Study Abroad: Blog or Journal?

One of my favorite things to do is read travel blogs.  When a friend studies abroad, one of the first things I ask them is whether they plan to keep a travel blog or not.  For those of us at home, especially for family, blogs are a great way to check in with our loved ones and follow their journeys.  

Many people begin with good intentions, setting up their blogs and writing faithfully for the first few days, only to leave the task by the wayside once life abroad picks up and they begin making friends.  Others blog diligently, posting once or twice a week for the entirety of their trip.  A handful of people will decide not to keep a blog, as they were are most interested in fully experiencing life abroad, and do not want to waste time with blogging.  A rare few will keep travel journals. 

When I started preparing for my trip, this was a decision that I had to make.  As you might expect, as a blogger, I was really interested in the idea of keeping a blog for family and friends at home to read.  However, because I keep a pretty modest journal at home, I also thought it would be nice to record my thoughts in greater detail in a travel journal.  I weighed the pros of each: 

My family can follow my adventures from home
It's an easy way to let everyone know that I'm safe and sound
I can share pictures with those who cannot travel 
I can type very fast, so recording my travels will be relatively quick and easy

It's a physical reminder of my trip when I return home
I can save receipts, tickets, and such small souvenirs easily 
Because it's private, I can record more emotion or personal thoughts here
In the end, I decided to do both.  Unfortunately, I had success only as far as the blog was concerned.  Once classes started at my university, the journal proved to be too time-consuming, and I had to abandon it.  I ended up blogging a lot, and saving all of the paper memories to be taped into my journal upon my return home.  As you can see, I still haven't completed this task yet.  I am proud of myself for trying, and when I finally get everything taped into the journal, I'll be happy to have this tangible reminder of the time I spent in Korea.  For now, that is what it looks like: 

There is definitely something to be said for simply "living in the moment" without having to worry about recording it for others or even yourself.  However, years after your study abroad experience, you may still have the photos you took, but you  might not remember some of the stories or incidents from that trip.  So try to record your trip in some way.  It might be easy for you to keep a blog, or you might be an avid "journalist."  It may take a bit of work or deduct from your free time, but I think it will be worth the effort in the end.  What do you think?  Would you rather blog, journal, or neither? 

If you're interested in seeing my travel blog, you can access it here


  • world travel guide says:
    October 31, 2011 at 1:19 AM

    It is such a great thing to be able to go abroad to study! Not a lot of people have that opportunity, but those lucky ones who do - discover a whole new world out there. I had that kind of experience once in Italy, and it was one of the most beautiful experiences in my life.
    Thanks for sharing. It's a really great post. Please keep us posted!

  • Bali villas says:
    May 8, 2012 at 4:40 AM

    wish i can visit japan.....hope someday i will be able to visit Japan...

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