A to Z of Successful Expatriation™: J is for JOURNAL

Ever since my daughter learned to write coherent sentences, I’ve always encouraged her to record the various trips we were taking.  We’d sit down at the end of every day – usually during a dinner in a restaurant – and while the food was being prepared, she’d record things that were especially interesting for her.  And even though it’s now becoming more and more difficult to get her to write her “travel journal” (age, I suppose), she loves going back and reading what she’s written years ago.

Journaling about your expat experiences – whether in electronic form or in an old-fashioned way with a pen and a notebook – gives us an opportunity to record the things we see and experience shortly after we’ve seen and experienced them.  Nothing gets lost in our memory, nothing gets forgotten and in the end we have a great collection of stories that can provide hours of memories years later.  Some of these stories may even end up becoming a book some of us have always dreamed of writing in retirement.

Keeping a journal in electronic form – a blog as we call them now – also allows us to share with family and friends at home.  Add a few photographs and you’ve just provided an evening of entertainment for your loved ones.

Journals help us remember and they help us share.  Do you keep a journal?  How?

For all the letters in the A to Z of Successful Expatriation™ click here.

And remember to check out our on-line courses on Culture Shock, Expat Know-How and on Cross-Cultural Training at the Global Coach Center Academy!

Copyright © 2010 by Global Coach Center.
If you’d like to reprint this, please do so but make sure you credit us (with a live link)!

3 responses to “A to Z of Successful Expatriation™: J is for JOURNAL

  1. the electronic journal (blog) has replaced my pen/paper journaling, but I still have those from years past.

    It started as a way to connect with our friends/family from back home, but is turning into both a help for future Delhi based expats … and a way to record our journey for my family. Win-win.

    I haven’t ever been able to get my KIDS to journal though 😦

  2. Dear Margarita,
    yes, I keep a journal and a blog. I started to write a little bit of my journey when I lived in Sri Lanka (2002-2005) as I experienced a lot there (a new culture and two pregnancies !). But I stopped when we came back to France and then restarted occasionally before we left for the US where I currently live. So it means I write daily in my journal since 2008.
    Journaling has helped me a lot in terms of evaluation of my own life: what I have done, what I really want to do now, what are my motivations, and so on. It worked and still works as a therapy. Now I keep a daily journal and a blog too (the blog since April 2010). My blog deals with expatriation: http://expatforever.blogspot.com/
    In my journal I wrote about my daily routines but also about my memories as they come (childhood, teenager age and of course my expatriate life). It is more personal and when I reread it I also notice it was very career oriented, that is to say that the main topic I wrote about was my professional goal as a trailing spouse : what I am going to do now !!
    Through journaling and the help of a coach, I found out what I wanted to do.
    So for me journaling is good for three main reasons :
    – it helps me to keep track of my global journey as I write memories from the past but also from the present. It is a kind of a family puzzle. Inside I also past some of my daughters’ drawings, movie theater’s tickets, etc …
    – it helps me to keep me motivated and to achieve my goals. Then I also write about the future, about what I expect.
    – It works as an ongoing therapy.
    If I do not write in my journal with my fountain pen, I do not feel right. I have to do it. It is now a part of me. I would advice to anybody to try it.
    Best,
    Veronique
    http://www.writerforever.com/
    http://expatforever.blogspot.com/

  3. Well, it’s not laid for everyone… therefore I would suggest the following:

    – Joy
    – Justice
    – Join them (not like ‘If you cannot beat them…’) LOL – Participation is a clue of successful (and enJOYable) expat- life🙂

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