29 responses

  1. Kristina
    January 30, 2012

    This is exactly why I kept up my blog for my shorter trips after my RTW trip ended. I can’t tell you how many times I have referred back to it when trying to remember a detail or story from the past 13 years.
    I admit my writing style for the blog has changed in the past couple of years from the day by day detail to posts which are more grouped by subject, but I think the day by day format has its place. I would do the same if I were to do another trek or perhaps an African safari.
    I look forward to reading the account of your Everest trek, day by day. :-)

    • Dave from The Longest Way Home
      January 31, 2012

      It’s the details that count! Those are the little things I always miss out on. Thinking I’d remember them. I remember the images, but sometimes those great quotes for fluttering away into time.

      Everest … Lot’s of posts but will spread them out not to overwhelm inboxes :)

  2. wandering educators
    January 30, 2012

    i love writing and documenting. that said, most of my writing now goes into blog posts. when i want to remember, i check there. isn’t it crazy?!

    • Mzuri
      February 4, 2012

      I don’t think that’s crazy at all. For one, your blog is a journal with a searchable memory!

      Two, it’s a cool way to look at what I was doing one year ago “today,” two years ago “today,” etc.

      Finally, I like how vividly the memory comes back to me when I re-read an entry, especially if I’ve included enough “color commentary” details.

  3. Anna’s World
    January 30, 2012

    I’ve always kept a diary. I don’t write everyday, but only when I feel like it. I’m not sure if anyone will ever want to read it though. But it feels good to write things out sometimes.

    • Dave from The Longest Way Home
      January 31, 2012

      I’m sure you might read them one day. Especially if taking some factual notes in there too!

  4. Adrian
    January 30, 2012

    Sharing my thoughts on this, I’ve kept an intermittent paper journal for the last ten or fifteen years, some is for myself, some is for public consumption. Sometimes its a travel journal, more often its just day to day minutiae, it might be of interest in the future, it might not, but if I don’t jot it down it will be gone and I know that I sometimes wish I’d written things down about other times past in my life.

    Despite all the technological tools and toys I’ve still found that jotting it down on paper is the least intrusive way of quickly recording the information, I then tend to transcribe at my leisure into typed up notes — really simple text files, one page per day. I sometimes think that the cheap A6 paper notebooks I use to write in will outlast the online copies. The online copies are far easier to search and read though.

    • Dave from The Longest Way Home
      January 31, 2012

      Yes I agree, if you don’t note some things down, they get lost in the sands of time.

      I agree about the difference between the pleasure of writing on paper, but the efficiency of online searching through them. I imagine we’re about 3-5 years away from something which might hit upon a happy medium.

      Meanwhile I too will continue with paper notes, no battery drainage there.

  5. Michael
    January 30, 2012

    “Journal is a manly term for personal diary”. Reminds of the time I didn’t eat quiche because a book was titled “Real men don’t eat quiche.” Anyway, I also prefer jotting down with pen on paper what I want to remember of a trip. As to what I felt during the trip, if things went wrong, I’d remember how I felt. It’s usually the trips that went smoothly that I’d find hard to recall years later. And smart phones to jot anything down? I can’t even use an old mobile phone properly.

    • Dave from The Longest Way Home
      January 31, 2012

      Didn’t James Bond once make Quiche in a movie? :)

      Like I mentioned above I think we’re still 3-5 years away from anything that can come close to replacing paper notes.

      My major issue is battery, and reliability. If the phone/table breaks, or gets stolen I’ve lost all. Yes there’s the internet, but world isn’t that physically connected when you travel.

      A notebook on other hand is less likely to be stolen, can survive drops and even some water. It might be blurry, but it’s still there!

  6. Shannon
    January 30, 2012

    Well thought out post and I have a couple points I’d like to make:

    1. Yes I want the latest info, not last year’s or 5 years ago for that matter if I am doing research on a particular destination blogs are great for this whether or not journaling is involved.

