When we travel to a special place, we want to remember everything about the trip. After we return home, however, the memories start to fade. We ask ourselves – What was the name of that restaurant? Where did we see that special piece of artwork?
It is helpful to have some sort of documentation to help spur your memory. You might use souvenirs, pictures, or some type of journal. Here are the benefits of each:
I have some wonderful souvenirs of places I’ve been. The problem is that since I didn’t write down exactly where I purchased the items, I don’t remember the precise place. Several years ago, I purchased a beautiful plate in Mexico – I just spent several minutes looking at maps and pictures to be able to figure out that it was purchased in Cozumel.
Being this exact may not be important to you, but if it is, your souvenirs should be labeled with the date and location of purchase. You could also catalog your souvenirs by taking pictures and placing them in an album with the pertinent information.
Your memory may be better than mine, or it may be enough for you just to know what country the item came from. The souvenir itself can bring back memories of the trip.
Pictures are a great way to bring back memories, but as with souvenirs, if they are not labeled, it can be hard to identify the details years later. There are several ways to label pictures, but not all of them are ideal.
Many professional photographers carry a notebook along while they are photographing so they can write down the subject of each picture and important conditions or camera settings. Amateur photographers can follow this lead and write some notes about the subjects as they go along.
One of the worst ways to label pictures is to write on the back of it with a ball point pen. Not only can the pressure poke through to the front, but the ink itself may contain acid that will in time damage the photograph.
Scrapbooking can be an enjoyable way to save pictures and memories. Printed pictures should be placed in acid-free albums, using paper and materials that are also acid-free. Adding titles and journaling next to the photos will help keep your memories alive.
Digital scrapbooking has become popular in recent years. You can design a scrapbook on a website and then print it or save it for viewing on a computer. Smilebox, Mixbook and Shutterfly are three popular websites for digital scrapbooking.
There are several ways to journal in addition to writing in a scrapbook. Recording the events of your trip is best done while you are traveling. Each night write notes about the day. In addition to telling what happened, write your thoughts and impressions about what you saw.
Before your trip, buy a pretty journal and a couple of your favorite writing instruments – make your journaling pleasant. If your writing begins to feel like a chore, you can write less, but continue to write. You will appreciate it later.
A fun way to do journal type writing is to use a postcard. For each place you visit, purchase a postcard and write on the back. You can mail the postcards home, or just bring them back in your luggage.
There are also web-based journaling apps that can be used if you have access to wifi while you are traveling. One that I’ve used several times is Travelpod*. As I record my travels, the app asks me to record where I am and then builds a map so others can follow my journey. After it is set up, the app can send email notifications to my friends whenever I post an entry. The app is free and easy to use.
*Travelpod is no longer available, but I now use TravelArk – a very similar program.
What do I Record?
Whether you choose to record your travels with pictures and notes or full-fledged journaling, you can record anything you want.
- What is the weather like?
- Where did you stay? Would you stay there again?
- What and where did you eat? How much did it cost?
- What activities did you participate in?
- What special places did you see? Tell all about them.
- Did you do any shopping?
- What are your impressions of the local citizens?
- What do you find is most special about the place you are visiting?
- What would you tell your children, parents, friends about your trip?
These are just a few suggestions to get you started. As you start journaling, you will develop your own style.
There are many projects or activities that can help us remember our travels. I’ve written more on the subject in Scrapbooking, Souvenirs, and Shopping for Yarn. The most helpful way, though, is to write. Write notes, sentences, paragraphs, or pages and pages.
What do you do to help remember your trip? Write a comment below.