Every time before I go on a trip, I go through a ritual. I pick out my travel journal. I must admit, being a journal addict, I rarely had to actually go out and buy a new journal, because I buy them when I find them, which means I usually have a selection at home. Not so much with travel journals usually, but this time I was lucky. I had bought one while wandering through a shop, and found a lovely journal on sale, and I had another one that my sister gave me for Christmas a year or so ago.
I decided to go with the one my sister gave me, because I like it better, and I was saving it for a reasonably long trip so I could fill it. It has quite wide rules, so with pre-trip journaling, on-trip journaling, and post-trip journaling, I should be able to fill it. At least I should, if I don't get lazy (sometimes that happens.) So now the journal is selected.
First step is to write down dates of the trip on the front page, then create couple of pages for an Index. Then I start with bit of pre-trip journaling. Include itinerary, expectations, why I picked this destination etc. Whatever I fancy really. That way, I also experiment with different pens and find out what works better on each journal, so that I know what pens to take on my trip.
Besides breaking in a new journal, the most exciting part is doing research on travel journals. I must admit, I don't really need to do this - but I enjoy it. Often I would just browse through pictures of people's travel journals on Google images or flickr, or I would read articles about keeping travel journals. It motivates me. It inspires me. It gets me excited about my travel journal.
Travel journaling is very important for my own memories, but it is also a learning process. I aim to make each of my journal better than the last one, to capture the full extent of my experience. It doesn't always happen, because sometimes at the end of a long day, I can't be bothered to write. Sometimes I end up writing too much about my feelings and not enough of facts, or sometimes too many facts and not enough about my personal impressions.
Also, being a good travel journal keeper helps tremendously with regular journals. It is the same process. It is just that quite often we forget to look at our everyday world with fresh eyes. We forget to look for exciting things, just because we walk past them. So whenever I keep a travel journal, I inevitably get much better involved in my day-to-day journal too.
What about you? Do you keep travel journals? Do you have any special methods of selecting a journal? Do you write every day on your trip, or occasional tid-bids?