    2. I could care less if it was written 100 years ago if I’m reading for the learning/pleasure of knowing about one’s travels or life’s adventures what have you.

    So you see there is a time for both current and outdated content; I am content with both, but I need both not one or the other.

    Now.. there are times where I wished I would have written it down, I don’t know why I didn’t or didn’t care to or didn’t know how to heck I still don’t care to write anything down it hurts my hands and after awhile I can’t even read my own handwriting! But I want to record it somehow, no I don’t want to record my voice or a video of me either but I don’t mind typing if its on a PC or laptop. Its a bit hard to take notes on a phone its a bit more cumbersome than a tablet (somewhat easier).

    Now if I could just get a tablet to convert my handwriting to text I’d have a +1 bonus incentive to do it this way; unfortunately not everywhere I go is going to have all the electricity in the world so I DO have a notebook as a backup.

    I need to devise a plan on the best way to record my thoughts, ideas, my experiences, etc and one way so far is to photograph it all but I still need some words to go with it.

    I look forward to your next few posts, hopefully I will get enough out of it before I leave by the end of February.

    • Dave from The Longest Way Home
      January 31, 2012

      Hi Shannon,

      I agree with you fully. There’s a separation between factual reading and pleasure reading.

      Though I write a lot of facts down here, I transcribe them over to my travel section for “just the facts”. It seems to work for me as a reference/documentations and recording tool. Time consuming, but at least once it’s up, it’s up.

      I do think we are about 3-5 years away from a good replacement of paper note books. As in something that’s easier to manage, super long battery life, and backups.

      Though I record a lot on my phone, it’s only when I have internet. I used voice type and manual type. I tried recording my voice, but never listen back as I have to type it all out again.

      When there’s no internet, I use notes. And Photographs, being sure to keep the dates on them, and write down the location.

      I hope the next few posts won’t be too overwhelming. There’s about a month of them. But like I said, I just want to have the trek documented out well.

      • Shannon
        January 31, 2012

        I should have pointed out that with the advance of GPS capable phones/cameras you won’t even have to write down your locations anymore.

        So far I have found 3 (although there are more than 3 now) P&S cameras capable of geolocation, I have the Cybershot HX100V and another travel blogger has the Cybershot HX9V and of course I got my mom a Panasonic Lumix which has it now too just think we’re getting closer to the melting pot where writing digitally with long term batteries will be possible in the 3-5 year span as you said.

        This post was a bit long, but in fair enough detail I would still look forward to your next ones.

  7. Giovanna
    January 30, 2012

    Since my Mother(94)has dramatically lost her memory since about one year-we have to remind her the facts and possibly,sentiments,emotions,of her life-I too want to write a journal or diary,not only of trips or travels, only for myself; the problem is,if memory is the essence of oneself,will have details of one’s past the same importance,or relief?When you were sick,you shared with us more details of your own doubts and fears,apart analysis records etc;it’s your”job”,you freely chose it,and we readers are glad of it,well not for the origin of it,sickness and pain,but becouse you tought it was also important.But a private diary is also meaningful or is a waste of time? When I read many “status changes”on Facebook,I really doubt it is worthwhile!

    • Dave from The Longest Way Home
      January 31, 2012

      You bring up many good points Giovanna. I think a journal is only as good as someone wants it to be. For example if you want to keep a record of medication or a diet and if something works or not, it can help.

      But if one is just cataloging an event for no other reasons than to record it, I think it loses it’s purpose unless it’s for something that can help others. Bus routes, places to eat etc.

      Is a private diary a waste of time? I think it’s relative to the person writing it. Again if you are sick, and take notes about what makes you better, then you can possibly trace things and join them together to find a solution.

      But, unless you want to read about your own life, or someday plan to pass on a personal diary to someone, then there is little purpose to a private diary. Except that is if writing things down, and letting them out helps you deal with things. A bad job, relationship are usually two examples whereupon writing out what you feel, if only to yourself, and often help in dealing with a situation.

