Even before I took up my writing career again — to be able to both shoot and write for the articles I’m doing — I’ve been carrying a black, pocket-sized notebook. This journal is what I turn to when I sit down to start writing my articles. It is filled with words, sentences and letters, most of them written in a barely decryptable handwriting. I use it to write down the addresses and names of the restaurants and hotels I’m visiting. And the time schedules for trains or names of traditional meals, straight forward stuff. But all of those facts are available online, for you and everyone else.
The most important words to jot down are the details you can’t Google. How it feels like to visit that particular restaurant, what the main course smelled like or how the waiter ended up with that scar on his upper lip. The goal is to collect something that not everyone (actually only the people that visited the exact same spot as you) knows.
You‘re a photographer, why do you need to write stuff down?
Why should you go through the effort to take notes? The most obvious reason is that it could earn you money when you’re back home.
How come? The thing is, it’s usually a lot easier to sell your photos if you’re able to package it together with a text. But don’t think for a second that it’s just about writing a few paragraphs and believe that it will sell your photos. There are as many writers wanting to become travel journalists as there are photographers dreaming about making a living from shooting travel photos. You need to be good at writing too! It doesn’t have to be thousands and thousands of words though, but good writing. Flip through any travel magazine and you’ll realize that the lengths varies.
It makes your experience four times stronger
Even if you don’t plan on taking up journalism when you get back home, the act of note-taking will give you a much greater travel experience! Picking up your notebook and spending a few minutes now and then, jotting down what is happening around you, will make you more aware. Suddenly, you realize what the surroundings offer vastly more than you first thought.
This article was originally written by Jens Lennartsson and appeared on Medium on May 29, 2015. You can read the rest of the article on Medium.