Looking at that title may make you wonder about what the five senses have to do with journaling. Actually a whole lot! A picture may be worth a thousand words but it only goes so far in recording your travel experience. It may show what you see but it won't show what you smelled, tasted, felt, or heard (unless of course it's video in which case you may have some sound).
Too often we record only what we see and forget the other senses. I remember our river cruise through France. We awoke to find ourselves docked by the little town of Ville des Andelys. What I saw was something out of a Monet painting. Slightly foggy air muted the greens, reds, and blues around us like an Impressionist's painting. What I heard as we walked into the town was the quiet of the morning, a single bird calling, and the stirrings of a little town about to begin its day. What I felt was the fresh dew on my feet.
The memory that lingers strongest from that trip though was coming to a Y in the road and suddenly having the smell of fresh bread surround me. Across the street was the bakery. The baker was already at work making her baguettes for the morning business. You see in France most everyone buys a baguette and munches on it for breakfast. And what tastes better than fresh baked bread? Absolutely heavenly.
Use your senses, all of them, to explore and then record what you find. It will add depth to your journaling. Some smells (I'm thinking dirty barn) and tastes (mate-tea of Argentina) are pungent, revolting, or unappealing but they are still a part of your journey. Others like fresh bread, salty sea air, and the scent of pine (always reminds me of Canada) are important elements to include in your journal entries. There are pine trees in Australia that have the softest needles I have ever felt and the skin of a muddy catfish as it wiggles in your hand one of the more unpleasant sensations. The opera sampling we heard in China was enough to make you want to grind your teeth but it was a part of their culture. The cry of a howler monkey in the jungle of Belize sounded like an amplifier gone wild and for a moment that's what we thought it was, but what an awesome sound.
Assignment: Go to a fair, an amusement park, or zoo in your area and see how many ways you can describe your adventure other than just what you saw. Tune in with your other senses and see if you don't deepen your experience. Then try recording it in words as well as pictures.
Creative Travel Journaling - The View
- The Tools
- Descriptive Language
- The Journal