Travel Blog

Mankind’s Greatest Invention: The Journal

I journal ALL. THE. TIME. I have journals all over my room. My mom actually groans every time I am gifted a new journal or I ask to get a new one, because I have that many lying around our house. A kitschy, flimsy, aqua-colored one with some cheesy inspirational quote sits on my night stand for random pre/mid/post slumber thoughts that follow suit with the journal that houses them – embarrassing and not worth remembering. A ring notebook hand-decorated with magazine clippings lays neatly on my shelf, amidst notes and books about Jewish history, the Torah, and Israel. This journal contains a detailed recounting of my time on Alexander Muss High School in Israel, two summers ago. I even have a journaling app on my phone that I used during school hours when I needed to vent about my homework or complain about someone at school who was getting on my nerves. My prized possession is a handsome, leather Barnard journal from one of my early college tours contains day-by-day reports, inside jokes, and juicy gossip of course, from two of the most influential experiences of my lifetime thus far – Diller Teen Fellows Israel Summer Seminar and Camp Ramah in Northern California. It is no surprise that the journal containing the tales of these two summers is my most treasured one.

These journals have become my most important testaments to my growth, progress, and self-development over the years. Sometimes I journal for a few quick minutes, updating my future self on important events, new friendships, and exciting achievements. Other times, I literally sit for hours in my room or in nature, letting my ideas run wild and my thoughts flow from pen to paper like a rushing waterfall. However, the beauty and comfort I find in journaling lies in the fact that nobody else will ever read what I write if I do not want them to. I can say anything and everything I want, use improper spelling and grammar, and be free to explore words, sentiments, and modes without repercussion. In doing so, I am able to be flexible, creative, and risky with how I write, rather than being confined by guidelines or fear of what readers will think. The freedom, experience, and ease I gain from writing in a journal is precisely why I was so hesitant about starting a blog.

Once the blog seed was planted, I switched back and forth between despising and obsessing over the idea in the months leading up to my gap year. Some days, I fantasized about having a beautiful, aesthetic blog with jaw-dropping photos and blog posts that achieved a rare but perfect balance of humor, intellect, and maturity. I hoped to gain numerous followers, including well-known journalists and bloggers, of course, who would help kickstart my writing career. But other days, I cringed at the idea of writing a blog. Why trim, edit, and rework writing for other people’s pleasure when I could have all of the good, uncensored stuff in my journal, with the added bonus of it being for my eyes only? This back and forth debate seemed impossible to resolve. On the one hand, journaling was comfortable and therapeutic. Blogging seemed like so much work, and would eliminate those feelings of complete release I felt while journaling. But I also wanted to keep my friends and family updated on my year abroad, and share all of the ups and downs and in betweens of my new life.

Eventually, this debate turned introspective. It came down to one simple fact that has been haunting me throughout my gap-year-planning process: change scares me. To any of you who know me, this won’t be any surprise. I know it sounds cliche, but one of if not the biggest source of my anxiety is the new and the uncharted. Something as small as shifting from journaling to blogging falls under this category. I have been journaling religiously since the beginning of high school, and blogging, like my gap year, represents the unknown, a shift in my routine. But once I was able to pinpoint the cause of these second thoughts about blogging, I realized, I can have the best of both worlds (hit it, Hannah Montana!!!

So, I have reconciled both the need to journal and the desire to try something new by blogging by finding a compromise (phew!). Throughout this year, I will still be journaling on the regular. I will allow myself to completely succumb to the liberation and healing that journaling brings me, and not force myself to edit or conform in any way. But upon finishing a journal entry, I will read and rewrite in order to share my reflections with all of you. They will be totally different processes. For me, journaling is a breaking down – of my day, my feelings, my identity, with no concern for diction, syntax, or anything technical. Blogging will become a building back up – carefully picking the right words, rhythms, and modes to convey what I have expressed carelessly and casually (and even sometimes indecently) in my journal, in an articulate and engaging way on my blog.

So, after many mind-debates and after the 2.5 hours I sat writing after my first bus ride home from work today, I have my first blog post, and I could not be more excited to see where this new and improved journal/blogging journey takes me!

Until next time,

Fia on the Fly

P.S. I am writing this at 9:30 PM Israel time after a sleepless, jet-lagged night last night and a long first day of work. Proofreading will come tomorrow. 😉


4 thoughts on “Mankind’s Greatest Invention: The Journal”

  1. Dear Fia on the Fly,
    How cute and clever is this title for your blog!!
    I am thrilled that you made the decision to start a blog and let us “in on” some parts of your Gap year of adventures.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sofia…We LOVE this! A wonderful, honest, fun, exciting beginning! Do this…it’s your gift, your memory, and your new experiences that we are thrilled to be a part of! Much love, G and G

    Liked by 3 people

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