Journaling in Public: How to Protect Your Privacy

I am writing this post in my notebook at the breakfast table, in a busy restaurant of our hotel in Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife. It came about from the conversation I just had with my husband about journaling in public.

He doesn’t do it, because he feels uncomfortable and concerned that other people may read it.

I carry my journal everywhere – travel journal when I am abroad, and regular journal at home – and write in all sorts of places. On the bus, train, plane. In the restaurants,bus stops, waiting for people or things. In the hotel lobby, by the sea, in the park. Whenever possible, I write in my journal as soon as I think of something to write, because putting it off until later loses the sense of urgency. Late, the same topic may not feel worthwhile writing about.

I am concerned about privacy too. I have no desire to share my personal entries with general public. I ensure my privacy using few easy safeguards, which allows me to journal just about anywhere without stressing out over who is looking over my shoulder.

How to Protect Your Privacy while Journaling in Public

Be aware of your surrounding.

Who is sitting around you? How far are they? What are they doing? Most people are far too preoccupied with what they are doing to care about what you are doing. It also depends on where you are. If you are in a library or a café, people are less likely to take notice of you, then if you are journaling at a motorbike show.

Pick a good position.

Try to find a seating position with your back against the wall so you can see if someone’s coming towards you. Pick a corner table. Sit by a pillar or something that provides a ready-made barrier. Think about what you can see from the position, and who can see you.

Use Your Body

If you are writing with your journal on your lap, shield it with your body so that person behind you can’t see it. Remember school exams when half the class would sit with their arm draped over the top of their paper so that no one would copy their brilliant insights? You can now use that so that no one can read your brilliant insights. :-)

Use Your Journal

Use one half of the journal to shield the other half. If you are writing on the right page, keep the left half of your journal upright.


None of these are amazing discoveries. These tips are obvious when you think about it, and they may even sound inconvenient. You may think that not journaling in public is easier than faffing around with shielding your journal, or picking just the right position. It may feel that way in the beginning, but once you get used to journaling in public and feel the rewards (no time to journal at home? Do it while you wait for the train) these little things become second nature.

Whenever you do feel uncomfortable because there is particular nosey person around, then just stop. When some idiot makes a point of standing right next to my seat on the bus, I just close my journal and wait for them to go away. Don’t worry about coming across secretive. You don’t know these people, and even if you do, it’s your journal and you can be as secretive as you want with it.


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Ask the Readers: Do You Keep A Travel Journal?

As I am currently on vacation (in theory) and scribbling in my travel journal, I wondered where all of you Kaizen Warriors stand on travel journaling.

Travel journal is different from a regular journal. Usually, when you travel, you are immersed in new experiences. Whether it’s first time in a new place, different language, different culture, meeting strangers, trying new food, or simply sightseeing – you are usually doing things you don’t do at home.

The newness of these experiences means that you are sometimes feeling it all at a super-speed and have no time to process anything. Journaling can give you time and space for that. Though often, after you have experienced a whole day of amazing newness, you may just want to go back to the hotel and collapse on the bed. Some of my best travel memories have been the hardest to write about for that very reason.

In a regular journal, you may write about your day or you may write about your thoughts – all of which you still do in a travel journal – but because you are in a new place, in your travel journal, you also need to put emphasis on the setting. Unless you are a particular descriptive writer, chances are you don’t do that in your daily journal. I certainly don’t. Getting used to doing it in a travel journal may require deliberate practice, but the result is rewarding and gives you a better keepsake than any souvenir money can buy.


Have you ever kept a travel journal? Do you intend to keep one? Do you want to keep one but don’t know where to start? Share your answer in the comments below, and if you have some experience (successful or not) tell me all about it.



Do You Aspire To Mediocrity?


One of the most common, and in my opinion, a major failing in our society is a tendency to measure everyone by the same standards.

School measure kids against standard results. Companies measure employee against standard processes and standard performance. Even some parents measure their children against the society standards for good behaviour and achievement.

Everyone is attempting to standardise what is inherently non-standard.


We are individuals. We are unique. We are shaped by our own distinct circumstances. Yet, what most of us aspire to or are taught to aspire to is to fit the standard mould.

Standards are created based on average of any given thing. Standard performance is average performance. Standard behaviour is average behaviour. Standard process is an average process. Standard is one size fits all.

When you aspire to meeting the standard, you aspire to be mediocre.

Ironically, that’s where the competition is, because along with you, millions of other people are also striving for that same mediocrity.

All that hard work, all the struggles and fears and insecurities to achieve…mediocrity.

That’s just sad.

But how can you be sure that you are aspiring to mediocrity? After all, no one starts out saying they want to grow up to be average. How can you gain that awareness?

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What is your why?

This is the key starting point. No task, no work, no goal is unimportant if done for the right reasons. Someone has to clean the streets. Someone has to do the taxes. Someone has to defend the nation. Mediocrity does not come from what you do. It comes from why you do it. Gain a clear understanding of your reasons for wanting the things you want, and you will have a clear understanding of the values that drive you.

