Believe it or not, the simple act of picking up a pen and paper to record whatever thoughts come to mind is a powerful form of meditation that heightens emotional and cognitive intelligence. If you let it, writing can unlock countless psychological benefits that can improve your physical wellbeing.

Luckily, you don’t need all the time in the world to start writing. It’s an effective tool you can use for self-improvement anytime, even when you’re on the fly. Whether you’re traveling for business or for pleasure, here are five reasons why you should start keeping a travel journal.

1. Writing Makes You Happy.
It’s normal to get stressed while on the road. Your survival instincts kick in to keep you hyper-alert and aware of your constantly changing environment. Vent by writing down all your worries—it can help you let go of that stress. On the flip side, logging all the fun experiences helps you count your blessings and encourages an optimistic view of life.

2. Writing Improves Your Memory.
We all know that the brain is far from perfect at recall. Recording your thoughts can take the burden off your brain for to-do lists, dates and numbers, and actually putting pen to paper has the added benefit of improving your memory and enhancing your ability to learn. On your next vacation, use a travel journal to plan your days and write about each one. You’ll remember all your favorite experiences for years to come!

3. Writing Helps You Communicate Better.
As social beings, communication skills are useful and important for all of us to have. When you put your thoughts into words on a page, you’re practicing self-expression. And since practice makes perfect—the more you write, the better you’ll be at communicating complex ideas to others.  If you’re traveling to meet a client, try preparing for your meetings by writing down your thoughts to avoid miscommunication.

4. Writing Helps You Solve Problems.
Tackling a problem? Taking time to write about the issue can lead to finding the solution. While focusing your attention on the topic at hand, writing encourages creativity and spurs innovative thinking. Do travel worries tend to get in your way? Keep a list of potential problems—and solutions—in case anything comes up on a trip.

5. Writing Helps You Know Yourself.
When you’re traveling, the abundance of new distractions and experiences can make it difficult for your mind to process everything. The strokes of your pen can turn a blank page into a mirror, giving you the opportunity to have a conversation with yourself about your experiences, to reflect on each one and organize your thoughts. Writing in a travel journal will encourage this contemplation and self-exploration.


Author: Caitlin Chai