      As for FaceBook or even Twitter … I think these are more public notions of interest. Social networks for sharing with others. Publicly making statements that others react too can be addictive, and feed a sense of purpose. To record things … hmmm. Much to a lesser extent.

  8. hayadeen
    January 30, 2012

    ..i will start writing my own journal after this.Thank you for this ‘reminder, Dave.

    by the way, the printed journal u have up there is thicker than my Oxford dictionary sir.. ;)

    • Dave from The Longest Way Home
      January 31, 2012

      If I could be so bold as to say “Only writing a journal if you like to” Otherwise … its book of blank pages.

      The printed journal … that would be my manuscript LOL

  9. John Dwyer
    January 30, 2012

    Lovely piece about the importance of journals…sorry, diaries :-) When I set off on my overland trip from China to India, a friend gave me a leather-bound journal. There was something about the silky feel of the cover that demanded I record only the best of my experiences into it. I’m glad I did as I often pick it up now and read a random section. I laugh at how much I’ve changed and still amazed at the people I met. Priceless.


    • Dave from The Longest Way Home
      January 31, 2012

      Leather-bound journals and moleskin’s :) Indeed, very much reserved for recording the best or worst of times!

  10. Cristine
    January 30, 2012

    I do keep a diary and write intermittently (merely because I am often lazy), but I often wish I’d have recorded more stuff! This year, I promised myself I would record things as often as I can and so far I have been keeping this promise but it’s only been a month in the year so I hope to keep it up. To help me with this, I not only bring a notebook with me as often as I can, but I also started using phone apps to record some notes. At least, whenever I need to record something, or an inspiration strikes me, I can readily note it down.

    • Dave from The Longest Way Home
      January 31, 2012

      I think that’s a good idea you have their Cristine. I often found it a struggle to write everything down. Hence I’ve lately taken to pulling out my phone and quickly writing something down. Evernote is a nice app for that as it backs things up once you’re online too.

  11. Lauren K
    January 31, 2012

    Great post Dave. Everything you said was spot on for me. As I gear up for my next big trip here in March, I’m already thinking how I will document this trip. Also, I’m greatly looking forward to your EBC posts. Heading to Nepal to do the same in May. Feel better.

    • Dave from The Longest Way Home
      February 1, 2012

      Thanks. Get yourself one of those nice small bound notebooks to record the important things! It makes a nice keepsake too. Electricity is pretty bad here (in the off season), so charging electronics is often a problem.

      I hope the EBC posts will be interesting for you, there’s a lot of them. Might be overkill, but at least it’s all recorded :)

  12. Christine | Grrrl Traveler
    February 1, 2012

    That’s so funny, i was just reading your post too. The journal movment for me has sadly taken a sharp nose dive since the introduction of my iPod Touch. Before that I was a moleskin carrier and loved them. I’d scribble notes or paste pics in them and that was my way of journalling. I don’t think I was ever the emotional diary type of person. When I see photos or objects, even scribbles, i get a pretty tangible recollection of things. It’s really facts that I forget.

    I’ve often thought about how to revive the moleskin but it becomes one more thing to carry; I miss the tangibility of it all.

    • Dave from The Longest Way Home
      February 2, 2012

      Well easy to know what to get you for a present … a moleskin iPod cover! Win win eh?!

  13. Mahara
    February 2, 2012


    I’ve written quite a few trip reports about our 34 month – 46 country journey. I’ve just been reviewing them over the past couple of days. First of all, what a pleasure to reread in detail. The names of places tend to blur for me after a few years, but there they are. I have a visual memory. Also, it has made me more appreciative of our personal journey

    I’ve got a box full of notes from some places I never did write about – India and Jordan, for example, and now I am sorry because it will never capture the mood quite as well as I would have at the time. I tended to write on buses, etc. and that did keep me up to date.

    I also write my personal goals, struggles and achievements down, but don’t keep that in intertwined with my travel stuff.

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