Bella Vida by Letty


How to Start a Travel Inspiration Journal

How to Create a Travel Inspiration Journal

How to Start a Travel Inspiration Journal

An inspiration journal is central place where you can jot down ideas and other things that will inspire you to achieve your goals. It can help you get started, unstuck, or maybe lead you into a completely different direction but mainly motivates you into action.

You can create an entire journal of strictly inspiration or like me have a combination of places I’ve enjoyed and would love to revisit along with bucket lists of things I’d like to do and places I’d like to see.

When we travel the experience is usually over far too quickly. By journaling we get to explore how we felt about the places we went to and the activities we participated in. We get to know ourselves better by clarifying our thoughts.

Journals also serve as records. We can record our progress or expound on the places we’ve been. Sometimes it’s helpful to look back so we can realize all that we’ve accomplished.


These books will get your creativity started.
An Illustrated Journey: Inspiration From the Private Art Journals of Traveling Artists, Illustrators and Designers

travel journal

When we travel, we don’t want to follow the same itinerary as everyone who’s come before us. We want to feel like explorers, adventurers in undiscovered territory. And that’s exactly what sketching can bring to the travel experience.

The Art of Urban Sketching: Drawing On Location Around The World

travel sketching

The book, Art of Urban Sketching by Gariel Campanario, takes you around the world by showing you the stylings of urban sketchers spanning every continent and into 30 countries. Filled with more than 500 full colored illustrations drawn on location by artists within their own cities, you will hear their stories while learning expert tips and ideas for tools to use for sketching, as well as how to participate through social networking and online activity.

An Illustrated Life: Drawing Inspiration from the Private Sketchbooks of Artists, Illustrators and Designers

travel journal

An artist’s journal is packed with sketches and captions; some rough, some polished. The margins sometimes spill over with hurriedly scrawled shopping lists and phone numbers. The cover may be travel-worn and the pages warped from watercolors. Open the book, and raw creativity seeps from each color and line. The intimacy and freedom on its pages are almost like being inside the artist’s mind: You get a direct window into risks, lessons, mistakes, and dreams.

A World of Artist Journal Pages: 1000+ Artworks – 230 Artists – 30 Countries

travel journal

By nature, art journaling is a private activity. But when Dawn Sokol’s first book, 1000 Artist Journal Pages, broke the fourth wall and shared the work of artists all over North America and parts of Europe, it created a ripple of inspiration throughout the art journaling community. In this much-anticipated follow-up, Sokol features more than 1,000 new, captivating pages, this time—by popular demand—from artists across the globe. Lists of techniques and materials used for each page, plus behind-the-scenes interviews, give readers a glimpse inside the minds of new and established artists, making this a stimulating compilation sure to inspire beginners and seasoned art journalers alike.
Books for  traveling writing inspiration.

Writing Away: A Creative Guide to Awakening the Journal-Writing Traveler (Travelers’ Tales)

travel writing

Two major trends have recently swept the travel world: the first, an overwhelming desire (thanks to Elizabeth Gilbert’s bestseller, Eat, Pray, Love) to write one’s own memoir; the second, an explosion of social media, blogs, twitter and texts, which allow travelers to document and share their experiences instantaneously. Thus, the act of chronicling one’s journey has never been more popular, nor the urge stronger.

Writing Away: A Creative Guide to Awakening the Journal-Writing Traveler, will inspire budding memoirists and jetsetting scribes alike. But Writing Away doesn’t stop there—author Lavinia Spalding spins the romantic tradition of keeping a travelogue into a modern, witty adventure in awareness, introducing the traditional handwritten journal as a profoundly valuable tool for self-discovery, artistic expression, and spiritual growth.

Writing Away teaches you to embrace mishaps in order to enrich your travel experience, recognize in advance what you want to remember, tap into all your senses, and connect with the physical world in an increasingly technological age. It helps you overcome writer’s block and procrastination; tackle the discipline, routine, structure, and momentum that are crucial to the creative process; and it demonstrates how traveling—while keeping a journal along the way—is the world’s most valuable writing exercise.

