From a young age, I’ve always enjoyed writing. Growing up, my dream job was to be a writer, which progressed into a journalist, and my love for the written word has now manifested itself into my love for languages – there’s nothing more rewarding than being able to express yourself in more than just your mother tongue. Having said this, my degree is very academic. Learning languages is methodic, it takes concentration, and a lot of the time I find myself really wanting to do something creative. This is where my love for journaling began…
I’ve always kept diaries, notebooks, journals, full of thoughts and ideas, sometimes stories or articles. Reading back on them now they are completely useless and sometimes don’t even make much sense, but I enjoy looking back on them because for me, they are memories. That’s when I made the resolution to journal my entire time in Coimbra, Portugal. As I’ve previously written, as a languages student, my third year of my degree is spent abroad, and I’ve been living in Coimbra for the past 4 months: I have one month left. I am so sad that soon I have to leave a city that has become my favourite place on earth, but one thing I will be taking away from Portugal is my journal. From the first day I arrived, I wrote almost everyday, in a hand-stitched journal that I bought from Paperchase. Now when I read back through the pages, I remember how I felt and how excited and happy I was to be in Coimbra. I’ll never forget my time there, but with my journal, I’ll be able to remember every last detail. It also gives me a place to write down my thoughts, if I’m homesick: I write, if I’m sad: I write. It’s therapeutic in a way.
I don’t only write in my journal, but I decorate it too. I got the idea of using Washi Tape from browsing over a couple of art blogs, however it was kind of difficult to get my hands on in Portugal. I ended up finding some decorative tapes from Tiger and Ale-Hop: two amazing shops which I wish we had in the north of England! They all had different patterns, and made for a great frame to pages, or just to add some colour to my writing. Tiger was a really useful shop, as it sells origami paper which I used to back my ‘polaroid’ photographs (which I will write about later on in this post). I wrote in different coloured pens, too. It just means that in 10 years time, when I look back on my journal, it will be colourful and exciting to look at. Also, for anyone who is considering journaling during their travels – keep your receipts, train tickets, cinema tickets, business cards, leaflets, posters, travel cards. Anything that you end up with in the back of your purse, or left at the bottom of your bag: keep them. I kept everything like this, and stuck them in my journal. More memories, and more keep-sakes.
I didn’t think of this idea until later on during my time in Portugal, but I actually started to print off ‘polaroid’ photographs for my journal. I’ve always wanted a polaroid camera, but they are particularly expensive, and with the film being equally expensive, it isn’t a practical hobby for me to keep. But I discovered LALALAB, a company which prints your photos (in varying styles) and ships them to wherever you are in the world. I discovered their company, bizarrely, through a Facebook advert. I don’t use Facebook all that often, so this was purely by chance, but I decided to test it by ordering a couple of ‘vintage’ photographs first, and they arrived within the next week and were perfect for my journal (as you can see in the pictures I’ve put in this post). ‘Vintage’ is the style which gives the effect of a polaroid photograph, but there are lots of styles to choose from. This style is £0.29 per photograph, which is much cheaper than paying excessive amounts for film for a polaroid camera. You can change the colours of the polaroids, I personally made my polaroids brightly coloured to match the brightly coloured pens and tapes I’d used in my journal. You can add text to the bottom of the polaroid: a time or date, a place, the names of the people in the photographs. Every couple of weeks, I would print out the photographs I had taken and they would arrive within the next week, and I would stick them in my journal alongside my entries. Now I can look back on those photos whenever I want to, and I kind of like the idea that not everything has to be digital – I have the photographs digitally saved but now I can physically hold my photographs, too. Either way, it’s made for a gorgeous memory book and place to record all my thoughts and feelings. I’ll definitely be continuing to journal during my time living in Madrid, Spain and for the remainder of 2017. If you’d like to read the post I’ve previously written about Coimbra, you can click here. You can visit the LALALAB site by clicking here or download the app (which is what I use to order my photographs) by clicking here. Also, if you’d like £5 off your first purchase with LALALAB, you can use my referral code: PGHG2PW6.