Raising a fan of travel journaling

Write, baby, write!

Write, baby, write!

The assignment from her second grade teacher was simple: Keep a journal on your weekend trip to Portland.

Thankfully my Big Girl took the task seriously. And what followed warmed my heart.

I’ll spare you the gory details of her journal entries from our time last weekend in P-Town. The highlights: Recollections of an afternoon spent wandering around Washington Park, details about our fabulous room in the boutique Hotel Lucia, and meandering recaps of experiences with her grandparents and me at her first-ever bar mitzvah.

(The bar mitzvah recaps were by far the most colorful; L was one of the final three in a game of musical chairs and won $20 cash for her exploits.)

Of course she also covered finding a rock with a picture of a cat. And all the donuts we ate.

She scribbled in the journal every time we stopped—at meals, in the hotel for down time, or on the plane. And since we’ve been home, her writing streak has continued; she has written four “books” this week alone, and all of them are loosely connected to things we saw and did on our trip.

The bottom line: After seven years of watching her dad furiously scribble notes on just about every family trip, L has become a fan of travel journaling herself. Add to this her fascination with taking her own pictures (more of those in a subsequent post) and she’s developing into a pint-sized digital journalist.

It doesn’t matter to me whether L decides to pursue this as a career—that’s way too far away to think about seriously now. I’m just delighted she is enjoying the process of telling stories about her travels.

And I sure as hell am enjoying reading them.

Great Family Travel Book by a Good Friend

Trust me: This book kicks ass.

Trust me: This book kicks ass.

I don’t have a monopoly on great family travel tips; one of the best things about covering this subject is that I am part of a cadre of fellow writers who have helpful tips and do an expert job communicating them on a consistent basis.

One of my faves: Mara Gorman, she of the Mother of all Trips blog.

Mara has been doing the whole family travel thing way longer than I have; her kids are more than twice as old as mine. She was writing about being in London before we even knew we were coming here. Her blog is, IMHO, one of the very best examples of what a blog should be—it’s informative, insightful and, most important, fun.

Naturally, then, when I learned Mara was writing a family travel book, I couldn’t wait to read it. That book, The Family Traveler’s Handbook, came out last month. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

In the interest of full disclosure, I should note that Mara quotes me in the book. I also gave her a quote for the back jacket. But I wouldn’t have participated in the project or commented on the project if I wasn’t certain it would kick ass. And it does. Majorly.

Some of her advice is practical. Some of it is logistical. Some it comes across as common sense. And it’s all great.

Perhaps the best part of the book: It’s not too long. When I reviewed it a few months back, I was able to read the thing in one night. For busy parents leading busy lives, that’s a good thing. But don’t take my word for it. Check out Mara’s site, read a sample of the book for yourself, then buy a copy at Amazon. You can thank me for the suggestion anytime.

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