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Travel broadens the mind, but here’s the rub — the more you travel, the more your trips run together. With time, comes confusion. What did you eat at that restaurant you went to in Paris? Was it a leatherback or a loggerhead you saw drag itself up the beach right in front of you in Costa Rica? You won’t have any trouble remembering the amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experiences you have or those best-we-forget moments. But for those that fall somewhere in between, here are five ways to preserve your travel memories.
Write a Travel Journal
Years before I gave up my teaching job to write for a living, I kept a travel journal. When I was away from home, I wrote about the places I explored, the people I met, and my reactions to those new environments and experiences. From time to time, I pull them out of the drawer and relive those trips from the comfort of my living room. Those same journals taught me a lot about how to create a narrative and structure my thoughts — something that’s proved invaluable in my professional life. There are plenty of notebook options for you to choose, whether you want a small pocket journal to jot down your memories quickly or a more structured journal with prompts and space to write freely.
Make a Scrapbook
If you’re looking for a way to store all the travel paraphernalia that you collect during your trip, then consider making a scrapbook. As you visit different countries, you’ll acquire countless boarding passes, train tickets, postcards, leaflets, and leftover currency. Add your own personal embellishments in the form of hand-drawn sketches, short snippets of diary entries, or even the wrapper from the chocolate bar you ate on the bus. When I travel solo, I carry an empty scrapbook and glue stick to make a start on some of the pages while I’m on the road, which is a great way of filling time when you’re waiting for a flight. Alternatively, put it together when you get home and relive your vacation.
Fill a Shadowbox
As a three-dimensional version of a scrapbook, a shadowbox is a great way to house memorabilia and can be hung on a wall. Although you’ll need to be more selective of what items to display due to space restrictions, you’ll be able to fit some larger trinkets in to capture the essence of the place. If you don’t consider yourself the artistic type, check out Pinterest to see examples of shadowboxes done well. Personalize your shadowbox with a few snapshots that capture your favorite travel moments.
Start a Collection
The more you travel, the less those mass-produced souvenirs are likely to appeal to you, but that doesn’t mean you can’t collect something that means a lot. Think about what you’ll get pleasure from after you return home. I have a friend who covers her fridge in magnets and another who invariably serves coffee in mismatched mugs from around the world. My collectibles hang on our Christmas tree — an angel from Iceland, a knitted gnome from Denmark, a tiny snow globe from New York City. You can choose to be as consistent as you like, but starting a souvenir collection of items that remind you of certain destinations is a way to keep your trip alive when you return home.
Get Creative with Your Photos
Before the digital age, we took our precious rolls of film to the store and had them printed to show friends and family. Today, it’s so easy to snap on your phone and upload them to your laptop that by the time you return from holiday, they’re already half forgotten. But you can change that. Select the best and upload them to create a beautiful, glossy coffee table book. Not for you? Try picking out a dozen or so and framing them to create a collage for the wall of your kitchen or living room. Opt for black-and-white prints in identical oak frames for a rustic look, Polaroid pictures pegged to a string, or unique frames grouped to create a one-of-a-kind statement wall.