How to Make Your Travel Memories Last

March 10, 2015

Memories are fleeting. They come and go just as quickly as a car passes by on the street. Most of them we won’t remember; only the ones that leave a lasting impression stick like gum on the ever expanding sidewalk of your life.

Some memories you think you’ll remember forever. How could I forget about that time we waited 4 hours for the bus? Believe it or not, you forget more than you think. Whenever you travel, you’re being hit with new people, sights, sounds, food, activities, and stories all at the same time. Talk about sensory overload! There are so many ways to keep track of your experiences, so you have them to look back on in years to come. Travel memories are just as important as the experience itself.  

One way that I personally combat this memory decomposition is by journaling. It helps that I love writing and that I find calmness in doing it. Whenever I travel, I write down details about every single day. I write down what I did from the morning right up until that night. I write my thoughts, prices of things, the people I hung out with, and the stories I’ve heard. It works as a memory bank for me.

travel memories

This isn’t even half of my journals

Before you think this is silly, I’ll prove how wonderful this habit is. I started to journal like this on my first trip to Ireland in 5th grade. I stored it away afterwards and let it collect dust for 8 years. I recently reread everything and relived my entire trip. Granted, I was very young so I don’t remember a lot, but it just goes to show how much almost a decade wears away your memory. My favorite line was how I “ordered chicken fingers, French fries, soup, and a hot dog for dinner.” I have no recollection of this particular instance of gluttonous indulgence, but it sure as hell sounds like me.

Journal as often and in whatever manner you’d like; whether it’s a phrase for the entire day or a doodle of the view from a beach-side cafe. You will be thankful you did so, especially when you reread it years later. Your journal will become your Bible. I only remember as many stories as I do because I’ve written them all down! In fact, I completely forgot about breaking my bike key in my lock until I reread it in my journal.

Keeping a journal also allows you to appreciate what you learned that day and really think about a new experience you had. When you write it down, you’re reliving that experience word by word and fully appreciating everything that happened. This can happen with anything, even a seemingly mundane task such as shopping for groceries.

Keeping a journal is like keeping an item frozen in time of your younger self. All of your thoughts, your beliefs, your rationale; everything is in one place for your older self to look back on and laugh at. In years to come, you will be able to see exactly what you were thinking and why. It’s a free trip down memory lane.

travel memories

If you’re not into writing, there are other ways to capture your thoughts and memories: Videos or audio recordings. These will definitely take less time than writing or typing something, and it’s YOU, in person, talking! Keep in mind though, technology can break, a journal cannot (unless you lose it. Or throw it into the ocean).

Of course, then there are the pictures. Personally, I’d rather have a journal since it’s more personalized, but I’m thankfully able to have both! Readers, I’m sure you take plenty of pictures; it’s the age of the selfie. Pictures capture a moment in time with color that may have faded from our memory. Just as journals do, they reveal your younger self to look back on in years to come. This is a great way to capture the essence of a place you love. Make a photo album, collage, or print out your favorite pictures so you have them in real life to hold on to.

travel memories

Interacting with the locals is yet another way to get the most out of your trip and hold on to your memories. Interacting with the locals allows you to learn about the culture and may lead you into making a new friend in another country. You will have memories to reminisce over in years to come, and may even be able to visit them again in the future. Revisiting a place that is only something distant in your memory is truly a way to show how you have grown as a person and how you appreciate another place.

Lastly, try the local cuisine. You’re going to remember that snake heart more than that chicken with gravy (unless it was out of this world). When you remember something strange you’ve eaten, it opens the gateway to memories surrounding that occasion. 

Do you have any more suggestions on how to make the most of your trip abroad?

6 comments

  1. Comment by Janet Sunderland

    Janet Sunderland Reply March 10, 2015 at 8:39 pm

    Great tips. I’m with you. I journal/take photos/etc every day (and especially while traveling) as my memory isn’t exactly stellar. Never was. And now I’m writing a memoir off journal entries and sooooo grateful I have my experiences and thoughts and struggles on the page so I can remember! You’ll be using yours, too, I expect.

    So glad I/we found each other. I so enjoy your writing.

    PS: if you have a great travel piece ready to submit check out http://www.wppress.com. We’re open until 3/15 for submissions.

    • Comment by Globe Trottica

      Globe Trottica Reply March 10, 2015 at 10:02 pm

      Thank you so much Janet! I do too- isn’t it wonderful? It’s such a great thing to have in the future, I know I’ll be thanking myself in years to come. I’m so glad you do the same! That’s amazing that you have them for the memoir- maybe I will follow in your footsteps and write one too in the future! I’m sure you’re thanking yourself for keeping the journals and pictures etc. Thank you so much, and I’m so glad too! I very much enjoy your writing as well. 😀

      I will definitely check that out, I would love to submit something!

  2. Comment by Ryan Biddulph

    Ryan Biddulph Reply March 13, 2015 at 2:03 am

    Hi,

    Journaling is hands down the best way to make memories last. Power tip! I journal frequently through my blog. I’ll tell a story from my travels and link it to blogging and then, the post will go live. Doing so sears these memories on my mind and also helps my audience benefit from my experience. Being present does wonders too for enhancing memories. Right now, I’ll look around the villa compound here in Bali, noting details and the like. Doing so helps me remain present, and when you’re present you’ll remember things more easily.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Ryan

    • Comment by Globe Trottica

      Globe Trottica Reply March 13, 2015 at 1:05 pm

      Hi Ryan! I completely agree- not only are you working to keep those memories, but you’re also entertaining your readers. Being present is a really great point. If you take some time to take in your surroundings, you will remember more and appreciate everything around you. Thank you so much for the tips! 😀

  3. Comment by TicketAndTravelBlog

    TicketAndTravelBlog Reply May 7, 2015 at 6:01 pm

    I love journaling while traveling! I don’t even know how I would blog without it! I write down restaurants we ate at / my favourite dishes / people’s names / train issues / what our hostel rooms looked (and sometimes smelt) like! I can’t wait until I reread them decades from now and feel like I am on these adventures all over again!

    • Comment by Globe Trottica

      Globe Trottica Reply May 7, 2015 at 10:31 pm

      I feel the exact same way! It’s so great that you write all of those things down. We’re going to be thanking ourselves in years to come that we have these tiny pieces of our thoughts and what we did every day when traveling 😀 Thank you so much for sharing!!

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