Top 10 Reasons to Keep a Handwritten Journal: #7
There are as many reasons to keep a journal as there are destinations on a map. Here are ten, excerpted from Writing Away: A Creative Guide to Awakening the Journal-Writing Traveler.
#7: It’s the world’s best writing exercise
In Fresh Air Fiend, Paul Theroux commented, “When people ask me what they should do to become a writer, I seldom mention books. I assume the person has a love for the written word, and solitude, and a disdain for wealth—so I say, ‘You want to be a writer? First leave home.’”
Travel has the ability to make writers of us all, and keeping a journal is what can turn the potential into reality. Throw yourself in the mix and you’ve got the winning trifecta: Travel supplies endless material and inspiration, the Travelogue provides a canvas and demands commitment and examination, and you, the intrepid and attentive Traveler, are the prime candidate for the position. One of travel’s great benefits is that once we cross a border, we needn’t even seek out creative inspiration—it’s everywhere. We step off the runway and within hours find ourselves surrounded by plants and flowers we don’t recognize and animals we’ve seen only in zoos or on TV. We interact with people who speak only words we can’t understand, observe customs contrary to our own, pay for exotic trinkets with Monopoly money, eat unidentifiable food. For some, this can be unsettling. For the writer, it’s a windfall.
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