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The Importance of a Travel Journal

So it’s been a whole two years since I travelled out to Kenya and Tanzania to start my volunteer experience abroad. Time has gone by so quickly, with the mad rush of coming back to the UK, moving into a new home and finding a job I’ve barely had time to think about my experiences volunteering abroad!

Memories flooded back to me when I was tidying out my studio just last week and I found my travel journal amongst some books, it was filled with writing, keepsakes and photos.  I had almost forgotten I had it, such a beautiful little artifact.  I got comfy and sat for a few hours reading it back to front, surprising myself with lost memories, laughing over the funny stories and crying when remembering the sorrow I saw in others’ lives.

Putting my journal down, I realised how important it was to me.  With the hustle and bustle, happiness and upset, friendships and relationships and just life in general, I had almost lost sight of one of the most important experiences of my life.

I wrote in my travel journal nearly everyday I was away. Even if it was just a funny moment or a jotting down of an experience, when I read back about these things I instant have images and memories pop up in my mind and I am filled with an overpowering urge to leap into the air and do a dance of joy!

Volunteering in Kenya and Tanzania were pretty much the best times of my life, I had experiences I never thought I would have to opportunity to have. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Top Tips for your Travel Journal:

  •  A journal is an amazing way to create a memoir – think about what you would like to read about and remind your self of in 10, 20, 30 years to come!
  • You might want to include your daily routine/schedule as a traveller and volunteer.
  • Make a list of people you have met so you can read through and remember your experiences with them, if you like you can get their contact details so you can stay in touch.
  • Collect leaflets and maps and stick them in your journal, or keep an envelope at the back so all your keepsakes are together.
  • Write down funny things you’ve overheard, or conversations with a special person you met.
  • Draw! Even if you don’t have an artistic bone in your body, drawing something you see can instantly remind you of a place or experience you had.
  • You don’t have to write in chronological order but it’s good to pop in the days and dates you are writing about.
  • Write down your experiences while it’s fresh in your mind. If you don’t have time to write it all in, jot down some key words that will jog your memory to fill in the gaps later.
  • MOST IMPORTANTLY! – this is your journal so put what interests you into it!

Using these tips helped me to write my journal which I will be able to treasure forever.


Written by Hannah Utley, Placement Advisor at Kaya.