Mnemonics Course (Part 6) – The Journey Method

I’m really excited to share this strategy with you! It’s really great for expanding your short-term memory!

You can use it to memorize (among others):

  • presentations
  • shopping lists
  • vocabulary
  • anatomy
  • deck of cards
  • dynasties
  • people’s names at parties
  • telephone numbers


I’ve even heard about some guy who used it to memorize a hefty dictionary (about 30k entries). Let’s shed some light on it then, shall we?


The Journey Method

The basic principle of the journey method is to imagine a journey and place items you want to remember along the way.
Choose a route which you are very familiar with and which has a certain number of distinctive objects.

I want to stress this part – the objects (or places) should be really distinctive.
Otherwise, you won’t remember your associations.

Then imagine the things you want to remember at each of those locations, associating one item at each location. Use the rules for creating images (part 2 of the course) so that the images are easy to remember.

Choose 20-30 distinctive places for starters and as you mentally travel along the route, recall the information you’ve stored there. Another piece of advice is not to make the route too long as it may become too difficult to remember all the distinctive objects along the way.

If you want to memorize, say, over 100 words, you can use 2-3 routes.
It’s usually a better choice than 1 really long route.

The journey method is also called the method of loci.
I tend to differentiate these two as the method of loci (for me) takes place inside, whereas the journey method happens outside.

It’s actually a great idea to mix these two.
You can start a journey at your flat and then take it outside.

It’s like a mental stroll. But one of the greatest things about this method is that you can review all the pieces of information which you stored whenever you want. In the line, at the post office, etc.

It definitely helps to make better use of our time.


Task For You

Here is a list of 31 objects. Memorize them using the journey method.

Nightingale, television, scissors, love, action, printer, notebook, helmet, worker, tie, attraction, event, management, emotion, fuel, binder, cucumber, minister, moving, contract, row, resentment, practice, autumn, brawl, toast, coach, crumbs, scar, ant, tank.


As always have fun and talk to you tomorrow in the last part of the course!

Bartosz Czekala


  • A good way to help making the journey more clear is to draw a plant/map of a view from above with simple lines (called “croqui” – in Portuguese) , and with numbers for each room/space/area.

    And with the map drawn is pretty quick to refresh those memories by an instant glance at it.

    I used a map of Severin Manor (my character’s house in Raven Rock – from the game Skyrim) to memorize Japanese words and now I can’t forget them, everytime I visit the place in game or think about it the words pop in my face like an ad LOL.

  • Donatas Pekelis

    I have to memorize 1000s of words. Where do I find so many locations for each meaning of a word?

    • Bartosz Czekala

      Well, that’s a tough part. You use all the locations that come to your mind – home, your parent’s home, different locations around your city, etc. You can even use artificial locations like the ones from TV series. But yeah, it’s getting complicated with too many words.

  • Would this be useful for memorizing vocabulary that i wont have to remember in order, to practice a group of words at once?

  • Is there any reason why mnemonic is not taught in schools as subject?

  • Hey there! Hope you are enjoying your summer time, many thanks for the pragmatic mnemonic tricks, those are interesting, however, I need to memorize some technical words(terminologies), I am wondering if you can help me with remembering them readily in terms of the specific mnemonic? Best, Mary

    • Bartosz Czekala

      I do, thank you and you’re welcome! 🙂 I’ve sent you an e-mail regarding your question! 🙂

  • Eli Ben-Joseph

    I found Method 5 quite thorough. I was able to recall the meaning of 10 out 10 abstract words when I saw them in the foreign language I am studying. Also, I was able to recall nine out ten of these words in the foreign language when seeing the English for these words.

  • This actually seems like a good way to study for tests and quizzes. This way you can use otherwise wasted transit time. I like it.

  • Will this method work for learning Chinese words?

    • As far as I am concerned – yes. I have never learnt Chinese but I know there are a lot of people who use this method to learn it.

  • Good idea! I will try! Iwant to ask: if a journey outside is short, which object should it be there – tree, lake or building…, but they are not so special…

    • Theoretically, all the objects in the Journey Method should be very specific. Although, if a journey is short, you can try to pay more attention to ordinary objects thus making them specific!

  • Love it

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