Recently I asked a bunch of my friends to provide me a “How To” topic that they would like me to answer. Sort of like those “Ask Aunt Sally” forums except this aunt would only quickly write down 10 ways to accomplish it, without thinking too much about how good, bad or ugly her ideas are. This experiment was just to exercise those mental muscles a bit and have some fun.
Travel to me is a multi-sensory experience, which is about exploring the nature, history, food and culture of that place, and engaging in activities that are unique to that place. Recording travel without photos is quite the unthinkable so this exercise was interesting. If recording is simply persisting and carrying an essence of that place with you, here are ways to do it:
- Bring a souvenir or other local item: this could be some jewelry, a home decor item, spices or tea, books or whatever your heart desires. I have bought all of these. Many people collect shot glasses or snow globes or coins. We have collected decorative spoons over the years. You can check them out here at SpoonfulOfWorld.
- Sketch/paint: take your art supplies with you and draw away if that’s your thing. Or come back and record your experience into your artwork.
- Write: write about your travel experience. Describe the journey, the emotions, a new insight, a weird or a funny episode. I have written some of my travel experiences here.
- Volunteer: although there aren’t enough opportunities to do this, volunteering can provide a unique recording of the spirit of that place. This reminds me of our time spent at the Animal Rescue Park in Costa Rica and Elephant Nature Park in Thailand. My son captured his experience with elephants as a blog here.
- Keep in touch with the group: we have had some amazing shared experiences. A recent one where we were floating around Galapagos islands in the middle of ocean with 20 other enthusiastic folks. Keeping in touch with them is a great way to relive the travel moments.
- Tattoo: I didn’t see this one coming but I know at least one person who tattoos a symbol of a place that means something to her! I am happy painting Costa Rican butterflies (maybe frogs?!) on my face for now.
- Multiple media: mix it all together to create a multi-media output, either digital or non-digital. For example, collages of small souvenirs, poster of handwritten notes, brochures etc. If you have to go digital then scan your notes, put audio clips on top of it.
- Talk/learn a language: attempt to say a few words in the local language while on travel. I know that somewhere in our South American travels lies my desire for learning Spanish. Maybe one day.
- Mental recording: reflect on the essence of your travel – maybe you got to relax, maybe you felt the friendliness of locals, fun times with family. Connect a part of that with your routine life by introducing small vacation-like rituals.
- Don’t: finally, don’t bother recording. If you are not too hung up on recording, perhaps it will be even more evident how different each of these places are and yet how similar. Let that feeling of wonder, security and joy stay with you. It’s something that you don’t have to share with anyone. It’s only yours.