A Must-Have Travel Companion for Self-Care: a Guided Journal


One of the simplest things you can do for self-care is to journal. It’s something you can do anytime, anywhere. There are no rules or best ways. I like to say,

“The beauty of a journal is that it gives you the space to make your own discoveries without being rigid about how to do it." 

Travel is an ideal time to journal. When you’re away from your normal routine, it offers the perfect opportunity for self-reflection. We’re so often on autopilot in our daily life so when we leave that familiar zone, it can provide the space to make new insights or to recognize things like our patterns and habits. We’re also not as distracted by the mundane details of life when we’re traveling.

For some people, free-form journaling can be difficult because they stress over what to write about and if they’re doing it right. A guided journal, with its writing prompts, alleviates that stress. You’re able to let go of any worries about what to say or which topics to choose and can simply focus on the questions provided. They may also inspire new ideas or reveal perspectives one may not have considered otherwise.

So when’s best to journal while on the road? It’s completely individual. Trust your intuition and inspiration to guide you. Perhaps it’s while you’re on a plane or train. Maybe it’s in your room as you unwind after the day’s activities or while lounging at the pool. How about a picturesque spot where you can be alone in nature, appreciating the beauty and calm—leaving all mundane thoughts behind, turning inward. 

It’s not just the opportunity to journal that travel provides but also the symmetry of purpose. Oftentimes, we travel for self-care—to recharge, de-stress, and rebalance. It provides a break from our daily stresses to enjoy life and reenergize. Bringing along a journal complements and enhances this focus on self-care. 

Travel journalist Jeannette Ceja shares,

“Personally, I love to journal on a plane. It’s the perfect time to focus since you’re away from everyone and everything. I get very creative when I’m in the air.” 

Experiment and see what inspires you most. Make your journal exploration your own.

Coloring is another self-care activity that has similar benefits to journaling and can be done while traveling. Plus it’s a fun, nostalgic, and easy way to get these benefits. Coloring has been shown to: reduce stress and anxiety, quiet the mind, increase focus and creativity, and improve sleep. 

Sleep can already be challenging while traveling since you’re in an unfamiliar bed and place. Coloring before bedtime is not only relaxing, it also keeps you off the computer, phone, and television—all of which give off blue light. Blue light suppresses the body’s release of melatonin, making it more difficult to fall asleep. Coloring is an excellent evening activity that supports a restful sleep while you’re away from the comfort of home.

Another harmonious aspect is their shared impact on creativity. Travel, with its multi-cultural engagement, has been shown to lead to increased creativity. Adding coloring layers in another way to enhance creativity. 

Just as both journaling and coloring complement travel, they complement and enhance each other as well. When you color, the mind quiets. It can be akin to meditation. It’s during this more quiet state that intuitions can more easily arise. Realizations can happen. 

I thought combining these two complementary self-care activities—guided journal writing prompts and coloring—would bring out their best. You can ponder and reflect on the prompts as you color. Coloring helps to quell the mind chatter while you consider the questions, opening yourself up to intuitive insights. 

This became my book, “Exploring Me: A Guided Journal for Self-Discovery and Creative Expression.” It features thought-provoking writing prompts to expand your self-understanding and explore your perspectives, as well as whimsical illustrations to color by artist Madalina Tantareanu. 

Though whatever book or notebook you choose for journaling and coloring while on the road, it’ll bring you many benefits and will complement the natural partnership of travel and self-care. So grab a pen and some colored pencils and begin your journey. I wish you many new discoveries. 


You can purchase Exploring Me: A Guided Journal for Self-Discovery and Creative Expression on Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and Target. 

Learn more about Mara and connect with her at Marluna Press and on Instagram & Twitter as Mara Writes. 

Photos by: Kirsten Alana 

Mara Krausz is a Los Angeles-based writer of books and television, specializing in personal development and romantic comedy. Her work has appeared in the Boston Globe. Prior to writing, she took a delicious detour through the world of chocolate as a co-founder of an artisanal chocolate company.