That scratching of a cheap ballpoint pen on a nondescript notebook. I curse and swear under my breath a couple of times before giving it the good ol’ shake. I’m on a bus, but the sunlight streaming through the window is baking my face. The discomfort is compounded by the air conditioning vent that blows a constant stream of warm air in my face. You could say this was a memory that evokes feelings of misery. Maybe it would have if I forgot the second half of it—which I’ll save for the end of this article.
Here at Anywhr, we’re big advocates of living in the moment, although preferably at off the beaten track destinations. And like everyone else, we can’t help but indulge in reliving the (many) individual experiences we’ve had on our travels. To create the most personalised and priceless souvenirs simply document the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, people, feelings or thoughts of any given moment.
Why Document Your Travels?
#1. Forget Me (it, them, him, her, whatever) Not
With goldfish beating us as a species when it comes to attention span, take the deliberate action of documenting your trips as a practice to counter that. Do you really want to lose to a goldfish at anything in life? The pugs of fish.
Yeah, I thought so. You can book yourself an Anywhr surprise trip with a tap of your phone’s screen, but you can’t order replacement “memories” off the internet if you lose them. Just try to count how many times you said "I'll always remember this", but struggle to recall it a day later. We'd recommend you to document whatever moments that you feel is priceless and defines your trip - no matter how trivial it might seem. For these are what makes your trip unique to you and your personal journey.
The experience of a humble bowl of soup by the street that warmed your cold unfeeling soul or how living the life of a surfer during your quick getaway to a beach paradise opened your eyes to life’s possibilities. Make an effort to remember what triggered it.
Any moment has the potential to become something worth remembering—even if they seem insignificant at the time.
How to Document Your Travels?
You don’t have to be a professional writer to pen your thoughts, experiences and describe a destination. No one is going to whip out their red pen to circle your errors and leave a threatening looking “SEE ME!” on the next page.
With lines and margins or without, the choice is up to you. Jot down what might seem like a fleeting thought before it escapes you or even sketch and doodle.
Eventually, you might even want to type it out and create more polished accounts of your travels. Start a blog, keep it private if you want, it doesn’t have to be for the public eye.
If writing isn’t your thing, a picture or video paints a thousand words. With all smartphones equipped with cameras that are good enough for the average Joe and Jane, you don’t have to invest in a camera just to capture memories in an instant.
Take pictures of and with the people you meet. As you open yourself to a new culture, I’m certain you’ll meet characters that will touch your life in ways big and small. Just be sure to ask them for permission first.
Avoid mindlessly snapping away or recording by slowing down to take note of the subtle nuances of the culture you’ve chosen to immerse yourself in. As you dive deeper into photography or videography, editing and letting your creative side flourish is the natural thing to do.
You could literally start a collection of anything. Enjoy drinking just as much as backpacking? Create a bar collection that shows off your globe-trotting adventures!
I once gravitated to various tickets purchased to get around the countries I’ve been to. It’s probably best to have some sort of folder, something that I overlooked, ending that account of collecting tickets.
A personal success story, however, is my collection of badge patches. A lot more durable than the tickets that have now disintegrated (because of my negligence). Collecting them gives me a mission—like the missions in personalised Anywhr travelogues—to search for and procure these badge patches.
Collecting Memories and Experiences
My moment of dissatisfaction was interrupted by an elderly lady. Poking my shoulder to get my attention she smiled and offered me guava that she was cutting up and eating on the bus. I stared at the piece of fruit for a second or two, noticed her missing fingers (likely due to this particular country’s troubled past), returned the smile, learnt to chill the f*ck out and enjoy life's simple pleasures... like fruit from a stranger on a bus to the middle of nowhere.
If I hadn’t taken 15 minutes to scribble these experiences down, I can’t help but feel that the memory wouldn’t be as vivid. It’s these memories and experiences that you’ll be able to share with friends and family... kinda like how Anywhr shares the lay of the land in our kickass travelogues.