Hey guys, In lieu of my popular post on the “100 Things I Have Learned about Photography,” I originally planned on writing a “100 things I have learned about traveling in Europe” post as well. Pack lightly. There is no worse feeling than lugging around a bag of bricks on your back when you are trying to enjoy yourself. Have you ever started keeping a journal – perhaps starting on a particular milestone like your birthday, or January 1st – only to give up after a few days or weeks?
There are several ways for keeping a journal to change your life, and I’ll show you how to achieve each in just ten minutes a day.
If you’ve been keeping a journal for a while (even if it’s fallen by the wayside recently), read through some old entries. You can even write about your writing; building the ability to think about how you write will give you insight into your strengths and weaknesses. OR: If you’ve never kept a journal in the past, use a page of your current one to write a letter to yourself in the future. Many people like to record facts and figures in their journal, especially ones which relate to an important life change. Pick an area of your life where you want to improve: perhaps you want to get up early every day. About Latest Posts Ali LukeAli writes about personal growth and development on her blog, Aliventures.
I think there are a couple of other elements that you have to use to make writing a journal useful for life change.
I normally spend about 30 minutes writing my past 24 hours of events, thoughts, feelings etc and reflect on it next day. I believe our being is unfolded through the communication of our thoughts on paper, blog, or whatever medium works best for the individual. When I read previous entries, I sometimes marvel at my writing and at the picture of myself I am able to me. In the past I have tried to start the habit of writing in a private journal on a few occasions because I love the idea of being able to go back and read my thoughts, ideas and generally just the things my family and I got up to.
I started writing a journal as a way to keep track of what I was doing when I moved to Taipei to study Chinese. Though writing with a pen in a journal is a more intimate touch, I find just typing on the computer to be much faster. Like Peter, I’ve tried keeping a journal so many times, and usually lost interest after a week. Blogging is my way to turning my personal experiences into the lessons I need to learn – but in a shared way, which somehow seems to unlock my understanding far better than writing for myself. As for keeping track of events with my little daughter, I scrapbook – which, I suppose, is a form of journaling, too! I find that journaling keeps me focused on taking action towards personal and professional goals. It always takes me back years and years when I read all of my dreams from back then…and then apply them to the woman I am today.
I keep a journal to release my feelings, just like telling a friend what is going on, or confessing your sins to a priest, or just to blow off some fumes and rationalize your emotions to yourself.
Ali, I’ve kept a journal for years and occasionally (usually while packing to move house) I will flip through those pages.
I sometimes choose a journal at random and look through it to see where I was on this date years ago.
In one journal, I found a loose sheet of paper detailing a very upsetting situation at work.
My journal has helped me get threw some tough times and has helped me find out more about who I am. I journal regularly and I believe it is one of the most powerful tools for personal development.
All those old journals were dual written into my blogspot page and on the yahoo replacement, simply to keep a record for visiting in the future.
Who knows, maybe I’ll start again again and perhaps keep it up after a couple of aborted restarts in the last couple of years. Where my clients get stuck is in finding the time to get started.  So, here’s what I recommend to them.
The power of strengths – Paying attention to what we did well helps us build our confidence and tune into our strengths. The power of learning – Our ability to learn from our experiences (both positive and negative) is what differentiates the people who succeed vs. Robin, I have allocated a half hour each day on my calendar and have been sharing this with my friends and co-workers. However this time around, I decided to embellish more on each of the points that I presented.
You don’t want to blow away $20 every meal that you are eating when on the road, but at the same time you want to enjoy the local cuisine.
Although you may be worried about butchering the language and that locals will criticize you, the opposite Is more true. When you are traveling, it is nice to have a peace of mind knowing that you will have a place to spend that night.
I recall that while traveling, my fondest memories were not so much shaped by the sights I saw or things that I experienced, but rather the people that I met during my journey. If you are a first-time traveler (as was I), you will probably go photo-happy from all of the unique things that you will see during your trip.
Although this contradicts the point previous, it is also great to go traveling with a friend (or two). Although I was a broke college student, I refused to allow my economic situation to prevent me from traveling and seeing the world.  To finance my 30-day trip to Europe, I took out a $4,000 student loan from UCLA and bought my plane tickets, hostel-lodging, as well as my travel expenses.
If you book flights early enough, you could seriously go on flights from Paris to Rome for $3.00 (including tax and misc.
Sure the traditional landmarks of Europe may be nice and all, but the most beautiful things that I experienced were not the touristy places, but rather those hidden gems that you fall upon in a moment of serendipity.
Whether you are talking to the manager of your hostel or to a random vendor on the street, smile as often as you can. When I traveled, I bought an Acer Aspire One Netbook to write quick emails, do research, as well upload images to my hard drive while traveling. Although I have done a fair share of traveling while growing up (moving around many times in California, moving to New York for 3 years, driving back across to California in a car, going to Canada, and Korea) I now realized that I barely saw anything at all.

