Take A Trip With Me
July 14, 2013

Take A Trip With Me

Beginning tomorrow, July 15, 2013, I will be doing something a little different with my blog. I am one of two professors for a short-term study abroad trip organized and offered for credit through my college. We will be taking students to Europe, specifically the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, and Austria. I will be keeping a travel journal of what we do and what we learn for redOrbit.

Before embarking on this change in my blog, I wanted to inform the readers. I plan to write the journal specifically to you, the redOrbit readers. I will definitely discuss what we do and see and learn while also focusing on the core four of redOrbit — Science, Space, Technology, and Health — when appropriate and available. Sometimes the journal entries might be more focused on travel and lifestyle, while in others I will integrate the knowledge and experiences we are having.

This is a student tour focused on teaching students how to travel, as well as the cultural aspects of the places we visit. I will write about these, as well. These may not be posted daily, as I will not always have internet access. But for several weeks, some of my blog posts will be more travel journal than articles as I have been doing.

My goal in this is to show readers what I see and feel and experience via my words. I hope to inspire readers to travel and experience like these students will. Obviously, travel is important to me and my life, so I hope that my travel journal will help others to find that same importance.

Many benefits exist to journaling in general. As Psych Central shows, these consist of the following:

Clarify your thoughts and feelings. Do you ever seem all jumbled up inside, unsure of what you want or feel? Taking a few minutes to jot down your thoughts and emotions (no editing!) will quickly get you in touch with your internal world.

Know yourself better. By writing routinely you will get to know what makes you feel happy and confident. You will also become clear about situations and people who are toxic for you — important information for your emotional well-being.

Reduce stress. Writing about anger, sadness and other painful emotions helps to release the intensity of these feelings. By doing so, you will feel calmer and better able to stay in the present.

Solve problems more effectively. Typically, we problem solve from a left-brained, analytical perspective. But sometimes the answer can only be found by engaging right-brained creativity and intuition. Writing unlocks these other capabilities, and affords the opportunity for unexpected solutions to seemingly unsolvable problems.

Resolve disagreements with others. Writing about misunderstandings rather than stewing over them will help you to understand another’s point of view. And you just may come up with a sensible resolution to the conflict.

These apply to travel journals, as well. But, travel journals provide another benefit: a record of your experiences. It is important to keep a journal as you travel because if you write it afterwards, you are bound to forget important experiences, thoughts, and feelings. Additionally, you will have a memento to look back on in the future to remind you just what you did, saw, and learned. It is the best souvenir possible.

I usually keep a travel journal by hand. I will draw and doodle, as well as write. This time, though, I am going to take my iPad and keep records that way so that I can post them to the redOrbit community. I will be able to take pictures and even draw, although I am still not used to the iPad’s drawing options. I will utilize technology for this blog. Stay tuned for the story of our study abroad travels!

Image Credit: potowizard / Shutterstock

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Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer's group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.

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