Travel is all about creating memories. Ironically, what you’re experiencing in the moment often only becomes “real” in hindsight. You need time to process and put whatever you’ve seen, tasted, felt or heard in context. A lot of that processing happens when you’re asleep, and the downside is that your brain also tosses out a lot of the detail when it’s storing everything away.
It probably doesn’t matter if that incredibly helpful guy you met at the market was called Dieter or Delbert. What does matter, however, is that documenting your journey will make it easier to bring those memories back to forefront in the future. Reading about your trip to the market will remind you of the advice you got to visit that deserted beach or local festival. Seeing a picture of the rainforest in Costa Rica will make you think of the best cup of coffee you ever drank in your life. Memories are building blocks to the past, and documenting your travels is an exercise in maintenance.
If it’s important to you today, you want to make sure it still matters ten years from now.
- Keep a Journal
It may seem old-fashioned, but the act of actually writing something down helps you remember. Because writing can be an effort, you’ll know in years to come that if you took the time to enter it in your journal, that moment really meant something to you.
- Keep Digital Notes
Get into the habit of keeping the notes you make for yourself along the way. Things like reminding yourself to look up what goes into the local cocktail, or the name of that quirky museum you visited. Those notes will open a flood of memories and can provide a really authentic record of what you were doing every day.
- Get Blogging
Writing a regular blog or creating a series of vlogs is the ultimate way to document your adventure. Because you’re sharing with others, however, you’re likely to be more selective about what you’re recording. Just remember that ultimately, you’re doing this for yourself and don’t worry too much about whether your audience is going to find the content as interesting as you do.
- Keep the Paper
If you haven’t got time to write down the details, let others do it for you. Document with documents. Keep all your ticket stubs, menus, receipts, maps and other physical reminders in a zip-lock bag and stick them into a scrapbook when you get home. Sometimes all it takes is a restaurant bill to tell the story of a great night out.
- Say It with Music
Maybe writing or photography isn’t your thing but building a travel playlist is an easy way to mark the milestones on your journey. Every day or so, think of a song that really captures something you saw or how you’re feeling. Try to include works from local artists or music that represents the culture. Keep them in order, and when you’re home you can play your audio journal anytime you want to relive your adventure.
- Send Your Journey Home
Postcards aren’t actually part of ancient history and they’re still available in just about every country around the globe. Grab one every few days and send yourself a message. When you get home, your whole adventure will be right there waiting for you with a permanent record of your travels.
- Hashtag Your Trip
If you’re going to be tweeting, using Instagram or basically documenting your journey online, be sure to create a unique hashtag before you set off. That way, all your stuff will be in one place. Sharing your hashtag with friends will allow you to keep track of not only your own comments and pictures, but their input as well.
No matter whether you scribble, snap or doodle, just be sure to find a way to remember and relive the moments that made your adventure (almost) unforgettable.