One of my first trips to Israel was a field study course I took at Dallas Theological Seminary. In addition to studying Carl Rasmussen’s excellent atlas, the course required I journal daily on my tour.
When I first read the requirement to journal daily on tour, I rolled my eyes. Really? First of all, I never really journaled before. What’s more, wasn’t I there to study the land of Israel? I wanted input, not output. What good would journaling do?
To my surprise, the benefits were huge. So much so, I have journaled every time I’ve gone to Israel—even for those tours I helped to lead.
Here are 3 benefits I’ve discovered that journaling can give you on your Holy Land tour.
1. Journaling gives you a reservoir to hold the deluge from the fire hydrant.
Especially on your first journey to the Holy Land, you’ll experience the fire-hydrant syndrome. So much information will come at you so fast, you’ll never be able to drink it all in. Your head can only hold so much. A journal removes that limitation.
- Journaling gives you a reservoir to hold what you learn that you would otherwise lose.
- Your journal becomes a place to jot notes or questions for further study.
- Journaling will keep the days from blurring together.
- Your journal gives you the freedom to record something and then forget it until later.
2. Journaling gives you a place to process what you experience.
Your journal gives you a place to record the emotions you feel each day—and helps you connect your head with your heart. You will glean many spiritual insights from your Holy Land tour—more than you can imagine.
Plus, jotting down your thoughts, feelings, and emotions gives them a crock pot to “cook” in and develop into something you can chew on later. (I thought about using the cow and cud metaphor, but that’s kind of gross.)
Some travelers prefer to journal electronically (like me) and carry a laptop, tablet, or voice recorder with them.
Others prefer the tactile experience of pen and paper. Either way works. The best journal is the one you’ll use.
Whether you go tech or tactile, several suggestions will help:
- Carry your journal with you. Many people carry a tablet, voice recorder, or notepad with them for the day and jot down thoughts at each site. Be sure to include the date and the site each time.
- Journal about everything. Write your expectations, surprises, lessons, and disappointments. Write what God is teaching you. Write your prayers down. Don’t write to be read by others. Write for you. Dump on paper—empty your heart and mind.
- Make journaling part of your routine. Like brushing your teeth. You could do it first thing in the morning, or perhaps, each night before you turn out the light. You will process your tour better if you’ll journal daily. Every single day. Jot down notes on site that you expand upon in your journal.
3. Journaling on your Holy Land tour gives you a lifetime gift you’ll treasure.
My personal journal gave its richest benefits after returning from my Holy Land tours. I think you’ll find the same true of your experience. Your personal journal and the notes you took on site will be one of your most treasured takeaways from your journey.
- You can read back through your scribblings and note special passages or applications God impressed upon you.
- After you’ve had some time to let these lessons cook, you’ll treasure your journal for life.
In years to come, you can reread your personal Holy Land journal and apply its lessons to real life all over again.
After all, God revealed them to you for a reason—to change your life.
Tell me what you think: What other benefits can journaling on a Holy Land tour offer? To leave a comment, just click here.