5 Tips for Successful Travel Journaling

Last weekend, I came back from a wonderful week in Thailand. The week was dedicated to unplugging and relaxing. My husband brought his mandoline and I brought my sketching gear. We went to a tiny, sleepy island in the Gulf of Thailand, no tourist attractions (and just a handful of mostly thai tourists), not much to do. Perfect. So that's what we did: not much. Except for relaxing, enjoying fabulous Thai food, and play.
Feeling kind of rusty at first - this page doesn't look balanced at all, and I don't like the drawings that much, but the page certainly brings back memories of all these specific moments.
When visiting Southeast Asia, I am always intrigued by the many electrical wires along the streets. I realized I never drew them before. So I told my husband I was going to need an hour or so and sat down in the shade of a tree to follow all those lines and wires. In the meantime my husband practiced the mandoline and did an exploratory drive around the island on our rented motorbike. Then he came to pick me up and to enjoy the rest of our day together.
Taking the time to draw means taking time to study. Here I played with perspective and repetitive lines. I will remember by butt being numb afterwards, because of sitting in the same position for quite a long time.
I'll be sharing more of my journal pages soon!
In the meantime...

Here are 5 tips to get you going on your own travel journal (and by the way - you can use these tips just as well when staying home!)

Whether you travel close to home or to far and exotic places, whether it's for a short stay or a long vacation, you can keep a travel art journal to document all those great memories that you simply can't capture in a photo.
1. Pack light
Take a small selection of art supplies with you: You're travelling, so you don't want to carry around an oversized bag which will give you too much choice anyway. Packing just one favourite pen and a travel watercolour set will get you a long way and will leave you with more time to enjoy the moment, without worrying about choosing the right medium.
B Pack one pair of pants less, and a sketchbook extra so you know you won't run out of pages if you turn out to be unstoppable.
2. Tell your travel buddy you need a bit of drawing time
When travelling with someone who is not a sketcher like you, give them the chance to fill their time with doing what they love as well. They don't need to wait around until you're finished. That may only make you nervous, so just give yourself a time limit (like 30 minutes or an hour, depending on what you plan to draw) and tell your travel partner that you will meet him or her again afterwards.

3. Everything is interesting to draw
In other countries, or even in a different city than your own, lots of things look different - take advantage of that and draw things that are in front of you and are interesting to you.

4. Let go
You may feel like every page should be perfect, because your travel journal will be a reminder of this trip. I have news for you: nobody's perfect, so stop trying.
Let go, and you will see that even the pages that may not look perfect to you, will bring back many memories of that moment you drew, just as well as drawings that turned out 'better'.
5. Enjoy the moment
While drawing your scene or subject, you will notice all your senses start opening up. Listen to the sounds around you, feel the breeze or temperature, smell the smells in the air. Let it all in and by doing that, you're capturing all that into your page.

Wouldn't you like to go and take a trip? You can, you know. Exploring can also be done close to home. I love to take trips in my own neighbourhood or even at home, there's always something interesting to draw. As soon as you start drawing, you'll see things with different eyes.

Whatever you do, where ever you go, you know you can Make Awesome Art.

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