Globejotting: How to Write Extraordinary Travel Journals (and still have time to enjoy your trip!)

travel writing

Most travel diaries fizzle. By day six of a big trip, people are struggling to recall what happened on days three, four, and five. They return home with mostly empty journals, or bland writing that fails to capture the full spirit of their journeys. Award-winning travel humorist Dave Fox comes to the rescue in this book that’s both informative and irreverently funny. You’ll learn to: Bring destinations to life with bold details.Splash those details quickly onto your pages so journaling doesn’t gobble up your precious vacation time.Elude your Inner Censor and write with confidence.Weave together your outer and inner journeys, using unfamiliar places as a backdrop for self-discovery.

Dave shares his favorite journaling techniques, shows how to find time to write in the middle of an exciting trip, and infuses it all with a generous dose of his off-the-wall humor. Whether your journeys are weekend road trips or excursions around the world, this book will help transform you into a travel journaling superhero!


Once you’ve found some inspiration to get you started choose the type of sketchbook, binder or journal you would like to use.

journals binders

Carolina Pad Studio C Zip-it Notebook with Zipper Pouch Cover 

Pocket Leather Journal with Owl Handmade Blank Craft Paper Brown  with Gift Box 

or binder

Kate’s Paperie Binder with Set of 3 Journals, The Art of Travel 

Genuine Leather Journal Notebook Refillable with Cool Lock 6-ring Loose Leaf Binder

UniKeep Travel Binder – Ocean

I’m inspired by colors, textures, mixed media, positive quotes, photos, places, travel, sewing, fashion,jewelry, music, art, painting, movies, stories . . .

travel journal entry ideas

Ideas to get you going.

Top ten list
Bucket list
Favorite travel quotes
Favorite places
Start with a map
Start with a ticket stub
Start with a postcard
Cut out magazine photos
Start with a photo you took
Favorite thing you ate
Describe the smells
Describe the texture
Describe the taste
Most exciting
Least exciting
I’ll never do that again


Do you have a travel inspiration journal?


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Crescent Beach on Anastasia Island Florida

Crescent Beach

I found my new favorite beach and it’s called Crescent Beach located on Anastasia Island in Florida near St. Augustine.  One of the reasons I travel are the unexpected surprises.  Plan as much or as little as you like but you never really know what you might find or see.  I’ve found so many interesting places because of a small sign or just because I curious to see what was at the end of a dirt road.

Crescent Beach

On our trip to St. Augustine one of our stops was at Fort Matanzas which is located on Anastasia Island.  I had been to St. Augustine before but I hadn’t taken this particular route.  We merged onto old A1A via the beautiful little town of Palm Coast, where pretty houses are tucked away behind large moss draped trees and bright green flora.

Crescent Beach

Approaching Anastasia my eyes feasted on the lovely colors of the beach houses perched up high on the sand blocking the view of the water.  The area is known for its preserved sand dunes.  Once you get close to the bridge that crosses to Anastasia you can see miles water on either side.  It was a holiday weekend so the place was crowded with beach goers, fishermen and women and lots of boats parked on the sandbar while their passengers splashed and played in the water.  St. Augustine’s beaches are such a beautiful sight.

Crescent Beach

I really like Crescent beach because it’s shallow for miles and has super soft compacted sand.  Another special feature are the sand dunes.  They are so beautiful I just had to stop and dip my toes in the water.  This is one of the few areas where vehicles are allowed to drive unto the sand.  Be careful though, you don’t want to get stuck.

We entered Crescent Beach at the entrance which is directly across Fort Matanzas.  There are no showers or bathrooms at this beach.  You can find bathrooms across the street at the Forts visitors center.  This is one place I will revist.

Crescent Beach

Have you been to Anastasia Island?

Have you fallen in love with a beach?


“Let us accept truth, even when it surprises us and alters our views.” George Sand

“I was surprised, as always, be how easy the act of leaving was, and how good it felt. The world was suddenly rich with possibility.” Jack Kerouac (On the Road)

“Life takes us by surprise and orders us to move toward the unknown -even when we don’t want to and when we think we don’t need to.” Paulo Coelho

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Visiting Florida Keys Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center

Florida Keys Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center

The Florida Keys Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center is a great place to stop and stretch your legs.  Located in a beautiful setting in Key Largo beside the gorgeous Florida Bay is a maze of boardwalks taking you past an incredible amount of bird species.

