How good are you at keeping your journal? Most nomads set off on the ‘Big One’ with every intention of keeping a blow-by-blow account of one of the biggest adventures of their lives. Unfortunately, by the second or third month, the novelty has often worn off and those detailed entries have trailed off into hurried notes written weeks later.
Those that do manage to keep up the daily routine, however, find it well worth the effort. Jane from Adelaide has just completed her second trip around Australia.
“We were away for six months and I kept a daily record,” she says, proudly. “I have already started looking back over my journal and it brings back so many vivid memories.”
Jane says she knows there were things in there that they would have forgotten by now and would have just been lost forever.
“Small meetings that we had, or jokes that we shared,” she said. “My husband Jim and I will now be able to relive the trip for years to come.”
Jane’s determination to keep up with her diary sprang, in part, from her failure to do so the first time she took a big trip.
“I only kept it up for six weeks back then,” Jane says. “I have regretted it ever since.”
Apart from the personal memories and recollections of special moments shared with new friends on the road, many nomads choose to also record some more dry information in their journals. Kilometres travelled, fuel prices paid, campsite costs, grocery expenses – they are all popular headings for diary entries.
“I keep a record of all that sort of stuff,” says Territorian Alan, who has been travelling for four months. “Every time we sit down for a beer with someone on the road, I’ll pass on a few tips. If I can help someone save a few dollars or avoid the mistakes I’ve made, I’ll do it. And it’s all there in black and white, so people will know what they’re in for. Plus, I might be back the same way again myself some day.”
A diary probably takes little more than 10 minutes a day to keep up to date but can be worth its weight in gold. A lot of people make the mistake of refusing to believe that they will ever forget any aspect of their trip.
“It all seems so wonderful and unforgettable at the time,” says Jane, “but the memory does fail over time and it’s a shame if you don’t have any record. Even if you do remember what you did, you’re bound to forget what you were thinking and how you were feeling at the time.”
Nomads are increasingly turning to their laptops and the internet to record their journeys as well. Blogs of ‘Our Big Lap’ have become very popular and allow travellers to upload photos to go with their written accounts … with the added benefit that folks at home can keep abreast of all the news of the trip as it happens. There are lots of free blog spaces available online providing a variety of templates for budding bloggers to choose from. The other bonus of blogs is that they are a great way of alerting everyone to where you are and what you’re doing without writing heaps of individual emails, texts or letters.
Whichever method you use to record your journey, take the time to do it … you’ll be glad you did.