanted, (indeed needed!) greater flexibility, especially with the requirements of three young kids to meet.   So, with our Jayco pop-top caravan fully laden we set off for our ‘once in a life-time’ adventure.  Without any doubt our ‘Ozzi walkabout’ was the best, most intense, happy family time we had ever experienced.

I am so grateful for my decision, and amazed at my commitment to keeping a journal during those two and half months that we traveled round half of Australia.  The kids are still young and I wanted to help them remember things.  Not just the kind of reminders you get from photographs, but the intensity of vision and the emotional stimulus one gets with the magical partnership between the written word and an unleashed imagination.  And frankly, with the ravages of time not slowing up for me (despite repeated request), it helps me remember too!  Re-experienced every moment re-visited – I cannot think of a better way to endorse the indulgence of keeping a journal.

The process of writing itself is perhaps unsurprisingly cathartic too.  And, even more than this, finally, I also enjoyed the added bonus of being ‘allowed’ some time to write, some time for me  – a commonly scarce commodity for any parent!

So, I urge all you closet writers, poets, observers, philosophers, empiricists – take note!   As the ravages of time do their thing and erode the clarity of our memories, an antidote may well be to write a travel journal as guardian of those treasured experiences.


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