What is it?

It’s not a zoo or a theme park but a bird rehabilitation center dedicated to rescuing and rehabilitating ill, injured or orphaned birds with the goal of releasing them.  The birds at the center are either recuperating or unable to survive in the wild.

The Florida Keys Wild Bird Center is a charitable organization and relies on donations to keep the Wildlife Hospital running and all the associated expenses of caring for the birds.

Things to do.

Take a self guided tour along boardwalks and nature trails for a close up look at a variety of bird species like hawks, ospreys, spoonbills, owls, egrets, etc.  On the day I went they even had an adorable little hummingbird.  You never know what you might see.  The employees are very knowledgeable and happy to answer any questions.

The resident birds live in spacious creative screened enclosures but you will see free birds like pelicans and egrets hanging around as well.

Florida Keys Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center

At the end of the boardwalk you will find an amazing nature trail along a wetlands area with some of the most beautiful views of the bay.  There are even places for you to sit.  It’s the perfect spot for photography lovers.

Florida Keys Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center

The center is free to visit but you are welcome to make a donation.  You will really want to do so if you get the opportunity to visit.

Helpful Travel Tip

The best time to go is early morning.  There is a pond off the bay where you can photograph wild birds coming to feed.  Morning is also the best lighting for your photographs.  I went around four pm and had to deal with very harsh bright lighting.

Helpful Travel Tip

You cannot see the place from the road.  A medium sign directing you to the place is all you will see.  Drive down to the end of the road to reach your destination.

 Florida Keys Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center

Have you been here yet?  What did you see on your visit?

Can you tell from the photos I absolutely fell in love with the bay?


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Amazing Spot for Photo Ops Blowing Rocks Jupiter, Florida

Blowing Rocks, Jupiter, Florida

Florida is a huge state with two spectacular coasts donning some of America’s most beautiful beaches.  On one of my many road trips I discovered an amazing spot perfect for photo ops.  The place is called Blowing Rocks Preserve.  I found it because the town it’s in has a wacky name so of course I wanted to explore it.  The town is called Jupiter and located in Palm Beach County Florida.

Blowing Rocks Preserve was named for the rocky Anastasia limestone shoreline.  This one mile stretch is special because most of it is either underground or underwater.  It’s one of Florida’s rarest surviving landscapes.  There is a dune habitat with beach sunflowers, bay cedar, sea grapes and sea oats.

During the summer months the beaches provide important nesting habitats for endangered sea turtles.  The sea turtles and the nests are protected by federal, state and local laws to prevent extinction.  Do not touch them or their nests.

On the day I was there a rain shower passed through causing giant splashes as the Atlantic Ocean slammed into the hard rocky surface.  Don’t be afraid to get wet.  It’s a really fun sight to see and makes for some wonderful photos.

Blowing Rocks Jupiter, Florida

Blowing Rocks Jupiter, Florida

Blowing Rocks Jupiter, Florida

While researching I found it turns out that a bunch of famous people have homes in Jupiter, Florida.  Burt Renolds, Tiger Woods, Celine Dion, Tori Amos, Michael Jordan, Dara Torres and Camilo Vargas just to name a few.  If you’re interested in history the Town of Jupiter has a website with a timeline dating back to prehistoric times when the Tequesta lived there.

Blowing Rocks, Jupiter, Florida

I recommend this spot whether you just have a few free minutes or an afternoon to spare.

Have you been to Blowing Rocks or Jupiter?


“For me, the camera is a sketch book, an instrument of intuition and spontaneity.” Henri Cartier-Bresson

“When people look at my pictures I want them to feel the way they do when they want to read a line of a poem twice.”  Robert Frank

“A great photograph is a full expression of what one feels about what is being photographed in the deepest sense and is thereby a true expression of what one feels about life in its entirety.”  Ansel Adams


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Travel: Doors of Savannah’s Historic District

Doors of Savannah's Historic District

I visited Savannah last year and not only do I have wonderful memories but I also have a ton of photos.  One of my photo projects was to focus on the doors and windows of the beautiful historical homes.  Most are well kept and in great condition.  I was enchanted with the architecture of Savannah’s Historic District.  There was so much to look at.  So many little details, I just wanted to eat them all up.  I walked up and down the streets for hours under the canopy created by rows of ancient live oak trees draped in Spanish moss.  I felt I was in another world and my imagination ran wild.  It was early so I had the streets mainly to myself except the incredibly loud sounds of cicadas was a constant reminder I was not alone.

