My decrepit, wrinkly brown leather diary contains my fondest travel memories.
Three-quarters of the diary is already filled with hand-written entries. My hurried scrawls inhabit entire pages, even where the paper is soft and flimsy from the rain that soaked my rucksack in 2011, and the tea I spilled on February 24, 2012. Each entry chronicles my day-to-day happenings, containing details as specific as the names of friendly strangers I've met like Ulan, the Kazakh cab driver from this summer, who offered me a bottle of cold Coca-Cola and Kazakh chocolate which I accepted delightfully. The diary entries supplement the mementos and photographs I have accumulated while traveling. They complete memories, as each memento finds a context and home, and photographs reveal stories. I write so that my memories are tangible and enduring, so they have lasting emotions, colors and tastes.
I will always keep travel writing a habit. It just complements travel nicely: it kills time at the airport during the grueling, long sleep-deprived hours spent waiting; it gives me a pleasant distraction from the boisterous foreign chatters on public transport; sometimes, it helps me vent frustration: "Surrounded by a horde of tourists (hypocritical). Loud and inconsiderate, perfectly encapsulating every negative stereotype about them. (07/21/2012)"
There is something about a leather-bound travel diary secured with black yarn that restricts its readership to just the writer/traveler. Travel diaries are private, intended solely for personal amusement. They are limiting, in the way travel stories shouldn't be; they should be shared and enjoyed by not just the traveler herself, but with those who yearn to travel, and even wish to meet the Kazakh cab driver who will greet you a bottle of Coke and Kazakh chocolate upon your arrival in Almaty.
Princeton Traveler is like an open travel diary. Each entry takes place in a different country, where travel is uniquely experienced and narrated. The pictures that complement the stories seamlessly set the context and give readers a chance to travel, vicariously, from Jordan to Finland, and back across the Atlantic Ocean to Ghana.
The September Issue covers study/ work abroad experiences and travel snippets from this summer. If you’re missing summer already, this is the issue that will make you feel especially nostalgic. Enjoy!
~Rina Azumi ‘16
(All photos taken by Rina Azumi)
© 2014 Princeton Traveler