Over time, the most important aspects of a trip may change substantially, so it’s great to return to your previous trip notes and add newfound insights or meaning.
I call this **progressive journaling**.
For instance, in January 2020, I did a five-day road trip with my dad to Death Valley National Park. It was a fun trip, and what I captured about the trip at the time reinforces that. Much of my journaling focused on the realization that he wouldn't be able to do the longer international trip that we were considering for later that year.
While it was special to do a trip with my dad, it didn't feel *particularly special* until a few weeks later when we realized that the important parts of the trip weren’t the ones we had captured at all. That's because we had naturally focused on the moment, but we needed more context to capture the larger meaning—that it was likely the last trip I would ever take with my dad, who had experienced a sudden health decline just two weeks later. Suddenly, the big takeaway wasn't focused on his decline.
Instead, it was many *other* moments—maybe not ones that felt special at the time, but did now—that seemed like the highlights we'd cherish in the future. The way he turned one joke into a running punchline. How he wanted so much for us to have fun, even though he was struggling. The insights he had on why he was enjoying himself. Many of these didn't seem especially important at the time—because they weren't, given the context. But that context had now changed.
Progressive journaling is a way to ensure that you continue to capture the parts of the trip that are the most meaningful—even when those moments (or the context in which they happen), shift and change.
Progressing journaling is like rethinking and updating your thoughts as time passes. But it also helps you go deeper, just as rewriting helps you improve a piece of writing—and often, to further deepen or refine your own understanding of the idea.
In a weird way, progressing journaling is a bit like [[Type 2 fun]], in that the meaning and experience of it changes with time and distance.
## When should you do this?
Opportunistically, whenever you [[§ 1.5 - Remember|review the trip journal]] and new ideas strike.[^1] That's the key. You're already reviewing the trip; if you have additional thoughts to include, that's the time to do it. It's a simple, efficient, and reasonable way to add additional value to your journal.
Because your [[Remembering system]] likely prioritizes important trips over less meaningful ones, this habit of "opportunistic reflection" naturally follows the same frequency.
And because you're adding these new thoughts and insights to a trip journal that you'll continue to revisit in the future, you can think of these small additions as adding *compounding value* to those future-remembering moments.
After major progressive journaling insights, you may want to review your photos to ensure that now-important photos are included in your photo management system.
A similar—but different—concept is that of [[Re-journaling]].
[^1]: This is a similar concept to Tiago Forte's [Progressive Summarization technique](https://fortelabs.co/blog/progressive-summarization-a-practical-technique-for-designing-discoverable-notes/), which he intends as a way of designing discoverable notes in a knowledge management system. I tend to think about this idea a bit differently, though. For me, the big takeaway isn't discoverability, but a reasonable process for actively improving notes over time. He calls it "opportunistic compression," but in the context I'm describing above, it would be better termed as "opportunistic reflection."