The last few weeks passed in a blur. I was in Prague and Cannes for work, followed by a birthday weekend in Marseille before heading back to Prague for another project.
Whenever I travel and have the time to explore a place, I would take notes of new observations or things that interest me. This could be anything from how a small Japanese village is reinvigorating its aging population to adding chili to avocado toast for an extra kick or the story behind a historic Art Deco building.
I would jot down my thoughts in various forms: Scribbles on scraps of paper, a list of bullet points on Evernote, an audio recording on my phone or a comment on the back of a name card. Sometimes I take photos to note down information when I’m in a hurry.
Often I wish I have a consistent way of taking notes when I’m on the road so that I will have one central repository for my travel memories.
How do you keep track of your memories or observations when you travel?
When I was recently in Japan, I wrote down my thoughts during the first five days in a notebook. I wish I had continued doing so for the rest of the trip as it was useful to record and reflect on my experiences while the memories were fresh and vivid.
Speaking of Japan, I have always wanted to get a Midori Traveler’s Notebook as I love the brown leather cover and how it develops a beautiful patina over time. In the end, I bought a simple notebook – also from Midori, which is a well-established stationer in Japan – and am happy with my purchase. The quality of the paper makes for smooth writing and I like that the notebook opens up flat.
At the end of the day (or trip), I think what matters more is that we pay attention to what we goes on around us, so that we can fully experience each moment.
With this, I would like to end with a quote from Paul Theroux – who is renowned for his travel writings including The Great Railway Bazaar – about taking photos when travelling:
“If you take pictures, you tend not to look very hard at the thing that you’re taking a picture of. If you don’t take pictures, you look very hard and you remember much more of the experience that you’re looking at.”