Doors of Savannah's Historic District

The houses and public buildings are arranged around a series of public squares.  These squares are actually tiny little well kept parks.  The perfect place to sit and rest.  The town plan was created 1733 by Gen. James E. Oglethorpe, founder of the British colony of Georgia.  Now that’s old.  It really makes you appreciate what a fine job the city does of maintaining and preserving its history.

 Doors of Savannah's Historic District

It’s a wonderful place to enjoy architecture.  The homes are representation of eighteenth and nineteenth century architecture in a variety of styles including Federal, Georgian, Gothic Revival, Greek Revival, Italianate, Regency, Victorian, Colonial and more.  The section of quaint Victorian houses were so pretty you can’t help but be reminded of the gingerbread house.

 Doors of Savannah's Historic District

Among the historic homes that have been preserved are: the Pink House, the Sorrel Weed House, Juliette Gordon Low’s birthplace, the Green-Meldrim House, the Owens-Thomas House, theWilliam Scarbrough House, and the Wormsloe plantation of Noble Jones. The Mercer-Williams House, the former home of Jim Williams, is the main location of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.  Savannah’s historic district is actually is the largest registered urban National Historic Landmark district in the United States.

 Doors of Savannah's Historic District

If you are visiting Savannah Georgia I recommend you make some time for a leisurely stroll to the Historic district.  It’s truly a feast for the eyes ya’ll.

 Doors of Savannah's Historic District

Have you been to Savannah?  What’s your favorite place there?



“When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.” Helen Keller

“Not knowing when the dawn will come, I open every door.” Emily Dickinson

“Don’t spend time beating on a wall, hoping to transform it into a door. ” Coco Chanel


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Key Largo Road Trip: Things I Found at the End of the Road

Key Largo Florida


Every so often I get the urge to get in the car in search of new adventures.  I recently set off on another road trip, this time determined to find roads which ended at the ocean.  It’s not too difficult a challenge to accomplish in Florida but it can be a bit tricky.  After discovering a road I’ve never traversed on a map we headed to Key Largo.  Card Sound Road is smack in the middle of protected lands and Florida State Parks which go on peacefully for miles upon unhampered miles.  There’s nothing out there except nature and a sprinkle of people canoeing alongside crocodiles in canals or quietly tossing fishing lines off bridges.  It is the perfect place for these types of activity.

Needing to stretch our legs one of our stops was at Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park where we ended up participating in our very first Geo Caching.  Geocaching is a real world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS enabled devices or an app you can download to your iphone. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location.  You sign the log, include whatever you’ve taken and left then share with others.

For more info check out the website    Have you tried geocaching?

We had a blast searching for treasure and leaving behind a little something but had yet to accomplish our original mission.  Continuing on our journey we traveled down many streets until finding the perfect dead end road leading us to the shore of the Atlantic.

Key Largo Florida

What I found at the end of the road.

The end of the road separated from me from my routine and the excesses of city life.  The excess of people, manmade structures, noise pollution and constant rushing about.  It was not quiet nor absent of movement yet very peaceful.  I allowed myself to open up to receive what my spirit needed.

The first thing to hit me was the wind.  The air was salty and humid but it felt cleansing.  Closing my eyes I breathed it as deeply as I could.  This wind did not carry city sounds, only the loveliest of bird calls, beautiful sounds I hadn’t heard before.  My next realization, was there is no real end of the road.  Nothing truly ends.  There was plenty of life happening all around me.  There are no sandy beaches in the Florida Keys just lots of shells, rocks and wildlife.  Birds and fish preferring the deeper waters a few yards from me.  Not intimidated by my presence crabs, shrimp and snails crawled near my toes in clear shallow water.  One little fella even tried to hitch a ride on my leg.

Metaphorically what I found was the removal of boundaries.  We tend to walk around collecting imaginary boundaries and imposing limits on ourselves without analyzing why.  The moment you stop limiting yourself, you are opening yourself up to new perspectives and greater possibilities   Life has and will find a way to continue on as I witnessed at the end of the road.  Tossing out limitations will allow us to achieve ever greater things we have yet to imagine.