After my 30-day journey of backpacking in Europe, it caused me to appreciate my home so much more. Like many projects which we’re initially enthusiastic about, writing daily or even weekly in a journal can all too quickly become a chore. Do you have problems which occur again and again – patterns of behaviour that you just can’t break out of? If you’re making serious attempts at writing, you need to be disciplined about it – no professional writer works just when they’re “in the mood” or when “the muse descends.” Developing the habit of writing regularly (ideally every day) will be a bigger factor in your success than your raw level of writing skill.
Being able to explain how and why a piece of your writing worked will let you replicate that achievement in the future. Even when you don’t think you have anything interesting to say, honour that commitment and write something.
If so, and if you still have it, go back and re-read some entries: I guarantee that you’ll have a few great laughs and smiles in doing so.
Jot down some thoughts about the main strands of your life – are you happy with your job, your relationships, your health and fitness? Calories consumed, exercise done, cigarettes not smoked, alcohol units drunk … whatever the nature of your change, your journal can help you to achieve it.
For the next week, write down how you did each day – it’ll only take a minute or two, and you’ll be able to see if you progress as the week goes on – or if your enthusiasm quickly peters out. Focus on the positive aspects of your day or week – even when you have to dig hard to find something.
I also make some recommendations based on these thoughts – Long tern and short term recommendations for the personal improvement.
And not that your recommendations lack significance and the ability to be impacting (I certainly see the ability to inspire change). When I used to journal, I found it helped me sort through the thoughts in my head and it indeed make sense of various forms of contradictions! However, I admit that after a few weeks or months my motivation for keeping such a journal has waned and I have stopped. In terms of the benefits you have listed of a private journal, I would say blogging offers all these for me and more.
Journaling gets the clutter out of your mind and helps you to discover what is most important in your life. I used Yahoo 360 when it was up and running and became pretty successful as a featured blogger with many hundreds of regular readers. So much focus on confidence and positive thinking, but if they aren’t based on genuine self-awareness, they have no solid foundation.
I challenge you to create a routine for just 10 minutes a day to invest in your own leadership growth. Therefore, I realized that I would cut my list short to “25 things I have learned while traveling in Europe.” Furthermore, I also have had a few friends asking me for pointers or tips for backpacking in Europe. People appreciate the fact that foreigners try to embrace their culture and highly appreciate it (regardless of how terrible your accent may be).
When you are on the road, there will be a few moments that you will be able to sit down and rest.
It is much better to get a late start on the day and enjoy the fewer things that you may see, rather than getting up extremely early when you barely have enough energy. Don’t be shy to fill your stomach while traveling and worrying about stuff like carbs, sugar, fat, etc.
I highly recommend North Face backpacks (I used the North Face Recon Backpack), as they are extremely comfortable and are built super-tough.
Although it is great to capture many memories while traveling, it is also important to truly enjoy your trip, rather than trying to document every second of it. Not only do you have time to get to know yourself better, but you will also be forced to meet other people.
You will be able to create memories together that only you two share, and you can always reminisce after the trip is over.
Granted that $4,000 isn’t chump change, in my opinion it was a very small cost to fulfill one of my dreams in life, which was to go backpacking through Europe.
Europe houses some of the most distinguished museums from around the world which are home to some of the greatest artists from history. To do all my laundry when I was in Europe, I simply washed my clothes in the hostel sinks with soap, and hanged it on some impromptu clotheslines which were made out of a bungee cord with hooks on each side.
So do not always feel obliged to see what is popular, but just let your curiosity lead you down mysterious alleys, over gracious bridges, and through unexplored tunnels. For example, if you enter a famous landmark and it simply doesn’t compel you in any certain way, there is nobody forcing you to be there.
Smiling at others instantly makes yourself seem much more welcoming to the other person, which can stir up an interesting conversation or interaction.  You will be surprised that how far a smile to a random stranger in the streets can go. Rather than being worried of being stigmatized as a “lost tourist,” put away your pride and ask for help.
Once I went to Europe and experienced a totally different culture, it shocked me to realize how small my home (and country) was to the rest of the world. Although I did visit some of the best museums of the world, relished at the antiquity of the cathedrals, and dined on some of the most exotic foods, I came to the realization that all of these things that I experienced while I was abroad was readily available at home as well. You will get better if you practice, and your journal is an ideal place to do so – no-one will laugh at clumsy phrases or failed experimental pieces, and you can write about whatever topics inspire you the most.
Some people are inspired by writing prompts, famous quotations, or simply picking a topic (work, family, health, goals). There might be references to incidents you’d previously forgotten, or particularly telling phrases or observations.
Seeing your progress in black and white helps you to carry on when your motivation is at rock-bottom, and for some people, the knowledge that they’ll have to record their failures is enough to keep them on the straight-and-narrow. It might take a while for you to notice the effect, but you’ll soon be seeing faster change in your life: we tend to move towards what we’re focusing on. Don’t let fear stop you from writing something down, code it if you want be still write it down. Many of my articles relate to personal experiences, so re-reading them tends to bring back a flood of past thoughts and memories.
