The World’s Best Travel Journals


Traveler and author Mark Twain filled 50 journals before he died. He wrote sketches for stories and characters, schemes for inventions, observations, drawings and dirty jokes in his little notebooks. He always had one on him to remember the little oddities of the world that he thought worth noting—because if you don’t write such reflections down they are often forgotten, and the moment and its significance disappear with them.

Twain’s first pocket notebooks were purchased in 1857 at the age of 21 during his training to become the “cub” pilot of a steamboat on the Mississippi River. He felt confident that the job would be fairly easy to learn but found he could not remember the instructions his teacher, Horace Bixby, imparted to him. Bixby advised Clemens, “My boy, you must get a little memorandum-book, and every time I tell you a thing, put it down right away. There’s only one way to be a pilot, and that is to get this entire river by heart. You have to know it just like A B C.” Clemens accepted Bixby’s advice and thus began a lifelong relationship with the pocket notebook. –The Pocket Notebooks of 20 Famous Men, The Art of Manliness

The best notebook is always the one in your pocket when the extraordinary plays out. Great writers usually keep one at hand, and many travelers do as well. Below are a few of the finest journals still in production...

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