How Travel Journals Led Me to Publish Four Books

“Keep a diary, and someday, it will keep you.”

Attributed to Mae West, Margot Asquith, Lily Langtry & Anonymous!

Making a living from writing is difficult, but not impossible, although writing books and making money is certainly not the reason that I started keeping travel journals.

My memory is terrible, so when people used to ask me things like,

“What did you do on your trip-of-a-lifetime to Zimbabwe?”

I would say things like, “Er. Nothing much…”

If this is you, you need a travel journal!

My Zimbabwe trip was in 1994. Thankfully, I did keep a journal – and it is now one of my most treasured possessions.

It describes six days rafting 60km down the crocodile-infested Zambezi River, from Victoria Falls to the Kariba Dam, on some of the biggest white water in the world. Then, it takes me on safari, where I walked through the bush with wild elephants, buffalo, hyena and some rather large pussycats, protected solely by Jane, the only female white hunter in ‘Zim’, as the locals call it. After that, I flew over Victoria Falls in a microlight before launching myself 111 metres into freefall from the Victoria Falls Bridge – the highest bungee jump in the world at the time.

More than a quarter of a century on, my journal brings back the sights, sounds, smells and feelings (from exhilaration to terror!) that my trip to Africa invoked. I love the way it helps me to recall and re-live the experience in a way that just photographs can’t – and I wouldn’t part with it for the world.


My husband Mark and I were made redundant in 2016 and accidentally bought our first caravan. Some way down the second bottle of celebratory champagne, we had a wild idea,

“We could sell up, rent out the house and tour Europe in her full time!”

Of course, when we sobered up, we decided that it was a brilliant idea. So, in May 2016, we set off with our four dogs, Cavapoos (Cavalier/Poodle cross) Kai, Rosie, Ruby and Lani, and Caravan Kismet – meaning ‘Fate’ – in tow.

Naturally, I kept a journal. After our first year on the road, people wanted to know about our travels and encouraged me to start a blog. I could do that because I had all the notes in my journal. The blog attracted readers from all over the world, who enjoyed my scribblings. They persuaded me to write a book…

Mark and I are just starting our fifth year as full-timers. Although we are currently locked down in Italy due to coronavirus, we do not intend to stop touring anytime soon. I have now published four books about our travels; through France, Germany and Romania as well as one about a winter season on the ski slopes. They are available worldwide on Amazon and as paperbacks in the UK through

Without my travel journals, which I treasure and thoroughly enjoy creating for their own sake, I would never have started my blog or written the books.

Also, without my journals, if someone asked, “What have you been doing since 1994?”

I would still reply, “Nothing much.”

I can’t promise that one day, your diary will keep you, although I can GUARANTEE this;

Keep a diary and someday, it will keep you entertained!

Leisure Logs

This post was first published as a guest post on Leisure Logs Journals.

Check out their page for beautiful, full-colour Caravan, Motor Home or Camping journals.

They make wonderful gifts and if you’re planning for the big off when lockdown lifts, they are ideal for noting down your plans – and don’t leave home without one!

Jackie’s Books:

All have received 5* reviews such as, “Laugh out loud funny and a great travel guide”; “Armchair Travel Delight” and “A must-read if thinking about travelling” on Amazon and Goodreads.

  1. Year 1: Fur Babies in France – From Wage Slaves to Living the Dream – Inspired by a group of seventy- and eighty-year-old windsurfers, Jackie and Mark accidentally buy a caravan, decide to go ‘full time’ in her and cut their caravanning teeth on the back roads of France.
  2. Dog on the Rhine – From Rat Race to Road Trip – Follows the crew’s adventures through Germany, The Czech Republic, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia and Italy, including a pedal with pensioners that nearly ends in a fight… 
  3. Dogs ‘n’ Dracula – A Road Trip Through RomaniaWarned that they would be robbed, scammed, eaten by bears, kidnapped by gypsies and mauled by wild dogs, if the floods and riots didn’t get them first… See how our intrepid couple get on when they adopt one of those ferocious street dogs and join the mile-high club with their caravan as they cross the Carpathian Mountains on one of the world’s most dangerous roads.
  4. Pups on Piste – A Ski Season in ItalyParables from on piste and off, including getting lost, stranded and conducting experiments on the edge of control, along with a back-country ski course in which the instructor’s advice is, “Don’t miss the turn, or you’ll go over a cliff.”

Follow Jackie: 

This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission, which helps me to keep this free-to-read blog online. It will not affect your purchase or the price you pay in any way. 

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How Journals led to Publishing with Title Pin

Published by WorldWideWalkies

AD (After Dogs) - We retired early to tour Europe in a caravan with four dogs. "To boldly go where no van has gone before" - & believe me, we have! BC (Before Canines) - we had adventures on every continent other than Antarctica!

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