I caught the travel bug early in my life. My first international trip was at age 8 and my first trip alone with just friends and classmates was at 17 (it was through the school). At age 8, I didn’t have much sense to collect souvenirs and mementos that were special. However, after my school trip to Washington D.C., I did decide to make a scrapbook and enjoyed it so much. My craze of trip documentation continued as a young adult. I spent three weeks in Spain, Italy, Greece, and Switzerland after my high school graduation and had the time of my life. With being the only girl in the group for most of the time, I had my share of loneliness, exhaustion, happiness, and sheer exasperation. I decided to document my travel experiences in a diary. I was only 18, but due to my diligence and a precocious attachment to words, I spent an hour each night writing all that I saw, felt, and any funny or unique experiences I had. That diary became a wonderful and sentimental memento for me. And from there I decided to document my future travels in creative ways. There is no end to how creative you can get. I have seen people go crazy with Mod-podge and maps, with framing foreign currency or even growing their coin collection to no end. Pick a way that is easy and economical for you. So here are 6 creative ways to commemorate your travels:
1. Write a Travel Blog: All About Sana has been a great catharsis for me. My travel diary writing has evolved into a full-time gig and this time I am writing for a wider audience. If you have a travel blog (or even a fashion blog where you can showcase your style in foreign locales), you are more conscious to remember or note things/sights/feelings and take unique, creative pictures during your travels. You notice more things, you research more, basically your whole behavior changes as you become an unofficial sociologist in a foreign land. I promise you will get more out of your travels if you have an intention of documenting it for an audience.
2. Scrapbooking: As I mentioned in the introduction, I fell in love with scrapbooks my junior year in highschool. I visited our nation’s capital for a school trip and went crazy with taking photos and saving ticket stubs, brochures, and flyers from all the activities I participated in. At the time, there was a scrapbook supply store (think Michael’s, but filled with just scrapbooking related goods) near my home and I would spend hours picking background paper, stickers, and stencils. After dividing my photos into categories, I started thinking of creative ways to display them in my scrapbook album. Using colorful pages, pens, and 3 dimensional stickers that enhanced the photographs, the memories trapped in photographs became more fun.
3. Postcard Wallpaper: I learned this trick in a family magazine (sorry, I don’t remember the name) and loved it. I was 15 or 16 at the time, and my first postcard on the wall was of Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Fifteen years later, that postcard is just one of over 150 postcards I have accumulated and posted on my wall. You may have seen a portion of it on my Instagram account and it is always a conversation piece in my family. So how do you make a postcard wallpaper? Travel your butt off, buy postcards at your favorite places, and post them on a wall with scotch tape. It is THAT easy.
4. Trinkets/Souvenirs: This is kind of fun for me. Even as a young teenager, I dreamt of one day owning my own home and decorating it with souvenirs of my travels. It started with a blown-glass paper weight from Venice in 2001 to espresso cups from CN Tower in Toronto circa 2017. So how do you start a collection? I personally haven’t picked a theme myself because I pick whatever speaks to me. I have seen people collect snow globes from around the world or have an insane collection of mugs of all the states they have visited. Pick something that suits the look and feel of your home or speaks to you and start with one destination at a time.
5. Jewelry (not clothes): I will be honest, my travel jewelry collection started by a happy accident. I personally haven’t bought myself any jewelry during my travels, but I have received many gifts from family and friends from their travels. I have pearls from India, an Afghani jewelry set from Japan, blown-glass pendant from Italy, earrings and a necklace from South Africa and so on. I don’t recommend investing in clothes (I bought sweatshirts) unless you have kids, because the quality is okay and I hate the idea of them fading after use.
6. Travel Guides: This is a personal idea of mine and I am very proud of it. A travel guide collection is a great way for you to remember your travels and show your house guests the countries you have visited. Yes, you use them once and they get obsolete, but you will always remember the year you visited Brazil or Australia whenever you look at your bookshelf. The dogeared pages, the written notes, and food stains are all reminders of your trip. It is a cheap and easy way to commemorate your travels.
Hope this post gives you some inspiration. Happy Travels!