Tuesday, September 8, 2009

One of the many things I wish I were better at is keeping a journal. Throughout our house are beautiful bound books with the evidence of my good intentions: a couple of entries, a week or two absence, a few more stops and starts and, then, nothing. Two of my most treasured possessions are a "note" book that Caryn, my best-friend in high school, and I would write in and pass back and forth in between class and a gingham covered book which is the only journal that I kept for an extended period of time. The former is a silly back and forth between two teenage girls obsessed with boys and trying to wend our way through puberty. The latter details Vito and my struggle with infertiliy and subsequent pregnancy with Morgan. Paging through the two is like stepping into a time machine. I'm instantly transported back, laughing and crying as I remember the person I was back then.

Our family took a trip recently to San Franciso to attend the christening of my nephew, Sullivan. I began with the girls what I hope to be a continuing tradition... the travel diary. Armed with books, stickers, glue sticks and crayons provided by Nana, the girls and I would sit in the hotel after a day of sightseeing and discuss our adventures. Since they are still learning to write, I'd jot down a few of their quotes or a memory that I had from the day (ie "Sophie slept her way down Lombard Street" or Morgan says "I'm going to move to San Francisco when I'm in 8th grade.") Then, the girls would draw, color and decorate the pages however they felt. I highly recommend you try this with your kids next family trip as it is a great way to unwind (and keep the kids quiet) in the hotel room and will help all of your relive the fun of the vacation for years to come.

A few tips:
1. Be sure to grab brochures, business cards and area travel magazines wherever you go. They are great items to paste into the books. (And be sure to get enough for each child to have their own. You don't want any arguments over that ONE particular picture of the Golden Gate Bridge!)
2. Look for a book that is small enough to stick in a bag or purse as the travel journals are also a good pastime for antsy kids in a restaurant.
3. When you get home, print out a few pictures of your child on the trip and add them to the book.
4. Remember, there is no "right" way to make a travel journal. Try not to influence their creativity too much. If your 2 year old wants to put EVERY San Francisco sticker layered on top of each other on one page and not space them out evenly so there are enough for each page, let them! You will look at that page and chuckle once you are home.


Barbara Weeks said...

I hope they keep journaling too! One of my favorite travel journals is one I've kept since 1994! It records with collage, sketches and words my (almost) yearly trips to Longboat Key and the great people I've met there. It sure beats the box of impersonal brochures etc. I have from so many other places!

Genevieve said...

I love this! Somewhere stashed away I have a little journal I made of my first trip to San Francisco when I was about seven...It would be great to go back and look at it now that I live here. Who knows what city your girls will be living in as grown ups when they are fondly reviewing memories in their journals!