Are you following your goals or someone else’s?

Standard goals are almost always inherited.

Sometimes, they are inherited from families. Your father wanted to be a doctor, but he couldn’t because his family couldn’t afford it, so now he’s worked all his life and passed on the dream of becoming a doctor to you.

Sometimes, they are inherited from the society. Society says a sign of being successful is that you have a nice house, a nice car, and a beautiful family to show off. You get a job that provides all these things, even if it makes you miserable, and you are so stressed out that you don’t have the time to enjoy that nice house, nice car or the beautiful family. But you believe that’s how the real world works.

Do you believe wholeheartedly in what you are trying to achieve? Does it fire you up?

When you are pursuing a purpose that means something to you, you are driven by inner fire. There will be bad days when you doubt everything, including yourself, but on the whole you don’t lose confidence in what you want to achieve. You know in your heart that it’s the right course of action for you, and you are not going to give up on this goal no matter how difficult the journey, and no matter how many obstacles you face.

Does it make you want to work?

It’s so easy to be lazy. Just to sit there and watch tv, or keep chatting to friends. There is nothing wrong with it. In fact, from time to time we need it. But when you have a purpose where you have a clear why, and it’s something you believe in, you want to work on it. Perhaps not every moment, or even every day. But you want to make progress. You want to do something about it. And when you don’t, you feel guilty. You feel guilty because you know it’s important, yet you didn’t give it enough time.  


Are these four reasons the be-all and end-all of mediocrity?

Of course not. To reiterate, every individual is unique and therefore we react to same circumstances in different ways. For each of us, mediocrity would mean different things, as would making our own mark.

The purpose of this post is to make you think about your aspirations. It is to propel you to reflect on what you want, why you want it, and if you are going about achieving it in a way that is authentic to you.



Review all of the four above points. Do any of them ring a bell? Journal about whether each of those points are true for you or not, and how do you feel about it? Based on your new reflections, would you like to make any changes in your situation?


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Ending A Journal

 Ending a journal is practically a ritual for me. For the most part, I like to reflect on the journey I’ve been on during the course of that journal.A part of my life resides between the pages of each journal, a part of my soul even.

Not all pages are full of insight or wisdom. Many include pointless chatter, rants, or endless lists of goals. But each of those pages contain a part of me.By the time I get to the end, in the last few pages I pick up things I’ve learned along the way, as well a the things I need to focus or reflect on.

Usually, I don’t need to return to old entries. My subconscious automatically picks up on things recorded between those particular dates. I end the journal with my impression of how I’ve done so far – usually a three months period, what things I’ve become stuck on and made little or no progress, what went well.

Now and again, I also end up writing a poem or copying suitable quotes that reflect a particular journal’s ending.Journaling is a form of art. It’s a creative process, and whenever you create something, you become attached to it.

Therefore, finishing a journal is much like finishing a creative project. There is a sense of accomplishment, but also little bit of sadness. But then, you move on to creating a next piece of art and it’s a same journey with new hopes, all over again.

What about you? How do you feel about ending journals?


Reflect in your journal about how you can set up a routine that would allow you to end your journals with some kind of review of what’s happened during the course of that journal.



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Are You Honest In Your Journal?

Journals are private. Everyone knows – even if they put conscience aside – that no one should read someone else’s private journal without permission. We have this social courtesy embedded in us because we believe that a private journal includes someone’s innermost thoughts.

The question is, how much of a person’s true self is placed in their journals?

This question doesn’t require an answer, as much as it requires reflection.

My early journals were more of a recording of day-to-day events, and outbursts of feelings, usually negative. But just writing about how you love someone or hate someone or are upset with someone, doesn’t mean you are sharing your self in those pages.

Subconsciously, I censored what I wrote. Not in everything. But in great many things. I realise that in hindsight. Things that seemed too horrible to write, things that made me feel guilty for thinking them, I did not write them. 

Since I started making more conscious effort to search for self through journaling, things changed. I decided that if a journal was to be a place for my private thoughts, then it must have all of me – good and bad. 

If I were to go deeper in my mind, attempting to unravel the puzzle of my own personality, then I had to understand all aspects of my personality. It’s been a long and gradual process. But now the rule is this:

As soon as I question whether I should write something down. I do. 

If it makes me hesitate whether it should be in my journal, then it should.

No matter what your reasons are for keeping a journal, unless you do it with complete honesty, it’s not completely effective.

If you keep it for yourself, for memories, for therapy – what good are those things if they don’t show you the truth? 

If you keep it as a legacy to your descendants – it would be travesty to give them an incomplete picture, because by doing so you are creating a fake history. You are lying not only to yourself, but to the future.

Honesty is the essence of journaling. If you can’t be honest in your journal, you can’t be authentic as a person. Without authenticity, you will never have the contentment of being happy with who you are, and being successful on your own terms. 



Answer this question honestly – how honest are you in your journal?

What effort will you make to be more honest? 


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