Travelling provides us with many experiences that will be engrained in our memories forever. The breath taking views, the interesting people we come across, the interesting cuisine we eat, the sights and smells of the cities we visit, the quaintness and peacefulness of the villages and the amazing wildlife we see are things we will never forget. Despite this, there will always be bits and pieces we forget or things that become vague over time and it is for these reasons it is worth keeping a diary or a journal when travelling.
Before the days of computers, and more specifically lap tops, notebooks and tablets, travelling diaries were obviously written in a notebook with, dare I say it, a pen. On the whole that’s fine, but paper is not the strongest or the most durable of materials and if you are clumsy person it is easy to ruin a whole travel journal with one accidental spillage. Electronic devices, such as laptops and notebooks are more durable and since they cost a lot more, and a subsequently worth more, than a pad of paper people tend to look after them much better, and laptops and notebooks seem to have become the medium of choice for travellers to record their experiences.
One of the biggest benefits of keeping a travel journal in electronic format is the ability to instantly add digital photographs of your experiences. Before the days of digital cameras a traveller had to wait until they returned home to get the photographs developed, and once the photographs were developed it was a case of sifting through them trying to remember where each image was taken, when each image was taken, the time of day the image was taken and what the image was taken for. It was a laborious task and it was impossible to accurately label each and every image. Many of these unidentifiable ones were simply recorded “miscellaneous travel photographs”, which is a shame. You visit a whole number of locations of which you are highly unlikely to return, you take some stunning images and then forget the name of the location or subject and where exactly they were.
Digital photography overcomes this problem. A digital camera will automatically record the date and time the photograph was taken, which is great, and by loading the photographs in small batches on a daily basis it is possible to put an accurate description of each and every image. What’s more, with global positioning technology (“GPS”) it is even possible to geo tag each and every image which records the precise coordinates to within a couple of metres. Geo tagging the image allows you to see where you took the photograph on Google Earth, so you can prove the picture of the lion you risked your life in capturing was actually on the African Plains and not in some local zoo or wildlife park. Geo tagging also provides another gentle reminder of where you took the photographs if you do not get the chance to upload to your travel journal for a few days.
The internet is an amazing tool and one that has certainly had an impact on almost everyone’s life and it is now possible to communicate and keep in touch by pressing a few keys on a keyboard, notebook, PDA, cell phone, portable media player and portable gaming machines amongst many other electrical devices. By writing your travel journal as an online blog it is possible to share your experiences, your thoughts, your opinions, your wildest dreams, your images and anything else you desire with friends and family as you travel around the world. As well as sharing your experience, a travel blog lets your loved ones know you are safe and sound without having to make expensive international cell phone calls. Call me tight, but the money saved on those expensive international calls can be used to stay in more lavish accommodation, take that expensive boat/helicopter trip, eat in fine dining restaurants or simply spend on souvenirs and trinkets. All in all, a win win situation all round.
In years gone past the ability to maintain an electronic travel journal and upload it to a blog was reserved for the privileged and those with deep pockets. However, this is no longer the case. There are internet cafes, libraries with internet access and a whole range of other such buildings that provide internet access to the general public all over the world. Unless you are in the back end of nowhere the internet and the ability to upload your travel blog complete with images is seldom too far away.
There was a time when travelling was seen as a personal thing and something private, however times have changed. Many people like to share their experiences with not only their friends and family but the travelling world at large. Many travellers make their journeys public and like to suggest cities to visit, places to shop, pubs and restaurants to eat in, bars to get a drink, clubs to go dancing in, beaches to lie on and everything in between. In addition, these journals are also likely to include places to avoid, places where care is needed so you don’t get ripped off and places that are potentially life threatening. There is a strong travelling community online and by completing a travel blog you can be part of it. In addition, you are likely to learn a lot from fellow travellers, which all adds to the experience. Those people who do not complete travelling blogs are often seen as ‘outsiders’ and the community are unlikely to divulge much, if any, information. As with everything in life the more you put in the more you get out so it is well worth completing a travel blog for this reason if nothing else.
Blogging has become a great way of making a bit of extra cash, which provides another incentive to maintain a travel blog. Blogging is hard work and it definitely is not a get rich quick scheme. It is unlikely you will make thousands of dollars but it may provide a bit of extra cash toward your next travelling trip. It is worth pointing out there are some real success stories out there and a handful of bloggers are making a lot of money out of their blogs, so who knows, you may be one of the lucky ones. You don’t know unless you try.
Maintaining a travel blog is something that all travellers should do and since the technology is there, the community is there and the opportunities are rife there are no excuses not to.