The other night I could not sleep and went into the library. Our family journals caught my eye and I flicked though a few. Wonderful memories flooded back and made me thankful that we had made the effort to record these trips.
The tradition started when I was a child. We had very little money and our holidays consisted of a couple weeks camping somewhere in England. My mum came up with the idea of creating a journal of our holiday – partly to keep us occupied! We pressed flowers and glued them to the pages and wrote their names alongside each one. We cut out photos from brochures of the area we were visited and pasted them in our journal along with train tickets and included our own drawings of places we had visited.
Later in life when I left the U.K. at twenty years old for the Caribbean I ended up as crew on a yacht traveling though the islands for a couple of months. I was well aware of how lucky I was and wrote a journal to share with my parents when I returned as a thank you. They had not had the opportunity for much travel and it was a way to share my adventures with them.
Fast forward to our own fortunate children who have enjoyed nearly every summer of their lives in Europe. Many of their younger years were spent staying on my mother’s boat in the French canals. Life was very simple which is helpful when you have young ones. We wrote every day and the journals include their drawings, and as they got older and were able to write, one or two sentences. These books are so precious to me now. As I turn the pages I see dried flowers, brass rubbing from ancient churches we visited and crayon drawings of a swan or a butterfly they saw that day. Our summer solstice party is recorded. We made wild flower wreaths and danced around the bbq. We lit candles on pieces of wood and watched them float down the river. Boats made out of walnut shells with a toothpick and some paper for a sail kept us entertained as we raced them down the river.
As they got older the girls’ interest waned and sadly the journal writing came to an end. The last journal we created included a journey on many trains from Paris to Zurich, Switzerland. The girls recorded in our Journal how many tunnels we went went through and how many bridges we crossed. It kept them entertained as we traveled via train and I am reminded of the moments where they hung out of the train window, their faces full of excitement as the train wound up and down the mountain passes.
If you have young children it’s worth a try to see if they have an interest in journalling while you travel. It’s a bit old-fashioned but worthwhile if you can make it happen