"The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page." ~St. Augustine.

first page in sketchbook for trip to Spain

In a few weeks we will be enjoying, along with our lifelong friends, a glass or two of sangria on the shores of the Mediterranean.

This will be our second visit to Spain's Costa del Sol. Our first trip was in 2014 and we stayed in Marbella for a few nights and travelled to Mijas and Torremolinos but those visits were far too brief.

Spain kept a piece of me...I had to return.

This time, I am bringing along a travel journal, a sketchbook where I want to record our daily activities and add drawings as I did when we were in Havana, Cuba, in June 2016.

Parque Central sketch - in the lobby (Havana, June 2016)

Last fall, I regretted not having my watercolours and other paraphernalia with me on our Rhine/Danube cruise. However, if truth be told, I probably would not have had time to sit and sketch. This will not be the case in Torremolinos.

You might wonder what is so special about a travel journal?

Contrary to photos, a travel journal makes you more aware of all the minute details of your surroundings. You might record:

- snippets of overheard conversation
- stamps from different areas
- maps or sections of maps
- quick, on-the-go, gestural type sketches
- more leisurely, detailed sketches
- quotations
- lists (sites to see, things to do in and around the area)
- bits and pieces of travel brochures
- the joys of discoveries, the disappointments and irritations that sometimes occur while travelling
- the best gelatos, tapas, beer, wine, etc. that you enjoyed and where you found them
- caricatures of people

In a world of instant this and that, a travel journal seems old-fashioned and maybe even quaint to some people.

But putting pen to paper forces the writer/artist to examine the surroundings without any filters of a camera lens and find the particular in the general setting, as well as people to sketch, and conversations to listen to (eavesdropping is permitted at such times), and chronicle the highlights of the trip.

More often than not, as I am sketching, someone will look over my shoulder and begin questioning me, and that will lead to more fascinating discoveries.

A travel journal/sketchbook, I would argue, heightens the senses.

The world is a book and those who do not read each page thoughtfully, savouring each word, will easily forget the wonders they have seen.

You can quote me on that!

6 Responses

  • Louise, I stumbled across this blog accidentally. My name is also Louise Primeau and I absolutely love Spain as well. I have visited 4 times and will go again!
    Other than both having dark hair that might be the end of any similarities… I don’t have a bit of artistic talent but I think your work is wonderful. Hope you enjoy your next visit to Espania!

    • Hi Louise: I have to say I was stumped when I saw I had written myself a comment on my own blog! And then I became excited after I read your note and I want to know more about you. I have our whole family genealogy and would be curious to see where you fit in. Please contact me at louiseaprimeau@gmail.com. You can also find me on facebook if that is easier and we can message each other.

      Thank you for contacting me and making my day!!! I look forward to getting to hearing from you!

  • If I sketched as well as you Louise I would probably do the same, instead I write (on my iPad) a journal then add occasional photos and always keep maps, tickets and brochures. For me an essential thing to do, and it is amazing how many times over the years they have been referred to, not only for our information but for others who may wish to travel to the same place, as have our son and his partner who as part of their holidays spent time in Vietnam. We were able to give them lots of info on places we had been.

    • The Ipad is great for keeping a journal. I used it but then deleted a lot of the information since I had written a travelogue and posted it in a few places. I am still searching for the best way to record our memories of our trip. The problem with writing and sketching is that I am often too absorbed with the action around me and would rather watch than sketch. I am going to try to be more diligent this time and I am preparing the journal ahead of our trip so that I don’t have as many blank pages. I figure that if the journal is started, I might be more motivated to continue drawing in it. We shall see! Thanks for the comment Sally!

    • Thanks Anne. This weekend, I am having a friend over who has been in Torremolinos for the last six weeks and she will have some ideas of things to do and see. But I already have a list prepared anyway. The flamenco festival is ongoing at this time of the year so I want to see that again and there are the caves at Nerja with the oldest paintings in the world (approx. 42,000 years old). And then there is the Picasso museum in Malaga, and several tapas restaurants I want to try. As well, along the Carihuela, there is a seafood restaurant where I ate the best fish traditionally cooked in a block of salt. I look forward to so many things that I probably will have to return a third time to see all I miss this time! Thanks for leaving a comment Anne.

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