Key Largo Florida



“I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can only rest for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not ended.”   Nelson Mandela


“This life therefore is not righteousness, but growth in righteousness, not health, but healing, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise. We are not yet what we shall be, but we are growing toward it, the process is not yet finished, but it is going on, this is not the end, but it is the road. All does not yet gleam in glory, but all is being purified.”  Martin Luther


“Change: A bend in the road is not the end of the road…Unless you fail to make the turn. ”   Helen Keller


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Every turn is a New Opportunity

San Juan Puerto Rico 2008
“Take wrong turns. Talk to strangers. Open unmarked doors. And if you see a group of people in a field, go find out what they are doing. Do things without always knowing how they’ll turn out. You’re curious and smart and bored, and all you see is the choice between working hard and slacking off. There are so many adventures that you miss because you’re waiting to think of a plan. To find them, look for tiny interesting choices. And remember that you are always making up the future as you go.” Randall Munroe

La Puerta de San Juan Puerto Rico 2008

“The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same. Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination.” Don Williams, Jr.

La Puerta de San Juan Puerto Rico 2008
“The world turns aside to let any man pass who knows where he is going.” Epictetus

“A wise man turns chance into good fortune.” Thomas Fuller

“Fiction is a piece of truth that turns lies to meaning.” Dorothy Allison


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Favorite Places ~ Old San Juan Puerto Rico

“You can fall in love at first sight with a place as with a person.” Alec Waugh
Old San Juan Puerto Rico Sunny Day 2008

My favorite place on the planet is Old San Juan Puerto Rico.  I never tire of walking street after street. Each visit holds new surprises. If you end up walking with me you’re in trouble because I can walk forever.

I love the off balance sensation of stepping on gray worn cobblestone laid centuries before.  I love the mystery of following unplanned paths that will eventually lead me to the deep blue oceans edge.  There is no wrong way.  There is no getting lost. Taking the challenging uphill walkway past a music school I saunter to the pace of bomba which will transform to salsa, reggaeton or merengue as I continue onward.  At the top of Calle Cristo my eyes are greeted with an explosion of colors. On every facade is a festival for the eyes in a pattern eluding repetition.  My eyes feasting on colors like candies; pilon lollipops  pasta de guayaba, coco-pina, miel con almendra, ajonjoli, limber de parcha, papaya-lechoza and crema de coco.



Old San Juan Puerto Rico – rainy day 2008

Seeking relief from the sun or natures other elements the museums, art galleries and studios became my playground   Shops and boutiques display cultural treasures; local handmade arts and crafts. Admiring and appreciating every piece made on this island fills my soul with inspiration.  I feel a camaraderie with these artists. The commonality of artistic qualities and roots to the island is very comforting. I am less lonely knowing there are others like me.

I feel connected to this place with every swirling sound, graced texture, dancing vision and pleasing aroma.  I feel connected by family, by blood by DNA from the ends of my long curly black hair to the tippy tips of my aura. Every cell of my being has been switched ON to happy.


La Fortaleza – Palacio de Santa Catalina Puerto Rico – rainy day 2008


I get that sensation each time I visit my favorite place.

“How hard it is to escape from places. However carefully one goes they hold you – you leave little bits of yourself fluttering on the fences – like rags and shreds of your very life.” Katherine Mansfield

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Rainy Photographs of Puerto Rico

“Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet.” Roger Miller
Capilla del Cristo Old San Juan Puerto Rico 2008

I love pictures of the rain, rainy days, rain washed settings . . .
The clouds conceal the light leaving it’s affects on how color is perceived.
Dark clouds stir emotions like a warning of something coming inciting the feeling of needing protection.

Old San Juan Puerto Rico 2008

I love rain water reflections. Precious diamond moments when we see ourselves projected outside of our bodies. Reminding us that we are here. We are alive. Ceaselessly taking part in the endless chain of being affected and affecting the universe.

Santa María Magdalena de Pazzis Cemetery Old San Juan Puerto Rico 2008
“The wind shows us how close to the edge we are.” Joan Didion
“Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby.” Langston Hughes

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