We’re halfway through the year and this series. If you’ve been following along, you know that we’ve covered the following themes by month. Of course, you do not have to follow the themes and you can start anytime.
This entire exercise began because some writer friends wanted to start a regular journaling practice but were unsure if they could stick with it. I suggested daily prompts as a way to help.
Not everyone needs prompts — I’ve been journaling daily for decades and manage to write about all kinds of things without them. Sometimes, though, I will set aside some time to free-write on a particular topic/prompt. This has always helped in loosening up those thinking and writing muscles, particularly if the topic is one I’m trying to write about in another writing project.
For July, let’s focus on the theme of travel. Not only is it the time of year when many do take their vacation breaks, but this is also a vast topic to explore even when sitting at home with nowhere to go.
1/ Write about the best trip you’ve taken in your entire life so far. Why was it so good?
2/ Write about the worst trip you’ve taken in your entire life so far. Why was it so bad?
3/ Do you prefer solo travel or group travel? Why?
4/ Describe a memorable solo trip you’ve taken. Was it as expected or not?
5/ Describe a memorable group trip you’ve taken. Was it as expected or not?
6/ Do you prefer travel with friends or family? Why?
7/ Describe a memorable trip with friends.
8/ Describe a memorable trip with family.
9/ Describe the most memorable stranger you’ve ever met during your travels.
10/ Describe the best food experience you’ve ever had during your travels.
11/ Describe the worst food experience you’ve ever had during your travels.
12/ Describe the best sightseeing experience you’ve ever had during your travels.
13/ Describe the worst sightseeing experience you’ve ever had during your travels.
14/ Describe the most expensive travel experience you’ve ever had.
15/ Describe the cheapest travel experience you’ve ever had.
16/ Describe your dream/ideal trip. Why is this special?
17/ Describe your nightmare trip. Why is this so bad?
18/ Write about the places that are on your travel bucket list and why.
19/ Have you ever done a “staycation” which is traveling around your hometown like a tourist/visitor? Why or why not?
20/ Describe the highlights of the staycation in 19. If you have not taken one, imagine you are planning the itinerary for one and describe it.
21/ Describe the best travel experience you’ve heard from someone else. Why has it stayed with you?
22/ Describe the worst travel experience you’ve heard from someone else. Why has it stayed with you?
23/ What’s the most interesting travel souvenir you have ever brought back home? Why is it interesting?
24/ Have you gone back to a place you’e previously traveled to? If so, why? If not, which place would you want to go back to and why?
25/ Write about how you usually plan for a trip. Complete daily itineraries or not?
26/ Write about how you usually pack for a trip.
27/ Have you ever lost something valuable on a trip? If not, can you imagine what and how that might be?
28/ Write about your ideal music playlist for your ideal trip.
29/ Describe your all-time favorite photo from a trip.
30/ Describe the one thing you really hope would happen to you or you might get to experience on a trip and it hasn’t come about yet.
31/ Describe the top five things you miss about home when you travel.
Let me end with one of my favorite poems about travel. It’s actually a blessing where the poem’s narrator wishes you the best travel experience in a deeper, more meaningful way. I wrote about the entire poem in more detail here.
For the Traveler
Every time you leave home,
Another road takes you
Into a world you were never in.
New strangers on other paths await.
New places that have never seen you
Will startle a little at your entry.
Old places that know you well
Will pretend nothing
Changed since your last visit.
When you travel, you find yourself
Alone in a different way,
More attentive now
To the self you bring along,
Your more subtle eye watching
You abroad; and how what meets you
Touches that part of the heart
That lies low at home:
How you unexpectedly attune
To the timbre in some voice,
Opening in conversation
You want to take in
To where your longing
Has pressed hard enough
Inward, on some unsaid dark,
To create a crystal of insight
You could not have known
When you travel,
A new silence
Goes with you,
And if you listen,
You will hear
What your heart would
Love to say.
A journey can become a sacred thing:
Make sure, before you go,
To take the time
To bless your going forth,
To free your heart of ballast
So that the compass of your soul
Might direct you toward
The territories of spirit
Where you will discover
More of your hidden life,
And the urgencies
That deserve to claim you.
May you travel in an awakened way,
Gathered wisely into your inner ground;
That you may not waste the invitations
Which wait along the way to transform you.
May you travel safely, arrive refreshed,
And live your time away to its fullest;
Return home more enriched, and free
To balance the gift of days which call you.
~ John O’Donohue, ‘To Bless the Space Between Us‘