Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Memory Keeping: Travel Journal

Lately I've been really interested in scrapbooking and memory keeping: digital Project Life, art journaling, and different alternative ways of "scrapbooking" and documenting your life. Since I was young, I've always been a journaler. I used to write in journals, notebooks, and cute little diaries. I used to cut up magazines and paste the clippings into blank notebooks. Without knowing it was called "memory keeping," I've made mini books and handmade journals, and have always had the tendency to collect ephemera.

In 2007, I traveled to Scandinavia for a singing tour with my college choir. I brought my mom :) To earn credits for the trip, we were required to keep a journal. Of course I didn't keep a regular written journal, but instead created this collagey book full of things collected on the trip.

It's an interesting way to document, and surely counts as "scrapbooking" since it's made up of scraps of my life! So I thought I would share this somewhat non-traditional way of scrapbooking, which was easy to keep up with and is super fun to look at. I brought this book, tape, scissors, and pens with me and tried every night to paste in the stuff I collected during the day and write about it before I forgot. I wasn't trying to make anything look pretty, and sometimes it was just about getting it all slapped down before I fell asleep from tourist exhaustion!

A little back story: in preparation for our trip, my mom bought this travel guide book about Norway. A few weeks before the trip, something spilled on it in her bag and most of the pages got soaking wet and wrinkly. She was about to toss it, but instead I dried it out and used it as the base for my travel journal-- which was perfect since all the pages had cool illustrations and information already!

I taped copies of our passport photos to the front cover:

taped in random pieces of paper for journaling, our luggage tags:

boarding pass, the top packaging from some Icelandic butter, a weird toothpick, salt & pepper packets from the plane:

sketches from the plane, a price tag with the caption "price of my unknown-ingredients sandwich at Oslo airport"

a list of all our flights and travel times:

journaling on hotel notepad paper, another butter packet foil, water bottle label:

on the map printed in the book, I circled all the cities we visited:

taped in coins, another water bottle label:

an envelope from the hotel, a mini catalog of Norwegian sweaters, a package from my motion sickness pills:

hotel ephemera and taped in pictures cut from brochures:

journaling, brochure, and a label from orange pop:

hotel key card, taped in poppy flower, packaging from ice cream:

souvenir postcard, "reflections" journaling:

taped in brochure photos, a found pansy flower, the receipt from McDonalds:

more hotel ephemera, taped in coins, label from a bottle of wine:

shopping bag(?), taped in coins, journaling:

notes taken on a museum information guide, luggage tags, weird "disinfected" toilet seat label:

Iceland notes, coin, salt packet:

more butter packages, coaster, boarding passes:

candy bar wrapper, perfume sample card, journaling about the Blue Lagoon:

beat-up luggage tags:

"Cool American" Doritos (aka Cool Ranch), more flight ephemera:

in the back cover flap I stuck in our choir CD of recordings done of our performances along the way. It's the perfect place to keep it!

If I ever go on a major trip again, I would definitely consider collecting memories this way. The only thing that is missing is the photos we took. My mom and I created a separate photo album for our hundreds of photos, and included little cards of journaling next to them in the album. That neat & clean album plus this bulky thing full of scraps complement each other nicely.


  1. That's so cool! Scandinavia is definitely one of the most exciting European destinations for me. And I have always naturally felt the urge to do the same thing--keeping things, documenting memories, cutting and pasting and clipping and taping, rushing to record each day's memories before they slipped away and/or blended into the other days. I love it!! It kind of makes everything more "real" for me and leaves me with lots of excellent ways to remember all of the little details in the future.

  2. Thanks, Michelle!

    "rushing to record each day's memories before they slipped away..."

    Yes! I find that if I don't write something down THAT DAY, or first thing the next morning, I will forget most of everything that happened. And it's a weird feeling to not really remember details of your days, weeks, and months... instead you're just left with this vague overall mood of the past, and it's kind of depressing.

    But even just capturing those little moments (like I did in this Scandinavia scrapbook), it brings back those little happy and interesting moments.

  3. *claps* Yes, that is EXACTLY how I always feel!! ^U^


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