Image via Flickr User Giorgio Montersino
Unless you are already a diligent journaler during trips, you are probably forgetting most of what you did on your last voyage abroad (you know it's true!). And yes, photographs can help you remember quite a bit, but we all know that there are plenty of activities that aren't conducive to cameras, times when we leave them at home, and feelings that a camera just can't capture. Do you want to just lose those moments forever?
If there's one thing I've learned after years of travel writing (and plenty of travel that never became an article), it's that I can hardly remember the glorious details of the latter. I'm willing to bet that the same could be said for your own memories. (A prime example is Paul over at TravMonkey--he just made a beautiful video of his voyage to Menorca--but had to call his mom to find out if he'd been there before! Turns out he had, but didn't remember).
So before you pack your bags for your next voyage, you should start a travel blog. Not to make money, and not get a million people to follow you, but for yourself, and maybe for other people you know. Many non-bloggers don't realize that you can blog without it being a big deal--you can do it just for fun. Because you can't film every minute of your voyages (nor should you try), but you can make a commitment to sit down every evening (or wake a few minutes earlier every morning) and get down your still-fresh memories from the day before while you are traveling.
Here's why it's totally worth it.
The people who really want to see your pictures and hear about your travel, can:
I love to hear people's travel stories, look at their pictures, and see a new place from someone else's perspective. But some people don't--my partner is one of those people. So when a mutual friend goes on an amazing voyage to Bhutan, I want to hear all the gory details and up-close shots of monk's faces, but he doesn't. When someone creates a travel blog I can dive deep into their trip and talk about it with them, but those who aren't interested, don't have to be bored out of their skulls. We all get what we want.
Image via Flickr User Elvert Barnes
You can help other travelers:
Of course, it's your choice whether to make your blog public to the world, completely private just for yourself, or semi-public (those who you invite can view it)--that's an option on any blogging platform. But if you choose to make your blog public, it's a boon to the travel community. Almost every new country I've ventured into, I've picked up some great piece of information online, plenty of times from non-experts. Sharing your experiences is a great way to keep updated information about a destination out there for others to benefit from.
You can inspire yourself:
Even if your travel blog is just for you and your family or friends, it still serves as a wonderful archive of your time for you to look back upon. When you're planning your next trip, it's worth looking back and seeing what you really enjoyed when you were doing it. A travel blog is a way to speak to yourself through time--if you had a revelatory day spent hiking by yourself, you might want to plan that into your next trip. Maybe taking a random cooking class really helped you connect to the local culture when you were in Oaxaca, so when you head to Japan you should do the same. Oftentimes our memories can get blurred, and looking back to see what you genuinely enjoyed on a previous trip will make you a smarter traveler over time.
It's really not difficult to set up a blog:
If you have never blogged before, there are many blogging resources online. Or, you can keep it super simple and just sign up for a free Wordpress account or, if you want to make things look really pretty, a Squarespace site (that one's not free, but it is super-duper easy and gorgeous). There's also this new site, TravelPod, that provides templates that are just made for travel bloggers (I haven't used this one, but it looks cool and easy).
You'll never remember all the awesome, personal details of your trip unless you get them down; so grab a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and just write for 15 minutes. About what you did, who you saw, what it smelled like and what the food you tasted reminded you of. Write about the colors you saw or the conversations you had (or tried to have!) with locals. Jot down your feelings of frustration about not following the map correctly and getting lost, or how much you missed your kids or partner when you were away. Write about what you bought to bring home--and why--and what you didn't buy but were tempted by. Write about how you feel being in that particular place in the world.
Consider travel blogging as the New Postcard, and you can't go wrong with what you share, even if it's just with yourself.
Remember, your trip is like no other. Don't forget it.