Someone recently told me that one of their fears about travelling solo was forgetting their travel memories as they’d have no one to share them with. To me, the best way to make travel memories last is by finding ways to capture feelings and moments that would otherwise be forgotten. Sure, you have your Instagram feed. But the real beauty comes from those raw, unedited parts that remind you of how glorious it was and is just to be alive.
Today I’m sharing 6 powerful ways to keep your travel memories alive even if you’re travelling alone!
Do you ever pick up a pen and wonder if one day you’ll entirely forget how to write altogether? It saddens me that there’s becoming less and less need to physically write when it’s so easy just to send a quick DM. There’s something strangely enchanting about writing that can’t quite be replicated by committing words to screen. If you, like me, are also a hopeless romantic then what better way to immortalise your memories than love letters (postcards) to the city you’re in.
If you’re stuck for what to write here are some prompts:
What made you smile today?
Describe the best thing you’ve eaten on your trip – go into detail about the textures, the smells
How did you get around today?
Who’s a memorable character you’ve you met?
If a friend was thinking of visiting, where would you tell them to go?
Sometimes the best way to remember something isn’t with tacky souvenirs or sweets, which let’s face it will absolutely be consumed before you even get home. Surprisingly, often the things that are the most simple will leave the biggest impact.
Although I don’t often share video (Instagram stories don’t count) I usually make little travel vlogs for my personal collections to remember all the faces I’ve met along the way. They’re not cinematic productions and I don’t expect them to win awards anytime soon, but they’re mine and they’re precious to me.
What I like even more is shooting video in the moments when people are least expecting to capture the beauty in the everyday. Like my friend Niall, learning how to use chopsticks for the first time or people expressing themselves through dance when they think no one else is watching.
I’ve yet to use it myself but I have a few friends who use the 1 Second Everyday: Journalling app to record their travels in yup, you guessed it… 1 second each day. With just one second to capture at the end of each week, month and even year you’re left with this incredible movie of your life. Also if you’re super lazy/busy then you have no excuse not to give at least one second of your time to this!
I WISH I had started journaling when I began travelling back in 2016 because it pains me to think back and realise so much of those first months have been forgotten. Just taking five minutes to write down what happened at the end of every day quickly adds up to a lifetime of stories. And it will be so worth it, I promise.
Also, there’s something so therapeutic about writing freehand, no editing, no spell check – just you. You might even surprise yourself with what you come up with.
In a culture that’s obsessed with getting the perfect Instagram shot (#guilty), there’s just *something* about having a one take physical photo. I used to display mine on my wall, but as I’m travelling at the moment I keep them in a mini photo album. If you don’t currently own a Polaroid camera I recommend the Instax Mini 9. I feel like it has the best colour range out of all the versions (I got mine in Smoky White). As an added bonus it has a selfie mirror so you can nail self-portraits the first time.
I like to think of myself as a minimalist hoarder. As a student, I used to collect shiny money, which is weird I know but it was just so SPARKLY. Now as I travel pretty frequently it’s just not feasible to accumulate loads of random trinkets (clothes, on the other hand, is another story). But I still like to have little nods to memories, so I collect a room card from every hotel I visit.
Some people collect magnets or shot glasses, but I just don’t enjoy typical souvenirs. For me when I look at them all I can think is damn I really paid £20 for a shot glass that I’m now too scared to touch in case it breaks when I slam it on the counter. Ain’t nobody about that life.
Did you know a sense of smell is thought to be the most connected of the five senses to memory? I smell salmon paste and it reminds me of being four years old having lunch with my babysitter. The smell of wet plants reminds me of being 22 and arriving in Chiang Mai, where the humidity clings to your clothes. And the smell of Thierry Mugler ‘Angel’ reminds me of my childhood at my gran’s house before she passed away. It takes me back to watching her get ready and sneaking away to try on her clip-on earrings when she wasn’t looking.
A fun travel hack I’ve discovered is that using a new perfume for the duration of your trip will take you back to the memories of that place when you get home. Recently, I looked on as my best friend welled up spritzing on her new scent to remember her wedding day for years to come. She couldn’t have looked any more beautiful if she’d tried (tears and all).
Last week I was gifted an incredible trio of perfumes by Fragrance Direct – Si Fiori by Giorgio Armani, Black Opium Exotic Illusion by Yves Saint Laurent and Mon Paris Floral also by YSL. For this past week in Berlin, I’ve been using Black Opium and the moment I first smelled it I knew this was the scent I wanted to take with me. Though it’s light and floral there’s this undertone of coffee that gives it a whole new flavour (plz note it’s not actually edible). It’s the perfect size for popping in a handbag for a day (and night) of adventures.
On one of the first nights of my trip, I was invited to a private party on the outskirts of the city hosted by Samsung NEXT. This huge industrial space had been transformed into a circus for adults complete with a candyfloss machine, art installations and drag performers. I spent the night making new connections and dancing until the sun began to appear in the sky once more. In years to come, I know that I’ll smell that fragrance and be reminded of a whirlwind night of adventure. Of exploring a new city that I’m already counting down the days until I can return to.
I live for these moments and how lucky are we that we live in a world where we have the means to enjoy them time and time again?
What’s your favourite way to keep your travel memories alive? Do you collect any items? Let me know!
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