Now that summer is here, it’s a wonderful time to relax and reflect. If you’ve got a summer vacation planned, in addition to packing up your beach towel and summer reading, consider also packing a journal.

Journaling is an excellent habit to incorporate into daily life. Vacation gives you ample time to dive deep into your thoughts and emotions, unfiltered and without daily obligations tugging at your sleeve.

Use this time to look back, to open up to yourself and your life authentically, so that when you return to “the real world,” you can move forward with purpose and clarity.

I’ve written about the many benefits of journaling in the past, but even those who incorporate journaling as a daily practice can sometimes get stuck when it comes to what to write about. To help jumpstart your brain as you put pen to paper, I’ve created a list of journaling subjects that can help you when your thoughts become blocked.

7 Writing Prompts for Summer Vacation Journaling

  1. Write an essay comparing who you thought you would be at this time in your life in relation to who you are.
  2. Compare your vacation setting to your regular daily life setting. What do you enjoy about each? What is it about your vacation setting that you would like to bring back (whether a physical item, decoration or general sense of atmosphere) to your daily life?
  3. Write about your relationship with your partner, unfiltered.
  4. Write a letter to your soul focusing on what is meaningful in your life and what you hope to accomplish in the future. Additionally, write a letter to your professional persona from your off-the-clock, vacation self: include praise, but also honest criticism of the professional life you lead. Does this work feed your soul or just your wallet? What can your vacation self suggest to your personal self to incorporate more fulfillment into each day?
  5. Write about a teacher or mentor you have had in your life, and note what it is about them that is important to your life and what you have in common.
  6. Write about your parents, and how they handled challenges in life. See if you can find a connection between the way they handled challenges and the way you do, and how they have influenced you.
  7. Write about what you see before you, at that very moment you are putting pen to paper. Describe the scene in detail, how it makes you feel, the emotions your setting stirs within you.

Each of these prompts are meant to not only help you get started writing about something, anything; these prompts are meant to also help you reach down deep and journal with reflection and purpose. Ask yourself the hard questions, and challenge yourself to answer with full honesty. It is at this time, when you can fully use your journal as a tool to help you become the best you that you can be.


  • Dr. Gail Gross

    Author and Parenting, Relationships, and Human Behavior Expert

    Dr. Gail Gross, Ph.D., Ed.D., M.Ed., a member of the American Psychological Association (APA) and member of APA Division 39, is a nationally recognized family, child development, and human behavior expert, author, and educator. Her positive and integrative approach to difficult issues helps families navigate today’s complex problems. Dr. Gross is frequently called upon by national and regional media to offer her insight on topics involving family relationships, education, behavior, and development issues. A dependable authority, Dr. Gross has contributed to broadcast, print and online media including CNN, the Today Show, CNBC's The Doctors, Hollywood Reporter, FOX radio, FOX’s The O’Reilly Factor, MSNBC, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Times of India, People magazine, Parents magazine, Scholastic Parent and Child Magazine, USA Today, Univision, ABC, CBS, and KHOU's Great Day Houston Show. She is a veteran radio talk show host as well as the host of the nationally syndicated PBS program, “Let’s Talk.” Also, Dr. Gross has written a semi-weekly blog for The Huffington Post and has blogged at since 2013. Recently, Houston Women's Magazine named her One of Houston's Most Influential Women of 2016. Dr. Gross is a longtime leader in finding solutions to the nation’s toughest education challenges. She co-founded the first-of-its kind Cuney Home School with her husband Jenard, in partnership with Texas Southern University. The school serves as a national model for improving the academic performance of students from housing projects by engaging the parents. Dr. Gross also has a public school elementary and secondary campus in Texas that has been named for her. Additionally, she recently completed leading a landmark, year-long study in the Houston Independent School District to examine how stress-reduction affects academics, attendance, and bullying in elementary school students, and a second study on stress and its effects on learning. Such work has earned her accolades from distinguished leaders such as the Dalai Lama, who presented her with the first Spirit of Freedom award in 1998. More recently, she was honored in 2013 with the Jung Institute award. She also received the Good Heart Humanitarian Award from Jewish Women International, Perth Amboy High School Hall of Fame Award, the Great Texan of the Year Award, the Houston Best Dressed Hall of Fame Award, Trailblazer Award, Get Real New York City Convention's 2014 Blogging Award, and Woman of Influence Award. Dr. Gross’ book, The Only Way Out Is Through, is available on Amazon now and offers strategies for life’s transitions including coping with loss, drawing from dealing with the death of her own daughter. Her next book, How to Build Your Baby’s Brain, is also available on Amazon now and teaches parents how to enhance their child’s learning potential by understanding and recognizing their various development stages. And her first research book was published by Random House in 1987 on health and skin care titled Beautiful Skin. Dr. Gross has created 8 audio tapes on relaxation and stress reduction that can be purchased on Most recently, Dr. Gross’s book, The Only Way Out is Through, was named a Next Generation Indie Book Awards Silver Medal finalist in 2020 and Winner of the 2021 Independent Press Awards in the categories of Death & Dying as well as Grief. Her latest book, How to Build Your Baby’s Brain, was the National Parenting Product Awards winner in 2019, the Nautilus Book Awards winner in 2019, ranked the No. 1 Best New Parenting Book in 2019 and listed among the Top 10 Parenting Books to Read in 2020 by BookAuthority, as well as the Next Generation Indie Book Awards Gold Medal winner in 2020 and Winner of the 2021 Independent Press Awards in the category of How-To. Dr. Gross received a BS in Education and an Ed.D. (Doctorate of Education) with a specialty in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Houston. She earned her Master’s degree in Secondary Education with a focus on Psychology from the University of St. Thomas in Houston. Dr. Gross received her second PhD in Psychology, with a concentration in Jungian studies. Dr. Gross was the recipient of Kappa Delta Pi An International Honor Society in Education. Dr. Gross was elected member of the International English Honor Society Sigma Tau Delta.