I just realize how journaling will help manage one’s self and aids for personal growth. Our minds have a natural tendency to focus on our fears about what could go wrong.  This practice allows us to retrain our minds to focus on our capabilities which allows us to achieve our goals and dream bigger dreams.

So hopefully in the near future, I will be able to write (to the best of my knowledge) a comprehensive guide for students trying to backpack in Europe (on a limited budget).
When you arrive at your destination, simply get a map and ask the locals for the top sights. It is surprising how much I grew while learning about our differences and our similarities. So when traveling, it is best to save your energy and allow yourself to let your surroundings soak in, rather than going for the goal of seeing as many places as you can. Even if you eat a ridiculous amount of food while traveling, you will most likely end up losing more weight than before you started your trip. Furthermore, they are rain-resistant and their zippers won’t break, even if you fill it to the brim. I learned this one from my girlfriend Cindy, and it was probably the best travel advice that she ever gave me (even though being a photographer I am naturally inclined to take thousands of photos at a time). Being abroad and having that sense of anonymity is surreal, and it is definitely an experience that everybody should have.
Furthermore, it is also economically sound to pool your resources together when it comes to getting a room together, eating food, or getting other miscellaneous discounts when sightseeing. Although during the trip it was sometimes a chore and difficult to do on the grounds that I was always so tired, being able to open that journal and reminisce on past memories was so precious. There are so many people who make excuses from fulfilling their life dreams due to fiscal reasons.
It would usually take 2 days for my clothes to dry fully, which would allow me to always wear clean clothing while traveling  even though I only had around 5 pairs of shirts, socks, and boxers with me. There is nothing easier than getting sucked into using the internet for hours on end, wasting precious time that you have overseas. Although Los Angeles is one of the biggest cities in the world, it is nothing but a speck when compared to the rest of the world.
Even the busiest of us can find ten minutes in the day – set your alarm earlier, if you have to. Keeping a journal today means you can look back in five years, ten years or in old age at what you were thinking about, dreaming of, hoping for … it’s the closest you can get to time-travelling back to meet a past version of yourself. Time coach Mark Forster advocates writing a daily “What’s better” list, recording the things which were not just good but better – this is a powerful way to focus on growth. What I feel I am missing out on, though, is keeping track of those everyday events, in particular in regards to my two boys. I will buy one today and will start writing thoughts and feelings surrounding the events of my life..
Her corporate clients include Coca Cola, UPS, Novartis, J&J, and others who know female leadership talent is good for business.
So until then, please read my post and feel free to share this list with anybody you want via Facebook, Twitter, Email, or IM. Doing this will cause you to get burnt out, which will cause traveling to be more of a chore than something you can enjoy. While traveling I used the North Face Recon, which had more than enough space and zippers for everything I needed during my trip. I probably had the deepest moments of self-introspection during the few weeks that I traveled alone. Also inextricably, you will grow so incredibly close to that person so quickly, and build a life-lasting bond with one another through your experiences. Also, there is no better way to unwind from a long day than journaling your thoughts, feelings, and things that you did during the day. However I am a true believer in that if you want something badly enough, you will make it happen.
Trying to see more than a museum a day is extremely ambitious (it is difficult to even see all the exhibits in one museum in a day). Well first of all, these seats are special promotion deals and the times that they offer are very limited (super early in the morning, or super-late at night). This will save you the hassle of wasting all your money on laundry money and also packing fewer clothes while traveling, which equals less weight on your back. For example, when I was lost in Venice (the most impossible city to get around without getting lost), I asked a man who was speaking Italian to his friend if he knew where X was. Rather than unwinding after a long day of traveling by using the computer, use that potential time to journal (do it in a notebook), get to know fellow travelers, or simply reflect on the day. On the contrary, this is one of the biggest reasons why I advocate people to travel is because when they come back home with a fresh new pair of eyes, they appreciate home so much more.
For example, do entries about lack of sleep coincide with stressful periods such as exams or project deadlines at work?
It’s worth the effort: a hundred and fifty words a day – easily possible in ten minutes – adds up to over fifty thousand words in a year. They don’t have to be big things – something as simple as “I saw a beautiful sunset” or “I left work on time” are fine.
Furthermore, if you are limited in terms of what you can bring (only one carry-on baggage, and it costs extra to bring luggage as well). He then quickly stopped his conversation, and walked me for nearly 10 minutes to my destination.
When you are traveling, disconnecting from the internet can be one of the best ways to “detox” from being wired. After coming home, make sure to tell all of your friends and family about your wonderful experiences while traveling, and don’t forget to embrace them and also tell them how much you love and appreciate them as well. The Harvard Business Review has quoted research that shows performance improved +18% when people had a chance to reflect on their learning. There was another time when I couldn’t find my bus to take me to the airport, and a complete stranger walked around with me for nearly an hour, talking to other locals to help me find my bus. However if you are smart, you could seriously have your transportation within Europe for nearly nothing!
Without this little planner of mine, I’d probably be a little lost in terms of my day and life for that matter.

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