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For my 40th birthday, my mother gave me a journal. Just a small notebook with a map of the world on the cover. Rather than getting me a birthday card, she preferred to spend her money on something that would be useful long-term. I decided to use it as a travel journal to write about the adventures the Justus Leagues take as a family, and Jay and I take as a couple.

A couple of pages sufficed to log our beach trip last June. As Jay and I planned our mountain-west vacation, I assumed a page or two a day would log the trip. Instead, I filled page after page each day with details. I attempted to keep up while on the trip. As my energy waned into the evening, I started catching up driving from point A to point B. I even journaled by Slough Creek right before being accosted by a bison.


Eventually, I gave up hope of finishing the journal while we traveled. Instead, while we drove, I would make notes to help me remember the highlights. Jay would contribution things he thought should be included, and I worked on the actual writing less and less. He suggested that the trip might take up the remainder of the pages in the spiral notebook.

When we returned home, I committed to chipping away at the journal 5 minutes at a time. Writing about a trip while living regular life seemed like yet another chore added to my list. Eventually, I started enjoying the process. I suppose enough time lapsed that I began to see them as memories. Then I started the #Write28Days challenge and began to work stories from the vacation into posts to share.

The quickly abandoned index, which morphed into a test page for pens that barely write.

Readers may have found it odd to read about memories from a vacation that occurred 6 months ago, my journaling habit meant that the events stayed fresh in my mind. For half a year, 5 minutes at a time, I chipped away at my goal. I wrote about a conversation with this person or seeing wildlife at that location. Journal entries included details almost as fresh as the day they happened, thanks to a bit of memory jogging from my cheat-sheet notes.

The loose-leaf pages mark “THE END” of the journey.

Jay turned out to be {almost} right. Page numbering and an index seem laughable at this point. Maybe I’ll be able to finish it out with entries of long weekend trips or maybe a relaxing Justus League vacation. But the notebook doesn’t have enough pages to contain all the awesomeness Jay and I pack into our adventure vacations. Speaking of, it’s about time we start planning for 2021.