An archive and repository of travel [travel writing and photography] notes, tips, articles and references.
The recent newsletter of the Women on the Road NEWS (Issue#64, 14 May 2013) had an interesting article on how to capture travel memories. Nowadays, with a bevy of tools available to document one’s travels, from the traditional (and analog) to savvy digital devices, recording every bit of one’s adventure is so much easier and fun to boot. How do I keep records of my travel memories? Amber Lamboo outlined 13 tips and I subscribe to nearly all of them:
1. Send yourself a postcard. I send myself postcards from every city (and or country) I visit and it’s always a thrill to be greeted back home with a bunch of postcards I sent myself. At times, I receive the postcards weeks after I’m back. But they never fail to jog my memory of the fun or silly thing I did that day in that city.
2. Take pictures. I take LOTS of photos (who doesn’t?). Before any trip as part of pre-trip research, I would have a list of sights and things I have to take pictures of. I would have general themes (architectural edifices, bridges, street lamps, doors, windows, etc.) and of course, particular themes unique to the place or city (food, streets and laneways, museums, art, etc.).
3. Tell stories with your photographs. I also try to capture the subtleties and nuances of the destinations. I particularly remember being baffled by those padlocks left in bridges (Pont des Arts in Paris and the railing of the promenade at Lungarno Torrigiani and Ponte Vecchio in Florence). Little did I know that they were “love padlocks”! Posters and quirky signs are also good travel story reminders. Capturing social interactions in street photographs is perhaps one of the best ways to keep records of my travel adventures. One drawback to solo travel is you’re hardly in any of the photos. I solved this by getting one of those nifty point and shoot cameras with dual screens to take proper self portraits. But I do enjoy taking photos of my feet – I would take them at airports, on cobbled streets and laneways, beside manhole covers and gatic lids which would almost always have the city name. At times I’ll take photos of my reflection on shop windows, mirrors and even puddles.
4. Shoot a short video. I did try this on some occasions (train ride from Berlin to Prague, while waiting for the tour of the Schloß Hohenschwangau, and the drive along Great Ocean Road).
5. Make use of your smartphone (or your tablet). I tend to use these devices for quick photos, notes and often times taking snapshots of the maps on GoogleMaps. I find the photos in the ‘camera roll’ as good memory joggers and reminders of trip details which comes in handy as references when I need to fill in my travel journal or post blog articles. As Leyla suggested, Evernote is a wonderful application to use as you can organise your notes into notebooks. I’ve only started using Evernote early this year and have only used in a recent trip to my hometown to visit family.
6. Use a travel journal. I always keep a handwritten travel journal. I still prefer going ‘analog’ in keeping the journal. But this is akin to lists of notes and details of each day of the trip (best things, worst things, what I took pictures of, my day’s itinerary, etc.). It’s nothing more than just jottings of observations and events. I tend to do this at end of each day.
7. Make a scrapbook. My travel journal also ends up as a scrapbook of keepsakes where I stick on bus/tram/train tickets, receipts, paper napkins, business cards, theatre tickets, museum tickets/bookmarks, fold-out maps, etc.
8. Make lists. As I’m an inveterate list maker, from packing lists to list of photos to take, these lists also get pasted onto the travel journals for each of the trip.
9. Create a keepsake box. The journals, postcards, itineraries, guidebooks, maps are kept in keepsake boxes and it’s always fun to get into them and reminisce.
There are four of Amber Lamboo’s tips which I haven’t tried:
1. Record a conversation with someone. I doubt I’ll be able to make audio recordings of the interesting conversations I have with people I meet in my trips. I tend to document these experiences in my journals instead. I remember wonderful conversations with an elderly taxi driver in Prague who took pity on me seeing that I’m in my dress shoes walking in the snow that he carried me across the footpath to his taxi just outside the State Opera after seeing Turandot. Of course, ever mindful of safety and security, I knew he was the driver I arranged previously at the hotel to pick me up after the opera. On another occasion, conversations with the very elegant boutique hotel owner in Paris who shared shopping tips in St Honore and St Germaine as well as her wish to come and visit Australia after hearing wonderful stories about the country.
2. Sketch a storymap. I love Linda’s idea of recording travel experiences in sketches or storymaps! This is perhaps something I can include in the handwritten journals to complement those pull-out maps pasted onto these notebooks. The Evernote and Penultimate applications or Paper|53 available in the tablet would be wonderful to use as I don’t have to worry about taking additional pens and writing implements with me.
3. Blogging on the road. My blog posts tend to be articles about the trips in hindsight. I don’t think I’ll be able to blog while on the road.
4. Copy yourself on emails. This is a great way of keeping notes about the trip. As I use a webmail account when travelling, which keeps records of sent emails, perhaps I just tag those emails with particular labels and keep them in their specific folders.
I’m sure much of these tips work for anyone at any point in their travels. How about you? How to do you document and keep your travel memories?