Travel Round-up: Turning travel diaries into blogs

travelBefore blogging came along, travellers who wanted to record their experiences would write a diary. It’s how I started my own blog, scribbling in a notebook to remember my family’s holidays. Of course, only those diaries which made it to print would ever be seen by the general public. There must be thousands of personal travelogues gathering dust in attics everywhere, some of social and historical significance, recalling a place at a particular time.

Over the last few years, since my father died, I have been typing up his handwritten memoirs and turning them into a blog. His memories of school, National Service and university life are now online and the detail may well be of interest to someone other than his immediate family. I’ve also been able to read about his travels, in particular to Scandinavia. Linking his memories to photographs found in old albums, his thoughts about these destinations have been fascinating for me to read. What did Copenhagen look like in the 1950s? How different was it from cities in the UK?: A Summer in Scandinavia – Copenhagen


Kate from Kate on Thin ice has also been revisiting her father’s memoirs and has published them on her blog. Like me, she has found the process of writing up her dad’s words a touching way to keep his memory alive. Serving in the Royal Navy from 1945 to 1948, Kate’s dad has some wonderful stories to tell. I particularly liked this one, where he tasted melon for the first time: A trip to Rhodes


Another blogger, Sarah, who writes at St Bloggie de Riviere, has created a separate blog, Isn’t that the trailer-tent? to share her mother’s travel diaries from the family’s camping trips in the 1960s and 70s. I’m sure Mary is delighted to have her words typed up by her daughter and grandson. She writes beautifully, with a sense of fun and an enormous amount of fascinating detail, particularly where food is concerned. I loved this post, from a trip to France in the summer of 1971 where she discovers the delights of the French hypermarket and wonders “if only one could believe that such delights would come our way with the Common Market.” 1971: June 10, Basle – Strasbourg

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Want to find out where BritMums and their families have been travelling? Here’s a selection, from Cornwall to Washington DC and Japan.

My top 5 holiday hotspots – Bod for Tea

Our Cornwall staycation at Coombe MillMy Travel Monkey

Top 5 things to do in North WalesHere Come the Girls

Paradise Park, Newhaven, East SussexKids Days Out Reviews

A Mark Warner holiday as a single parentOlder Single Mum

About our family holidays in CadizFamily Life in Spain

The quiet hotel – WolfgangseeA Bavarian Sojourn

Costa Brava L’Estartit and the Pirates FestivalMari’s World

Athens: random acts of kindnessMums Do Travel

One afternoon in Georgetown, DCMummy from the Heart

Oasis of the Seas: The biggest doesn’t even cover it!The Ana Mum Diary

The one with all the kimonosThe Mum Blog

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Finally, I read a very interesting post from Helen at Actually Mummy who has some great suggestions for days out in London, courtesy of a company called Freaky Rivet, who provide exciting city itineraries for children. The ideas are inexpensive, entertaining and educational and, at a cost of £1, a donation is given to local children’s charities.  Have a look at Helen’s post and you can find further details: Awesome days out for Half Term

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About Trish Burgess

Trish Burgess started her blog ‘Mum’s Gone To…’ with a series of posts called ‘Mum’s Gone To Iceland’ where she was extremely ill on a whale-watching trip and thought she would die snow-mobiling on a glacier. Thankfully she survived and continued with less scary family trips: ‘Mum’s Gone To…Canada, Cyprus, Barcelona, Berlin etc. Originally from Newcastle upon Tyne she now lives in South Lincolnshire and travels with her husband and occasionally with her son, who is now at university. Trish can be found on Twitter at @mumsgoneto

12 Comments

  1. 03 November 2014 / 09:26

    Hi Trish, thanks for plugging the blog. 🙂

    Funnily enough I’m reading a book about how and why hypermarkets came into existence in France. It’s in Le Suicide français by Eric Zemmour and is rather depressing. I won’t spoil your merry post by giving details, but, disons, the joy of the hypermarket has had the shine taken off for me.

    As for my mum’s diaries, I think I’ve come to the end of them now. You’ve inspired me to recheck…

    • 03 November 2014 / 09:35

      I can well imagine what the book has to say! It was still fascinating to read how amazed your mum was at the array of foods on offer…and the number of trollies. Your mum’s account is an excellent historical/social resource. So pleased you decided to blog her diaries.

  2. 03 November 2014 / 12:46

    A friend of mine is publishing her grandfather and great uncle and aunt’s letters home to their mother in WW1 on the 100 year anniversary of each letter.

    It’s absolutely fascinating, although obviously also pretty grim in places. They were all over, in India, in the navy, in the trenches.

    http://www.familyletters.co.uk/

    • 06 November 2014 / 12:33

      Thanks so much for mentioning this – how wonderful the letters have been kept and now put online.

      There is another blog I follow, Save Every Step, where the letters from her Uncle Joe, when he was in the RAF during World War ii, are being published every week. Again, it’s such a brilliant way to bring history to life. I’m sure your friend would enjoy having a read, to see someone else doing the same thing.

      Here’s the link to it: http://saveeverystep.wordpress.com/writing-home-wwii-letters-series/

      • 06 November 2014 / 17:17

        Thank you for this. I have a list of links on the Family Letters website, and I’ll ad SaveEverStep to it. What a poignant and worthwhile project that is. And yes, we don’t realise the value of those packets of letters until we grow up ourselves.

  3. 03 November 2014 / 23:30

    Thanks Trish, I think that is a realy lovely idea to be typing up you Dad’s notes. It will be so interesting to your future family members I’m sure. Mich x

    • 04 November 2014 / 11:40

      Thank you, Mich. The family have really enjoyed seeing his words online – so accessible. I also had an email from an elderly gentleman who had found the blog when he was searching for his old army barracks during National Service – it was a great resource to him.

  4. 04 November 2014 / 16:22

    Have really enjoyed seeing all of the blogs here. I’ve been mixing my families ancient travels and late victorian photographs within my blog and trying to integrate the two which seems to be working okay. My Great great grandfather was the doctor on Cater’s expedition to Egypt and we have a sea captain from 1880 who sailed the seas pretty extensively. Before I get too far into this do you reckon it is better to keep them separate from my travel blog? It is no fixed person, more the photographs and travel references that I have found while rummaging through my Gran’s stuff. Just a bit of a newbie question and it would be good to hear your experienced thoughts! Suz x

  5. 06 November 2014 / 12:38

    Oh how amazing is that, Suzanne.

    I’m no expert but I suppose it depends whether you have enough material to devote a whole blog to it. I have just had a look at your blog and, browsing through it, I can’t easily find any posts about these historical travels. Maybe you could give them a label and make a separate tab at the top to bring them all together – do that to begin with and then, if you feel there is enough to warrant a second blog, you could move them over?

    • 06 November 2014 / 12:44

      Thanks for a having a peek!! They are all in draft except for one at the moment as I didn’t really know what to do with them. Will get the category sorted and see how I go. Just need to get focussed!!

  6. This round up is one of the higlights of my month – always such a varied and amazing list of experiences and I am enjoying working my way through. (Thanks, also, for inlcuding mine). 🙂

    • 23 November 2014 / 13:37

      What a lovely thing to say, Anya. Very happy to include your post – important for single-parent holidays to be discussed.