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On the road

Every day is new and exciting when we travel. Even people who have never kept a journal in their lives start a journal to record their impressions and feelings about the places they see and the people they meet on vacation.

When we move out of our normal routine our senses sharpen. Scents are stronger, tastes sharper, sights more vivid when we venture into new places. What we write in our travel journal takes us straight back to our sensations and experiences on the road.

I start a fresh journal on the day I leave home. I choose a smaller, lighter, more portable journal, and a pen that won't leak in my bag or run on the page if it rains. Sometimes I take a pencil and, if I am driving and have plenty of room, some colour pencils or crayons. Often a scene or building or small detail cries out for an image rather than words.

On my earlier travels when even the plane ticket delighted me, I kept bus and train tickets, menus, brochures and concert programs, and left room to paste photographs onto my journal pages. Now that the camera on my phone takes better pictures than my old digital camera, I upload images into a digital journal rather than print them out.

Before I leave home, I rule the first few pages up as contents pages and number all the pages. Each time I move to a new place I write the new place and the page number in the contents.

I wrote from as many senses as possible when on my four caminos in Spain and France. When home again, I reflected on my transformation on the trail, especially on the Camino Frances, for months. Eventually I used my journals to write an entire book A Contemplative Camino on my inward and outward journeys. Below you'll see a random selection of images I captured on the Camino Frances.

Most of us have been confined close to home for almost a year now. I've spent many an hour in my journal planning the trip I'll take when Covid finally burns itself out. I'll want to record every precious moment of it!




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