Monday, 10 May 2010

Journal Keeping: Without a Journal!

Journals have many different purposes. Some are used for holding your deepest secrets, some for remembering special details from a trip, and some are used to simply record information. I'm often referring to my journals to find info about things like how early in the summer we went to our favorite lake or if it was too chilly when we did that hike last fall.

Two summers ago I got a great book, Weekend Walks in Rhode Island. Slowly, we've been working our way through these hikes in my small state. Rather than having a journal reserved for these walks, I've turned the book itself into a journal and it's become a great reference.
Each hike I write the date, the time we arrived, how long the hike took. I also try to include what we saw along the way. Were the wildflowers in bloom? Were the seals that migrate through the waters visiting? Should we have remembered to bring bug spray, sun screen, binoculars? I also make note of the directions to get there, if the path was hard to find, I note the landmark to look far or the pretty beach we stopped at on the way home.
Seems kind of dry and boring, I know, but it's actually fun. Each time we break out the book to decide which new hike to try, we also read through the little bits of info from past ones. I think a lot of us are probably good at documenting huge events like vacations, but events you do when you're at home are easily overlooked. I've found that using the guide book as the journal is both informative for the practical information we need, but also an easy way to remember some of the adventures around our home state. It also helps you travel light.
(For those of you in Rhode Island, or close by, I highly recommend this book, it's been a lot of fun. For those of you far way, Rhode Island is a great place to visit!)


Lizzie said...

ooh, let me juuussst get my suitcase down from the wardrobe! Now then, what did you say I should bring? Binoculars? Sunscreen? I suppose I'd need my walking shoes and a warm sweater? Bottle of water? Sunglasses, hat?
Hmm... have I got enough pocket money to book the flight to USA? No! Well... maybe a bit later then...

This is a great post! When I was little, I was taught it was "very naughty to write in books". Even when I was 16 and doing English and French Literature, I found it so hard to "let" myself write in my books... and here you are, recommending it as a journalling exercise/practise - as a useful and helpful way to enhance the books!
I suppose that, as well as being a useful reference for the future, nothing says "this is my book" more than personal notes in the margin. And nothing else tells another reader so much about how you enjoyed a book or what you thought about it.

Rhode Island is somewhere I have kind-of met in the occasional book or tv programmme. I hadn't really considered visiting, as it's a long, long way from where I live, in UK. But having seen your book and your notes - heck, I want to go there now!

natalie said...

I eagerly took you up on the suggestion to furnish myself with a copy of this book awhile back, and it's wonderful! The walks are so enjoyable and the author is a hoot. The chapters definitely deserve personal annotation, for noting the best picnic spots or where you saw that huge black racer snake...yikes he was big!

Antico Valore said...

great idea! I do the same, always, so my books are also my journals ;-)

but i love to made journals and journals become, in the time, ny books to read and remember something from my life ;-)


Kristin said...

Glad to hear you enjoyed my post.

Lizzie, I got a kick out of your comment! Rhode Island is a beautiful place to visit, glad I made it sound appealing :)

KarleighJae said...

I love it! I write in my scriptures. I know some people who think that's awful but if I find something inspirational or making me ask questions, they need to be written down. I use to have a scripture journal and I lost it. I now just use the (way to small!) margins in my scriptures to write my thoughts, questions, comparative notes and such. It's also nice to have it right there while I'm reading it. There are questions I wrote down years and years ago, written right next to the verses that I would never think of as I reread my scriptures.

I also love getting books from the library and finding a hidden treasure where someone has written in light pencil throughout it. Commentary from a mysterious person makes the book even better!

Lindsay Wood Slavin said...

that looks like such a great book...I've been scouring amazon for something like that for around here. To no avail! I love the idea though...maybe I should just move to RI...

Anonymous said...

Great post! I've been planning a similar book arts project and was super excited to see your post, especially since I wasn't really looking for it. Life is funny sometimes :)

Anyway, thanks for the post and have fun on your walks!