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When you travel, you get to experience a whole wide world of new things. This is your chance to get to know new people, learn about different cultures and see things you couldn’t find anywhere else. Whether you are going on a single trip for a week or two with friends or you are embarking on a solo trip to discover the world, taking the time to stop and reflect on your time away is really important.
Documenting your time travelling is a great way to reflect on what you have learnt and to create an account you can look back on in later years. For some people, this documentation is about curating special memories for personal use but plenty of others are happy to share online or in print. In fact, as you should have noticed simply by being here, many people love to share their experiences through blogs and other media.
Even if you aren’t particularly nostalgic and you have an incredible memory, documenting your time away gives you a space in which to take in your learning. All art forms are about understanding context and perspective but they are also about finding the beauty in the world. While you travel, you will certainly find new beauties and it would be a real shame to lose that experience to the dark depths of your memory.
Here’s how to keep it fresh.
To take great photos, all you need is a smartphone these days. This is ideal if you are backpacking and need to travel light but also helps if you are blogging as you go as you can upload pictures instantly. Learning to tell a story with the pictures you take does take a practised eye but travelling will give you plenty of opportunities to hone your technique.
Instagram is a natural place to post photos but collecting photos into a photobook on a blog or creating a digital album elsewhere is a good idea too. A big part of photography is learning which pictures are really valuable to the story you want to tell. Curating your pictures into an album will give you a chance to consider each image on its own merits as well as the value it adds to the overall experience.
Collecting your photos digitally is a safe way to store them but you should also consider printing a few photos too. One lovely idea is to use The Postcard App MyPostcard to transform your photos into personalised postcards that you can send to your friends and family wherever you are. Of course, you could also use the app to send postcards to yourself, documenting the ideas and experiences behind each picture. This way, you will return to a ready-made box of memories.
Journal and Blog Writing
The perfect travel journal looks different according to who the journal is for and what its purpose is. If you want to remember the who, what and where of your trip, you might prefer to make your writing brief and allow other media such as photos and films to complement your writing. On the other hand, if you are more interested in remembering your impressions and feelings, you may prefer a more introspective style.
Of course, who you are writing for also matters. If you are writing for your own records, you can include more personal details and you don’t need to worry too much about evoking a particular image in someone else’s mind. All you need to do is write enough to remember what you saw. However, if you are looking for a wider audience to share your experiences with, you might want to be a little more picky about what you record and how you share.
Just as your photos will improve as you get more experienced, you should also allow your writing to develop as you go. Learning the art of travel writing takes time and is a very different skill to essay writing or other forms of creative writing. However, you should still think in terms of narrative arc and interest. There’s no need to record every second of your day so be more expansive on the moments that took you by surprise or made you think. Leave out the basics.
Combining photography, writing and collecting amongst other media, scrapbooking is a great way to memorialise your trip in one place. However, the kind of scrapbooker you are should definitely influence what you collect on your travels and how you display your memories. If you don’t want to scrapbook on the move, it might be a good idea to take some folders or poly wallets so that you can separate things out a little better and definitely journal as you go.
When you get home, you can take much more time over creating the perfect layout for your scrapbook and curating what gets to go in. If you are an artistic type, you should also think about contributing drawings, short creative writing pieces such as poems and any other creative thoughts you had. A scrapbook is a brilliant creative exercise and can help you to reframe your experiences and learn even more.
Another way to keep hold of your memories from your trip is to create a memory box. This way, you won’t be limited to what can be stuck down to a page and you can include other memorabilia. The other advantage is that you don’t need to fix things into place so each time you look through the box, different memories may be triggered.
However you choose to document your time travelling, do allow yourself to experiment and play. All of these methods produce slightly different results and have different impacts too. While keeping a journal can remind you of the who and the where, a photo can realise that experience in full colour and a scrapbook can provide instant context. The best advice is this: don’t settle for a single way to document your time travelling, enjoy every experience and make the most of it in as creative and inspiring a way possible.
See you in my next post!