The Time I Didn't Travel with my Journal

I love to travel! It’s not that big of a surprise, lots of people love to travel. In 2013 I’ve traveled at

Black bear in grass
Not the bear we saw, but maybe a cousin!

least once every month, mostly for work, but a couple of times with the hubby and kiddos, seeking new adventures and enjoying summer.

Travel with kids is a whole new can of worms.

Before I hit the road, I make a list of all the things we need to bring. (And for all you Myers-Briggs fans out there, oh yes, I am a fairly hard-core “J!”)

Clothes of course, wipes and diapers, a few toys, bath time stuff, sunscreen, bug spray, bathing suits, books, and plenty of snacks. Than I can start on what I need for us grown-ups!

What I don’t usually put in my list, but what is often first in the bag, is my journal. I love bringing my journal on vacation so much that I actually have a list of the top five reasons to bring it:

  1. Having my journal means that I get to record what happened that day before I go to bed that night, if I choose to. I am more likely to remember details and funny parts of the day if I write them down within the span of 12-16 hours of them happening.
  2. I get all excited while I’m packing that I am going to have much more quiet time on my trip to write because I will not be faced with my normal daily responsibilities of preparing food, laundry, and trying to make cleaning into a game with the kids. (Does this turn out to be true? You tell me…)
  3. My journal is the number one material item I need to feel connected to my sense of home, or even sense of self, when I am in a strange place.
  4. If my almost four-year old sees me writing in my journal, she wants to write in hers. (And yes, my kids both have journals, although admittedly the 21-month old isn’t really into his…yet) I have found that with pen in hand and scribbling while she talks aloud about her day is the best way for me to capture her thoughts on her experience. She literally dictates while she is “writing” and I will jot notes in my journal (or Post-It notes, hotel notepads) on what she is saying.
  5.  While on vacation, it’s not unusual for me to come up with ideas that I want to capture. And where do I put them…in my trusty journal!

And because I love to bring it, I don’t need to write it on the list.

And for one trip this summer, I forgot my journal.

My personal diary, the book I write in daily, even if it’s just a smidgen. The one thing I do every day that keeps me from going crazy.

Nope, not this time. I left it at home.

And guess what happened during that time I did not have my journal? I’ll sum it up for you:

  • On the drive up we got stuck in the road to the cabin. Spinning gravel, side of a mountain, all scary stuff, right? It took us almost an hour to get unstuck. Racing heart number one for me.
  • My friend and I saw a black bear, literally about 30 yards from us and our boys, ages 3 and 21-months; they were in the stroller. The bear took off in the other direction and we sprinted back to our cabin. Racing heart number two.
  • The water stopped working in our cabin – so we relocated to Asheville! We found a place to stay so quickly it’s almost as if it were meant to be…
  • We ate a LOT of yummy food! Asheville is a culinary delight! West End Bakery cinnamon rolls, cupcakes from Short Street Cakes, French Broad Chocolates, and delicious meals at Sunny Point Café.
  • In the middle of the week I started crying for no reason. I’m guessing it was because I hadn’t written in several days.
  • While we were in Asheville, my friend’s grandmother passed away. There is no other family in the area, so my friend was able to provide immediate support to her grandfather. And we were able to watch her kids, which meant she had one less thing to think about.
  • The house in Asheville was available for my friend to easily extend her stay.

I have been dazzled by how beautifully orchestrated this sequence of events was laid before us. From the bidding on the cabin at the Advent Silent Auction in November, to the date we chose to go, to the water not working in a house with eight people.

It was a lot of stuff to take in. The daily work of family vacation alone is enough to want to write about, never mind throwing in a few curve balls.

But that’s what life is about, right? The curvy road slips ahead of us to keep us on our toes and waiting for the next surprise. If the road were straight, we’d probably jump ship a lot sooner!

I appreciate the reminder that I need my journal like I need my pinky toe…can I live without it? Yes, but why would I want to?

What’s the one thing you have to have when you travel? Leave a comment below to share!

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