Tips for creating the perfect Camino travel journal

Tips for creating the perfect Camino travel journal

Like we always say at Caminoways, each Camino is different. They all have one major thing in common though, you’ll make memories to last a lifetime. What better way to document this wonderful journey than to keep a Camino travel journal?

My biggest regret from my first Camino experience was that I didn’t take a pen and pad from the very beginning. On the journey from Sarria to Santiago, through the lush Galician countryside, I met lots of pilgrims from diverse backgrounds. Everybody was friendly, bonded by the experience, but at times the language barrier was a struggle.

Example of a Camino diary next to 'Walking in Watercolor' by Jennifer Lawson

Example of a Camino diary next to ‘Walking in Watercolor’ by Jennifer Lawson

On one such occasion, I was walking alongside an Italian woman through tranquil woodland. She was attempting to tell me a story in broken English (which was admittedly a lot better than my broken Italian!). It wasn’t quite resonating. Suddenly her eyes lit up and she reached into her backpack. From it, she pulled a small red leather-bound notepad, which looked a little rough around the edges.

Sofia opened her Camino diary and handed it to me to inspect. Passages scribbled in Italian were dotted throughout the pages. Surrounding the writing were sketches, some crudely drawn and others precisely created.

The travel journal was not in chronicalogical order, and it certainly wasn’t neat. But it was Sofia. Her most important thoughts, experiences and feelings all together in one place. She pointed at a picture and suddenly her story made sense. I wished I had brought that pad and paper.

Top Tips

I have done some research since that day. And having asked pilgrims along the way I can bring you the top tips for creating your Camino diary. Don’t forget a pen!

  1. Make it hardback
    Your diary will be going through some tough times on the Camino. Make sure you get a hardback cover so that it won’t fall apart.
  2. Order it your way
    A travel diary doesn’t need to fit any particular format. If you prefer you can structure it by date, but it’s entirely up to you.
  3. Keep it in your daypack
    Don’t leave your diary in your main luggage if it’s being transferred for you. Make sure it is always at hand for when you get inspired!
  4. Add some colour
    Pick some colouring pencils or markers to add a splash of colour to your diary.
  5. Lend to a friend
    You’ll probably meet loads of new friends on the Camino. Pass them your diary and let them write a short passage. Don’t read it until you’re home.
  6. Get creative
    Don’t be afraid to draw a picture, write a poem, some song lyrics or anything that inspires you. These tidbits make for great memories.
  7. Bag it
    Invest in a simple ziplock bag to store your diary in. If it rains, your diary will stay safe.
  8. Don’t be afraid of dirt
    Rain is one thing. It can ruin paper as we all know. But a bit of dust and mud will add character to your diary.
  9. Bring a small tube of glue
    Keeping train tickets, receipts, business cards etc can really enhance the look and feel of your journal. You’ll need glue to stick them in.
  10. Leave space for images
    That glue will also come in handy for pictures you take. Don’t worry if you can’t print them on The Camino. Just leave space and add them later.

For more information about the Camino de Santiago, the various Camino routes or if you would like some help planning your own Camino journey, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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