Traveling is an important life experience. You learn new things, meet new people, are exposed to different languages and cultures, and learn more about yourself. But once you get back home what do you do with all those souvenirs from your adventures? The tickets, pictures, maps, etc.? It took me a few tries, but I might have found a solution you haven’t thought of yet…
Upon returning home from Europe, I wanted a way to document my memories. Sure, I always have my memory, but it will fade and you generally remember less and less each year. That image of the Eiffel Tower only becomes clear again once you see the photo you took from your last visit there or the ticket you bought to go to the top. So what do you do?
The Digital Photo Album Option
My first solution was the digital photo album. Thanks to architecture school, InDesign has become my favorite software and is the perfect tool to design digital photo albums. Unfortunately, I’m a perfectionist and I am still working on this lovely book.
Besides the amount of time I would have to dedicate to creating this, I decided that it would only be beneficial for me. This album was just going to sit on a shelf, rarely looked through, despite all my hard work. Friends wouldn’t appreciate it: they’d rather take a trip to those places (and I don’t blame them).
The other dilemma I faced with a photo album was that I did not have a place for all my souvenirs. You know, the maps, tickets, brochures, and other items I brought back with me that I mentioned at the beginning of the post. Of course I could always scan them and put them in the photo album, but that doesn’t address what I should do with the original copies besides throw them away. I don’t like throwing things away from trips so soon. So what next?
The Scrapbook Option
My next idea was to create a scrapbook, but that was going to be expensive… and time consuming. I had to pick photos I wanted to print, pay for those photos, purchase background paper (that was going to get covered up anyway by those photos and souvenirs), purchase plastic sleeves for those sheets and find binders big enough to organize everything. I was looking at a lot of binders: either one for each country or one small one for each city. This was option was similar to the photo album dilemma: these were also going to sit on a shelf unseen, neglected, and taking up lots of space.
Pinterest to the Rescue!
I decided that I needed a different approach and started searching on Pinterest. I came across this picture and borrowed their concept. From it, I developed my Travel Wall, which is still a work in progress and will always be a work in progress.
My Solution: Creating a Wall of Memories
I decided that the best option was to create a wall of memories: a wall with a title at the top, the world map as its center, and 12X12 frames of souvenirs surrounding the map from each city I’ve visited. This way my adventures are on display, not on a shelf, and become a conversational piece. Friends and family can participate in the wall via the world map. This option provides the opportunity to take one city down and switch it out with a more recent vacation that was shared with close friends and family. In this sense, the wall is always changing and will never be finished.
Since I’ve moved (and never seem to stay in one place very long), I did not put much effort into this particular wall. It’s not perfectly aligned, nor do I have all the frames, but at least my souvenirs are on display. It is a work in progress, but I am happy that I finally have come up with a solution that works.
I hope this inspires you to travel and to create a system that works for you to help preserve your memories!