One of my biggest regrets about travelling is that I failed to keep a journal. I did it in year 9 - spent two weeks on a student exchange in Japan, and stopped journalling after the second day. As soon as I got home, most of my trip was a hectic blur. Now I could only name three or four of the things I did in Nihon.
When departing for Eurokan* last year, I promised myself that I wouldn't let that happen again. I gathered up my nicest implements - a hardback moleskine journal and a new stainless steel pen (as though that would make all of the writing more important).
But of course the intentions weren't enough to empower the practice. After 99 days of experiencing, considering and discovering, there are two entries in my moleskine journal.
The first is an apology to myself. It was written about a month into the trip, when we were staying in the Swiss Alps. We had to wait on a park bench for an hour or so before we could check in. I was feeling particularly guilty, having carried the journal with me everywhere in my day bag.
So I opened to the first page and wrote a bittersweet lament, mourning my poor efforts and promising to do better.
The second entry, written days later, simply says 'Day One'. The rest of the page is blank.
I assume I must have tried in vain, to catch up with myself. I probably wrote the header, considered for a moment and then found something far more holiday-minded to do.
In a way, this post now does the same sort of thing. I'm making an apology and a promise. And for all intents and purposes the results might be much the same! But at least this time it will be a public disappointment.
I would really like to write a sort-of travel journal in hindsight. Not a blow-by-blow account of what we did, but a series of posts that capitalises on what hindsight has to offer. These will be the strongest memories, not yet faded but also not completely precise. I expect the gloss of six months' distance might put a particular spin on the story!
This is also not about making a travel guide or a dear diary - I'll write reflectively and see what comes out.
I won't make any more specific promises about what that might be, but let's just channel the optimism of January, that this blog might work better than my moleskine!
Happy New Year everyone!
*What is Eurokan?
Earlier in 2014, my partner Kristen and I set fire to life and went travelling. I left a job, we sub-letted our house, and for 3 months (brief for some but an eternity for others) we explored. Euro because we travelled mostly Europe and Kan for Kristen and Nathan. Let's just say it was a hashtag that made its way into our common use...