3 Ways A Notebook Can Make Your Holiday Even Better (and a shipwreck experience bearable).
Going away this summer? Got your tickets? Got your passport? What about remembering to pack a notebook? Whether it’s a romantic city break, a package holiday with the kids or a trip around the world, here’s how a trusty notebook can make your experience even better
It could even make a genuine shipwreck experience feel more like an adventure.
Before I even leave the house for any kind of getaway, I’m jotting down shopping lists for our holiday essentials, things to do before we leave, items to pack – especially the last minute things you can’t put in your bag until the bleary-eyed morning of your flight - toothbrush, charger, house keys.
It helps to have a list for what you packed so you can check everything off for your return journey (if you really have to go back).
Notebooks are also great for research before the trip. What would you like to do when you’re there? What’s on your wish list of must-dos and –sees? Getting organised before you leave means you can make the most of your trip when you’re there. Tick those landmarks off as you go.
Angie Mercer is an Australian (with Yorkshire heritage) new mum and training manager at Dior. She also got shipwrecked (as you do) with my sister (Char) and now brother-in-law (Paul) nearly ten years ago, somewhere near Panama.
The Shipwreck (photo by Dave Mercer)
Angie and her now husband, photo retoucher, Dave, were traveling around the world when they shared this particular episode with Char and Paul. Trying to cross the gap between South and Central America, they decided to take a boat rather fly. But the Captain turned out to be somewhat inept and the sea was choppy, to say the least when they found themselves at a 30-degree angle one night with the side of the boat scraping across some perilous rocks.
The Shipwreck (photo by Angie and Dave Mercer)
You can read about the deserted beach, the lack of food and the villagers with machetes at their blog post ‘Sacré Bleu! That Continent Just came out of Nowhere!’ It has gone down in the annals of traveller history and was also featured in Wanderlust Magazine.
When the time came to abandon ship, Angie’s notebooks, a little soggy perhaps, came with them to shore. Precious? Yes. Multiple? Yes. But what exactly had she been using them for during their travels?
“I'm definitely a paper and pen girl. I still use a paper diary. One book was for Spanish study. We were also on a budget (about 10 months in when we decided to forfeit our last flight and go straight to my brother’s wedding in Bali, meaning we absolutely had to make our money last the next 9 months) so I used my notebook as a budget tracker.
“I was brutal with the budget (must be my Yorkshire blood). I remember being in Mexico and turning around to find Dave eating an ice cream and I was like, “Where did you get that?!” I had to write it in the book immediately. And at the end of each day, I would tally it up and put a happy or sad face if we were under or over! I was just so scared we wouldn't make my brother’s wedding if we spent all the money.
(They made it to the wedding. Thank you notebook!)
(Oh, and they were also rescued from their shipwreck ordeal after spending a few days with the local villagers.)
Relax and Reflect (no charger necessary).
Shipwrecks aside for a moment, there is something delightfully daring and rather refreshing about unplugging from reality and detoxing from your phone when you’re away. Fewer and fewer of us will probably do this now that the data roaming charges in Europe are finally much less than the price of your plane ticket.
But why not keep up the tradition of locking your phone in the hotel safe or banishing it to the bottom of the beach bag and give you brain some time off? Experts have been saying for a while now that you sleep better, concentrate better and are less stressed when you reduce screen time and that’s what holidays are about too, right? More rest and less stress. Why bring the stress with you?
So where does the notebook come in? Well, I tend to use one for quiet contemplation. While the phone is decidedly turned off, my thoughts, dreams, planning, and general contemplation levels are turned on and up.
Lying by the pool or on the beach, you’ve physically taken a step away from day-to-day life, so why not mentally take a step back and assess where your life is at? What tweaks do you need to make to get back on track? How can you take back control of your daily routine and the life you want to lead?
Pour it all out onto paper and shuffle it into some form of order. The effects are restorative, purposeful and surprisingly effective. I always feel ready and raring to go after a holiday when I’ve done this. I don’t feel sad about going home (although I will definitely always, always miss the sun), far from it. I’m excited to take life by the horns when I get back to reality and turn that phone on again. Thank you notebook.
If you have a more active trip planned then why not take a leaf out of Angie and Dave’s book – or notebooks, lots of them? Don’t just take photos write it down, draw it, stick in tickets and memorabilia.
“We travelled with a laptop and Dave tended to write on it as we went then upload it when we were back in civilisation. I kept paper diaries and wrote things down so if he forgot details or timelines etc he could check them with me. I also stuck in every brochure, ticket, pamphlet etc that I came across and love looking back on them.”
There was no electricity in their shipwreck hosts' village - only a heavy duty battery to charge the village TV for the football - so it sounds like Angie's notes really came into their own helping them remember the details of the whole experience. Now everyone can read all about it
A huge thank you to Angie for fishing out all her old notebooks and journals. Just the other day she said, "This whole process has been a really enjoyable trip down memory lane." Our point exactly. Thank you Angie (glad you're safe)! And thank you notebooks!
So whether you’re shipwrecked, on a staycation or something in between, make sure you pack that notebook. Happy travels!
- Kate Efomi