Don’t Forget to Pack Your Travel Journal!

Sunblock? Check. Camera? Check. Art journal? You better believe it.

Summer, for my family, means spending as many hours outside as possible, attending festivals, gardening, playing in the creek, going to concerts . . . living. We also make it a point to squeeze in some travel, whether it’s a beach vacation or simply a road trip to a nearby city.

As you go about your summer plans, there’s one thing that you’ll want on hand: your art journal. Take it with you to record your journey–what you do and see–as well as to jot down new ideas that are inevitably sparked by new experiences. To get you started, here’s some travel journal inspiration from Carol Hendrickson, who’s featured in PAGES magazine (part of the Mixed-Media Summer Travel Art Kit).

Travel journal notes | Carol Hendrickson,
Travel journal page by Carol Hendrickson

Explorations in Travel Journaling by Carol Hendrickson

During my years teaching anthropology, I was lucky to have numerous opportunities to travel with college students. While I always asked them to keep a travel journal to take notes on what they were learning, I found that they–and I–observed the world more fully if we sketched and archived found objects in our journals in addition to writing notes. Because of this, I began encouraging all my students to keep visual fieldnotes as part of their travel journals.

Anticipating comments like “But I’m not an artist,” I’m always ready with a number of techniques that don’t require a person to draw like a professional . . . or even to draw much at all. The idea is to jump in and draw, paint, glue, and write as part of the experience of being in a place. Go out into the world, find a good place to sit and observe–a park bench, a seat on a local bus, or a room with a view–and start. Even if you make what you might want to call mistakes, think of those marks as reminders of particular experiences.

My hope is always that people will discover additional ways to document the world around them and fill their journals with objects that reflect their trips, discoveries, and what they learned along the way. ~Carol

The Mixed Media Travel Art Kit, which also includes art supplies, a DVD, and more, is the first thing you should pack when heading out the door via car, plane, boat, or your own two feet. According to Carol, her PAGES article is “meant to spark your spirit of adventure and help you capture the sense of a place.” So what are you waiting for?

I’m still considering a road trip with my family to Cedar Point, a lakeside amusement park, later this season. How about you? Tell us your summer plans in the comments of the blog post!

Happy travel journaling,


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