I am a great fan of travelogues . . . I guess that would be obvious, but what might surprise you is that I still prefer the printed/hand version rather than online. Those who know me personally find my shelf of moleskins, composition books (if you know what these are, you are old!) and random in country paperbacks almost comical considering that I never go anywhere without some form of keypad and never ever write by hand . . . except my logs while traveling.
Why? Travelogging is not an exercise in writing as much as it is capturing moments, collecting momentos and scribbling contact information for people you may likely never see or hear from again. It requires capturing a moment in the moment and not hours later in a seedy internet cafe surrounded by other travelers skyping their friends or uploading facebook quips. Therefore, it requires hard copy: paper, pen or pencil and space to paste, scribble, draw and record.
My logs are not just memories but active participants in the trip. There is the outline for my great novel I wrote while sipping a lassie in Kathmandu, which incidentally will never be published nor will any of the other great novels I have started. Or, the quotations I recorded from all over the globe to pass on to my daughters where they are old enough to ask for great wisdom that I don’t possess. Or, something as simple as a customs stamp from the Ukraine only two weeks after declaring independence which comprised the old USSR stamp with hand scribbling over it.
These are memories that have no meaning in a digital world but have so much flavour when viewed in their analogue form. The food stains, maps, torn pages from guidebooks stuffed between the sheaves and restaurant cards in languages I don’t even read.
While in the past, I have adapted any notebook to this purpose, this week I came across Morton, Diaz & Cook’s “Globetrotter’s Guidebook.” True genius! Small, attractive, black binding (to match everything I own), filled with useful information including conversion tables, pages for customs stamps and most of all numerous blank pages to use as you will. Without question this will be my standard gift to friends and colleagues this year. For more info, see http://www.globetrotterslogbook.com/.