A-Z Challenge,  Journaling

Journaling: J is for Journey

When trying to fit ideas into an A-Z format, sometimes I must take liberties. In this case, travel becomes “journey” to meet the need for a letter J focus.

I wrote a lot about travel journaling in Journaling Toward Wholeness: A 28-Day Plan to Develop a Journaling Practice. Much of my inspiration came from my favorite travel writing books, Globejotting by Dave Fox.

Travel journaling can relate to a physical trip to somewhere else, or travel journaling can also refer to the metaphorical journey through life.

Pre Journaling:

When I travel overseas, or to any new location, I spend a lot of time researching. I want to envision the place, the people, the culture as much as possible. By building anticipation, I enjoy the trip even more.

The same principle holds true in life. As we anticipate the joyous moments: our wedding day, the birth of our children, the start of a new job — journaling our emotions and expectations can help us prepare.

Conversely, we may be apprehensive about other life experiences — the impending divorce, the parent in hospice, the inevitable bankruptcy. Journaling our worries and fears gives voice to the internal struggle.

Pre-journaling investigates those dark crevices and discovers a glimmer of hope.

Fast Journaling:

During a milestone moment with specifics to consider and emotions to handle, there isn’t much time to write.

Fast journaling focuses on details rather than events. Don’t focus on complete sentences and a thorough summary of the moment, Instead, jot down as many observations as possible. Focus on the senses: what do you see, smell, hear, taste, and feel? Your full memory of that event will be locked within those details.

Just get words on a page so you can experience the present moment. Later, you will have the opportunity to write more about it.

Post Journaling:

At this point, the “journey” was a few weeks ago. The high points are still vivid in my mind, but the low points have tempered. Now I have the added benefit of perspective. Distance from the event allows me to view it more objectively.

Sometimes I am able to do this after a few weeks. Other times it may take several months or even years. Remember to give yourself grace and not rush the process. The right time will present itself.

Often during this phase, I not only gain an objective perspective for myself, but I also gain the ability to see the experience from others’ eyes. The passing of time allows me to put myself in their shoes, walk around a bit, and recognize an alternative point of view.

(Photo credit: Jan Vasek from Pixabay)


  • Giggling Fattie

    Very interesting read for the morning! I’ve never really been one to do a lot of “post-journaling”. I find that it’s better to do it in the moment or at the end of the day. When I travel, I bring a journal with me and take note of the picture numbers in my camera for that day, and the places that they would correspond to so I can organize my photographs when I get home, and then I spend a few minutes before bed writing about the day. Then, if I’m going to be doing a blog post later, I have notes and pictures to help me out with it. 🙂

    Giggling Fattie

    • Molly Totoro

      I LOVE this detailed organization! It never dawned on me to note the picture numbers – BRILLIANT 🙂
      I do enjoy post-journaling the night after the event. The details are still fresh in my mind, and it is a great way to unwind after a long day.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  • pat

    Molly, with my mantra this year, I was excited to see J= journey. LOL . But travel journaling was a different spin. I do travel journaling almost on every trip. It’s been super helpful on longer trips when we sit down with the pictures to make sense of them…. what bird was that? Which hike was on which day? I’ve even done an A to Z for some of our longer trips…. towards the end to bring it all together!

    • Molly Totoro

      Pat… I LOVE the idea of doing an A-Z summary. I will definitely try that the next time we travel (which might be next week…)

    • Molly Totoro

      The A-Z challenge is a hectic month, Janet. I appreciate your constant support and encouragement of my blogging efforts 🙂

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