BY KATHY PASSMORE
I have a goal of traveling to all of the National Parks in the United States. So far, I've been to 20.
Each time I return home I create a two-page spread, all of them done exactly the same way to keep it simple and focus on telling the story.
I am single, without children, so I thought these pages may represent another group of memory keepers. Also it's a great example that the memories and opportunities to document our lives don’t stop when the kids are grown.
For my National Park project pages, I take a lot of information about
the park itself from the pamphlet that the Park Service provides as well
as a book by National Geographic entitled Guide to the National
Parks of the United States. I mention it at the bottom of the
journaling panel as the source the factual information about the park
was taken from.
I also include anything of interest that happened while I was there, or something that really stood out to me. For example, I'm convinced that the cabin I stayed in at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks was haunted. I got locked out of my cabin in the middle of the night when I went to the bathhouse to use the bathroom, and had to climb in through the window. There was no way that lock should have locked. The next morning I took photos of the lock to tell a whole story about that experience on another layout (which I have yet to complete).
While on the road I use a little travel journal book I picked up at a stationery store called Vacation: The Travelers Journal which is purse/pocket size and measures 3”x5.” If I have a lot to say, then I’ll get out my laptop and create a word document. Other times I’ll use a piece of random scrap paper from my purse to write down something of interest.
Sometimes I don’t journal at all because there just isn’t time or I am too tired at the end of the day to write. In that case, I rely on the photos I take to help me remember the details, and I try to document my trip as soon as possible after I get back home while the memories are still fresh. I don’t beat myself up about it, I just do the best I can and move on.
In addition, I always carry a gallon size Ziplock bag on my travels to hold all of those ticket stubs, receipts, travel guides and other memorabilia I collect. I write on the bag in permanent magic marker the trip information and everything is in one place when I get ready to scrapbook.
The National Park pages get done almost immediately after arriving at
home because I already have a template in place for scrapbooking these
pages, and all of the photos are 4×6. No agonizing decisions to make. I
feel such a sense of accomplishment with a system in place to document
Another element to my travels is that I often go alone, which was REALLY hard to do initially, but I was determined not to let opportunities to travel pass me by, even if I had to go alone. Now I really cherish these times, when I can do exactly as I please, take as many photos as I want and be on my own timetable without worrying if I’m holding up anyone else. I try to remember to give the camera to a total stranger so that at least I am in some of the photos.
When someone else can go with me on these adventures, I am so happy for the company. My Mom and I just got back from an 11 day trip where we flew to Arizona and drove a car back here to Maryland with lots of stops on the way.
Also, I tend not to travel in the summer when the kids are out of school
because places get really crowded, and it’s invariably more expensive. I
am fortunate to have the opportunity to travel in off-peak times and
the shoulder seasons when it’s less crowded, and usually less expensive.
I had an “AHA!” moment while typing this — my National Park pages get done almost immediately because I already have a template in place to scrapbook these memories. I have so many photos, journaling and memorabilia from so many trips that haven’t been documented yet and the problem is lack of a template to get them scrapped and the overwhelming amount of photos and stuff that I tend to collect while traveling, and oh, all of that perfection stuff too…
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