Keeping your Memories Alive

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January 8, 2008

I am often asked what makes for a good travel journal. We have an Aussie chap, Aaron, on staff who spends a good chunk of his time reviewing Trip Journals and trying to decide which journals qualify as the “best“. There’s no simple answer but, having read many good and mundane journal posts, a few consistent features come to mind.

Why worry about quality?

Last week I discussed the 4 main motivators for keeping a Trip Journal. Reasons 2 “Trip journaling is a great way to keep friends and family current on your trip” and 3 “An online Trip Journal makes for vivid memories for years to come” are important to almost all RV’ers who journal their trips.

This is just another way of saying: “Think of your Audience” (current and future) when you write journal entries and post photos and video. Your audience today will be your friends, family and colleagues; your audience later in life will likely just be you and your immediate family members.

Paint a picture with feelings

I’ve found that the journal entries I most look forward to speak to the author’s feelings when coming to a place. While your audience might be interested in facts and figures, you can never go wrong linking those facts to your feelings of a place.

Note how in the final sentence below, the authors link the most mundane of subjects – the weather – into their experience searching for the elusive Alaskan rock ptarmigan:

Other than the birds, we greatly enjoyed the scenery, the wildflower show and 3 Bull Moose grazing. The local alpine wildflowers include some just like Colorado tundra flowers (Moss Campion, Sulphur Paintbrush, Sky Pilots, Monk’s Hood, Cow Parsnip), some similar (a wild Geranium and Alpine Lupine) and some we’ve never seen (Alaska Spiraea, Moss Heather, Cottongrass, Bunchberry and Diapensia). Marilyn kept remarking about the wonderful fragrance of the flowers in the air as we passed large fields of flowers all day.

We had another recommended trail on which to scout for Willow Ptarmigan, but the rain and the tired bodies from the very steep climb to the Wheatear and supposed Rock Ptarmigan habitat convinced us to dry off in the car, replace calories and leave the elusive Willow and Rock “Darn-it again” birds for another day.

The entry title is “Darn-It-Again, Those Ptarmigan”: funny, entertaining, and just enough to get me reading about the couple’s quest for this elusive bird!

The accompanying photos include this one which complements the thought, again without harping on the weather itself.

I’ll continue with more tips for great journals in later postings.

By the way, if you know what this plant is (also from the Binkley trip journal), be sure to let me know:

Unknown tundra plant

Dan Parlow

Personal Travel Websites by RV.Net ; Online Travel Journals by ; Explore Good Sam Club Trip Journals ; Woodalls Trip Journals ; Travel Journals by Trailer Life Directory ; Traveling USA Travel Blogs

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