Beyond boring travel diaries – my new course on travel writing for everyone

Update: Travel Journal School – my new online course to help you make your travel journals and other memories really sing – is starting in October. If you want to know more about it, sign up here:

Some of you may not know that in my other non-travel-blogging life I also work in training and consulting for blogging and social media. Part of this involves teaching courses at UWA Extension and for this January they asked me to teach something brand new – a course about writing about and recording your travels in all different kinds of ways. I was so excited!

Now I’m sitting down to prepare the course and I’m doubly excited. I suddenly have an outlet for all kinds of travel diaries and journals I’ve created over the years, a reason for all the paraphernalia I like to collect on my travels, and a captive audience to share it all with! (Well, semi-captive. If I bore them in the first week, perhaps they won’t return the following one!)

Anyway all this got me thinking about the different ways I’ve recorded my travels over the years. I can’t dig up what I think is my very first travel diary but I know I had a special exercise book on a short trip my family made to Kalbarri in Western Australia. I can remember some of its contents, but I was probably about seven  years old and let’s just say my perspective on life was a bit limited and most of the stories were about mundane events like what we bought in the supermarket.

When my family campervanned around Europe when I was nine I kept a kind of travel scrapbook with bits and pieces stuck into it – receipts from dinner, postcards, entry tickets, an occasional drawing, and I’m afraid even a piece of seaweed from Greece! Over 25 years later I love looking through these two bulging diaries of memories.

And during the five and a half years I lived away from Perth, I kept a constant diary of what I was up to – which means I can go back and see that on this day nine years ago I was in Osaka, getting ready to start work for the year the following day, and collecting brochures from travel agents so I could book a trip to Okinawa. Very often this diary just consisted of straight text (I am at heart a words girl, after all) but I did still stick in various bits and pieces that crossed my path (including cherry blossoms from my first hanami season in Japan).

More recently, I’ve got a bit fancier with some of the ways I keep my travel memories and put together photo books, digital scrapbooks and even the occasional video. I think it helps that I don’t travel quite as much any more (ah – there’s one advantage to less travel!), because I wouldn’t be able to keep it up for long-term travel, but when it’s an occasional trip and I’m even more excited about it then it’s really a pleasure to spend some time after the fact looking through photos and notes I’ve taken and brochures and stuff I’ve collected and putting it all together to create a fun memory.

If you’re in Perth and want to come along and discover a whole bunch of other ideas for recording your travels then take a look at the UWA Extension course info. And for everyone else: do you have a special way to record your travels?


  1. I actually started blogging because of travel – I created a webpage to keep friends updated about my 2007 trip to the US and enjoyed it so much I ended up starting a blog on a blogging platform (initially Blogger, now WordPress).
    After this year’s European trip with my parents I created a book of photos, text and a map of where we went using templates I can access through my Mac. I ordered it from Apple for Mum and Dad and was delighted with the quality. Twenty-eight full colour pages, hardcopy, for ~$100. It’s a real coffee table book they can show their friends.

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