I belong to the ilk of the unlucky that rarely get to travel. Therefore, the few chances that I get to go on trips, matter tremendously to me. The wait up to the big day is painfully stretched. So I use it to make preparations for collecting my memories and memorabilia. Remembering these trips are crucial to me as these are the memories that I’ll have to reminiscence until the next trip. For me, photographs and a handful of souvenirs are not enough. I have to remember everything. So this is how I go about it.
- Dirt/ Sand collection
Every place has an unforgettable smell. They bring in our minds a swirl of memories. Some of us wish these smells could be captured like sights too. But we can do the next best thing. Bring home an intrinsic part of the locale that emanates that smell. If we are visiting beaches, we can collect a pinch of sand, or a scoop of dirt from the mountains. These can be collected in tiny envelopes or tissues that are easy to carry and can be preserved in tiny glass vials that are also easily available, the most accessible source being old homeopathic medicine vials that almost every household has a few. You can also add tags to the vials and keep increasing your collection. Once an assortment of a few vials is created, it looks magical and voila, you’ve got your own Memory Vials.
- Rocks, shells and other odds and ends
Silly as I might look, I keep picking up things from the ground whenever I’m on a trip. And by things I mean rocks, pebbles, random shiny things, buttons, dried cone fruits, feathers, tiny pretty branches, it could be anything, but must be small enough to fit into my purse. Each of these objects awakens jolts of memories in my head. These objects can be individually preserved and showcased in different parts of our home or separate boxes could be created housing memorabilia from each trips. But more on these boxes later.
- Leaves and flowers
This gets a special mention because I want to make it clear that collecting leaves and flowers does not mean we are to pluck them off right from the plants. No. But we can always pick them off the ground as plenty of them are always strewn around. Leaves and flowers can be collected especially when they are unique to the place and cannot be found elsewhere. But it’s not over once we collect them. These need to be properly preserved and pressed in between pages till we take them home and dried in the sun to increase their longevity.
- Tickets, Receipts and other papers
This is one of the most fun and least painstaking activity in the whole list, something that anybody can do. Whenever we eat out at a nice, quaint café, we can remember the ambiance better if we have the receipt of the place with us. Likewise, we can collect tickets to museums and amusement parks, and even toffee wrappers or tissues from an eatery. Most places also have at least one bookshop where postcards can be bought. Buying a few postcards as a keepsake is a good idea too. Once we are back home, a collection of all these mere pieces of paper will transport you back in seconds!
We can also always visit local shops that keep souvenirs for tourists particular to the place. It is always a good idea to go for the smaller ones such as a bracelet or key chains with the name or particular motif of the place, candles, coins, particular styles of jewellery unique to the place, fridge magnets …you get the point. These are not only excellent reminders of the journey but can also be brought back for our friends and loved ones.
This is the most obvious of them all, but even then, instead of just clicking pictures and videos to be uploaded on Facebook and Instagram, we can always print some out to put be up on a wall dedicated solely to this, or add them to travel journals or memory boxes. However far technology may advance, photographs will always hold a special place in our hearts.
Certain types of edibles can also be brought back from trips, preferably from shorter trips. Edibles such as candies, toffees, tea, pickles, edible seeds, dry fruits are excellent gift materials. These can also be preserved for a long time and one can savor the taste of their trip from time to time.
- Travel Journals
Speaking from personal experience, as beautiful and practical as travel journals might seem, with an used , hand-me-down aura, they are, in reality much harder to make and definitely impossible to maintain during the trip itself due to the hectic schedules and other such practical problems. My advice would be to collect everything that is to be pasted and pinned onto the journal separately and write notes about them and compile the journal after the trip is over. It is a good exercise in recalling and reliving the beautiful memories that one just experienced.
- Memory Boxes
This is a culmination of all the other keepsakes mentioned above. A memory box can be any box, maybe a cardboard shoe box, or a tin cake box, or even a shadow box, where we can keep everything that we have collected from a trip. The more boxes we have, the more memories we can look back on.
This might sound weird, but music has a strange power to usher back memories to our mind. I’ve often marked particular songs that I have listened to on loops or discovered on various trips and found that listening to them years later still takes me back to the same places and sounds and sights. So please give music a tiny little place in your box of keepsakes and souvenirs.
Years from now, when we won’t have the strength in our broken bodies to travel to places, memories are all that we will be left with. These keepsakes will be then, our very own time capsules. Memory will inadvertently fail us, but if we value the experiences we gather and if we want to cherish them for a long time, then arm yourself with these tokens of remembrances before you plan your next trip.
picture credit : Pinterest