Travel has always been in my nature, and just like Pam, our guest blogger this week, I enjoy immersing myself in different cultures. It’s one of my passions in life. I have vivid childhood memories of Greece, Germany, and Spain because growing up, my parents encouraged traveling, so my next big adventure was never very far away. With traveling comes many memories and stories that deserve to get told, but so often we return from our trips to a reality where we have no time to spare. That’s why I’ve enlisted Pam to tell you all about her brilliant method of scrapbooking, called “pocket-page memory-keeping,” so that perhaps you can discover a new and easier way to tell all those memories you’ve collected over the years! And be sure to download her planning sheet at the end of the post to help you get started!
Take it away, Pam…
Lots and LOTS of Photos
Most of my fondest memories are from the moments in my life where I’m exploring a new location, experiencing a different culture, eating unique kinds of food and hearing conversations in a foreign language. Traveling gives me such a high – I literally feel like a completely different person when I’m off to an adventure.
Know what else traveling gives you? Lots and lots and LOTS of photos.
Humans are visual creatures. In this day and age, when we go to a new destination, one of the first things that we almost always do is to preserve this memory by taking a photo (or a million photos). It’s amazing how years from now, we can look back to a specific moment of our life and observe how our eyes back then saw this moment.
Preserve Your Stories
Archiving and organizing your photos is extremely important, but I don’t need to tell you that because I know that Caroline has already walk you through the whole shebang. Photos speak a thousand words, they say. But sometimes, those unwritten words get lost in time. We forget the details, the context and the nuances of each photograph. Over time, little by little, we forget exactly why we took those photos.
Was I attracted to the blue sky?
Did something in this unfamiliar location caught my eye?
Was there something special about this ordinary photo of a flower?
Who took this photo of me devouring a piece of shrimp tempura?
It gets harder and harder to answer these questions when the years start to pass.
This is exactly why I believe that we should not only preserve our travel photos, but also the stories that go along with it. When you preserve the stories, 10 years down the road you will be able to recall:
I took a photo of the blue sky because it has been raining all throughout our Europe trip and this was the first sign of good weather. I was extremely thankful for it.
The old couple in this photo caught my eye because I adored how their relationship looked strong despite the years they have probably lived. I thought of my parents at the time.
I picked up this flower from a park in Japan. It was my first time stepping foot in Asia and I loved how this flower just fell right on my feet. Seems like a warm welcome!
My boyfriend took this photo and I treasure it because he rarely picks up the camera on his own. He said I looked especially happy eating new kinds of food and he wanted to document the moment.
The Pocket-Page Memory-Keeping Method
In this blog post, I will walk you through an easy and creative method of documenting your travel photos and at the same time, preserving your travel stories!
My friends, let me introduce to you the pocket-page memory-keeping method.
Pocket-page memory-keeping is a modern approach to traditional scrapbooking. It has taken all of the bad rep of scrapbooking (recap: old-fashioned, time-consuming, reserved for ‘crafty’ folks) and used that information to create a simplified memory-keeping system based on the principle of modularity and grid design.
It’s so much easier to show it to you rather than explain it so here’s what a pocket-page layout might look like:
I use this method to document all of my travel experiences, and I’m going to show you how I leverage this to also preserve the stories behind each travel photo.
1. You Can Insert Photos AND Journaling inside the Pockets
We’re all familiar with the traditional way of archiving printed photos by inserting them all into a photo album. The pocket-page method takes things ten steps further. Because of the “grid system,” you can choose to insert both your photos and your journaling all in the same page without having to mess around with glue and tape. So, instead of just having your photos, you can have journaling that gives context to the photo beside it.
2. Complement Your Stories with Your “Evidence” or Your Travel Ephemera
Here’s one of my favorite things: incorporating travel ephemera into your travel albums. Travel ephemera can be a variety of things as long as it’s a tangible memorabilia from your trip, for example plane tickets, business cards, postage stamp, postcards, food packaging and museum tickets. By simply trimming and inserting the ephemera into the pockets, you’re starting a tell a more complete story of your adventures.
3. Think of it as a Storybook – What Happened on Day 1? Day 2? On the Last Day?
A great way to preserve the stories behind the photos is to treat them collectively as a story book. Instead of taking each picture individually, gather them together to tell a cohesive story of what happened on each day of your trip. This is a great way to look back on your trips because you can almost relive it by reading and seeing what you ate for breakfast, where you went first thing in the morning, what landmarks you visited, where you had dinner, etc. It creates a flow for you to relive your stories through your own story book.
4. Talk About the Facts. But Also Talk About the Feelings
Most people will stick to listing down the facts for each photo – the who, what, when, where and how – and that’s awesome and important. But I want to challenge you to also focus and document the feelings. Write down what you felt at a specific moment. What emotions do these photos bring out of you? What insights did you have from this trip? Why were you happy (or sad) about this certain photo? Jot it down and allow it to make your stories much richer and more YOU.
5. Keep Your Finished Travel Album on Your Bookshelves OR Scan it and Compile it into a PDF
Once you’ve completed your album, give yourself a huge pat on the back! Now, make sure that you store your completed travel album in an accessible bookshelf so you can easily relive your memories. It’s also a great way to allow people to take a peek into your life and your mind, if you want them too. If you’re lacking the real estate to physically store the books, you can scan each page of the layout and compile it into a PDF! This is also great for giving gifts to family or people you were with during the trip.
Ready to Try It?
There you have it!
I hope that each of the five ideas that I shared with you encouraged you to start preserving the stories behind your travel photos. It’s never too late to unearth older travel photos and try to reconstruct your memories from those trips. Ten, twenty, thirty years down the line, you will thank yourself for doing this now.
I have designed a Photo + Story Planning sheet for you to make this process easier! Just print this planning sheet and start jotting down the facts, feelings and ideas for each photo and ephemera that you collected from your trip. Grab that and start preserving your adventures!
Caroline’s notes: I LOVE this method of scrapbooking because as a photo organizer, it make my job so much easier! I come across glued photos all the time that are difficult to scan because they’re simply stuck to the album it’s in. This method keeps the stories together, but also keeps the photos intact, and because the photos are in pockets, you can remove them and scan them individually should you want to… Not too mention that this method works for ALL kinds of memories. So much easier and faster, don’t you think?