With the COVID, making the most of each and every outing takes all its importance. Creating an adventure log with your children is a great way to build memories and add excitement to your journey, however small it may be! We believe childhood dreams and adventures should be encouraged more than ever in times like this.
To inspire you we are delighted to present Courtney and her daughter Annabeth's travel journal. Wife to an American football coach and Special Educator in Northeast Georgia, she and her family took a weekend trip to the mountains of Highlands, North Carolina and Dillard, Georgia over Labor Day Weekend. For the occasion they made a special log.
We will share their experience and then provide tips on how to create your own journal. It can be used for journeys but also for day trips, visits to museums, zoos, big walks... Everything is possible!
Before diving into the heart of the subject, can you tell us a little more about this trip in times of Covid and what it meant to you?
During this year of 2020, it feels like so much has been stripped away from the existence we once knew. Social gatherings are now drive-by celebrations, reverent times of worship in the light of stained glass windows take place on Facebook and family time now consists of waving through boxes on our computer screens. One of our deepest losses has been the inability to go on trips as we once did.
We have never been a family to shy away from travel and becoming parents certainly didn’t stop us. People were shocked when we chose to spend our one-year old daughter’s birthday in New York City. “You’re traveling with a baby?” Oh yes-we did! And we had a ball!
Because our daughter, now 3.5, is so accustomed to travel, she is truly an excellent companion on both weekend jaunts and long haul trips. She loves to see new things, experience new foods, and meet new people.
It was heartbreaking to kneel next to her bed each evening for prayers and hear, “Mommy, could you want to go to Disney World tomorrow?” or “Mommy, can you remember the beach?”. COVID has stolen so many things and while this time at home with Annabeth was invaluable, I know we both felt a profound sense of loss at the fact that we were homebound.
Despite August through December being my husband’s busiest season with work, we found ourselves in a position to make a quick weekend trip. I felt a slight apprehension about our journey, but I also knew that the crisp mountain air would do us all a world of good.
How did the log help you prepare before your journey?
Creating a small and inexpensive travel log, just a colorful notebook, helped Annabeth prepare for a reentry into travel. It allowed her to visually prepare for the things we’d see, the places we’d go and the foods we’d eat.
In nursery school, Annabeth has been working diligently on cutting and gluing and it was so fun to watch her concentrate on these skills to put together and decorate her little log. Each evening, we spent a few moments narrating the pictures and allowing her to ask questions about our upcoming travel.
How did the log accompany you on your trip?
We had a wonderful time in the mountains and had the log with us all along! We were blessed with absolutely gorgeous weather and we all left feeling refreshed and recharged. It was also great fun being able to take our dog Atlas with us--most areas in this region are incredibly dog friendly. I’m sure he felt like a celebrity!
By creating a travel log that Annabeth could reference often, she felt empowered to ask questions and make choices about where we were adventuring. I think allowing this freedom and autonomy within solid boundaries makes for a happier child (and certainly makes for a happier set of parents).
How did you document your trip in the log?
At the end of our trip, I asked Annabeth about all of the things she loved the most and wrote them down in the back of the travel log. I think this is the thing I’ll treasure the most--her little memories committed to ink.
I feel that these little words on this construction paper are a celebration of her childhood and who she is in this exact moment in time.
This little travel log is neither expensive nor particularly fancy, but to me it is certainly priceless.
TIPS TO MAKE YOUR OWN LOG
Our most important tip would be to let your child's creativity speak. Feel free to adapt to your own needs and ideas! You can use it for travelling but also for day trips or special events which you would like to remember.
1. Create and personalize your journal
- Choose a pretty notebook with your child, preferably small enough to fit into a backpack so as to be able to easily carry it during your outings.
- Let your child decorate the cover or front page in order to make it very personal. Write a title and/or your kid's name, add stickers, cut out pictures from magazines related to traveling or glue a photo. Making collages can be great fun! Let your child's imagination flow. Sky is the limit. Please do not worry too much about the neatness!
2. Prepare before the trip
- Take time to plan ahead, to explain and organise the journey with your child. This will give him/her a sense of responsibility.
- You can write down the dates of the trip, stick a map, print photos of the places you will visit, write down a schedule, make your child draw what he/she will pack for the journey... Whatever you feel relevant!
3. During the trip
- Keep the log close by with a small journaling toolkit ( glue, scissors, pens...) so as to be able to easily take notes and draw during unfilled moments.
- Keep postcards, brochures, leaflets, tickets, anything which your child wants to stick in as a souvenir. You can prepare a special enveloppe in which to put them all during the trip!
- You can also take time to review the day at bedtime and write/draw what you wish to remember.
4. After the trip
- Print photos to add in.
- Take time to decorate and add finishing touches.
- Make a final page with your favorite moments and the things you enjoyed the most. You can also add ideas for your next trip
- Keep the log preciously. Your child will be delighted to look back at the journey in a few years