Life is made up of fleeting moments that we never truly appreciate til they’ve passed us by. This is what both endears and frustrates me about travel. It’s always the same… One, you get yourself so psyched up over a travel trip, doing all the necessary steps to get you there. Two, you embark on a happy adventure, going through all your planned and unplanned stops. Three, without realizing it, your trip is already over and you’re on the plane back home, desperately wondering how you’re going to cling on to every memory that you’ve accumulated.
Being on a trip is already pretty amazing as it is. But for me, it’s the “looking back” that unfolds the magic. When I reminisce over my trips, I somehow get more insights and realizations because I have more time to ponder over every scrutinizing detail. Always and always, I see how every little thing was a lesson learned and literally everything is magic true to life. Being back home always takes a toll on wanderers, which is why there’s a heavy importance on remembering how it feels to be on our trips. In this way, the wanderlust will be satiated til the next great adventure comes along.
Which is why I want to share a list of unconventional ways to remember your trip forever, that I’ve made and come to know as pretty effective. We all know that pictures, videos, and mementos are great ways to remember the trip. But if you want other ways to get back down memory lane with a much “fresher” perspective, these are the things that I’ve done (which would hopefully be effective for you as well!)
1.) Make a playlist.
On my first Eurotrip, my bestfriend Eunice surprised me with a playlist. There were about 15 songs all in all, and I swear, I raped the replay button on my iPhone listening to it over and over again. She knew all my stops and had certain songs for every country. She also included modern songs I haven’t heard yet, but knew I would enjoy. Because of her thoughtful gift, I can never listen to these 15 songs the same way ever again.
I played “Titanium” by David Guetta ft. Sia the moment I step into a new country. I played “On An Evening In Roma” by Dean Martin while I was walking around Rome at night. I played “La Vie En Rose” by Edith Piaf when I was on my day tour of Paris. I played “Lego House” by Ed Sheeran whenever I’m on a train, watching beautiful scenery outside my window. I listened to “Glad You Came” by The Wanted, every time I leave a country. Listening to this playlist became a musical version of psychological conditioning for me.
The end result? Anywhere I am, no matter where the song plays, the moment I hear these songs I am instantly abruptly taken back to meeting my first friend in Rome, eating Nutella crepe in Paris, biking around Barcelona, and all the other memories that came along with it. Trust me. Make a playlist that compliments your trip. You can even add modern songs, although it’s much better to include those you’re unfamiliar with. Listen to these songs as you go about your trip and these songs will be your magical fairy dust that’ll instantly fly you away to relive your travel memories.
2.) Open yourself up!
Let’s say you’ve always loved pizza. Who doesn’t, right? But let’s pretend that you eat NOTHING but pizza. Even when other people offer you other cuisines: Sushi, Gyro, Adobo, you still stay firm on eating ONLY pizza. That would be a wonderful thing. To eat nothing but pizza… But it also pretty much limits your taste buds to only knowing one thing.
Same with travel. Before you leave, please please please leave your closed mind behind and be ready to open yourself up completely to a whole new world. It’s alright to share with others what is familiar to you. But don’t close yourself off to new experiences, friends and ideologies. When I say “open yourself up”, I mean be a sponge and constantly absorb everything that your senses can take in. See the world with eyes that do not judge, hear the city’s multitude of sounds even when you don’t understand everything, smell the wonderful array of aroma most of which you’ve never smelled before, taste the different flavors and textures of otherworldly food, touch the various facets of a place’s uniqueness.
When you’re back at home and one of your senses pick up a certain sight/smell/sound/taste/feel that you experienced while wandering, it will hit you like a boulder truck. Nothing makes something more memorable than being able to experience it with all your senses.
3.) Make and keep buddies made during your travels.
It’s so easy to become wary of every person you meet during your travels. Who knows which ones have your best interests at heart and which ones just want to take advantage of you! Keep in mind though that everywhere you go, there will always be bad. But the good news is, there will also always be some good.
Don’t be afraid to make new friends from other lands. You’ll never know where it leads you! If you meet them briefly, any small conversation could include something new to learn. If you get along famously, you could be together while you experience a city tour/great restaurant/hiking through nature.
When you tell stories of your travels back home, it’ll always be with a fonder heart because you connected with someone on the trip that you shared these memories with. Even better if you stay connected to these wander friends you meet along the way. With all the technology we have today, it makes it so much easier to keep them at bay! Plus, keeping in contact with these friends means you get to have someone to share a laugh with as you reminisce your adventures together!
4.) Get something out of every memorable stop.
Pictures and videos are mandatory things you have to take at every stop. Souvenirs from tourist shops are also a great option if you have the extra cash. I usually buy at least one item from every place— a bracelet here, a top there, a dress in this shop, and I keep all maps/tickets and the like. On top of these though, I have a different approach when it comes to “getting something out of every stop”.
I love having extra unique experiences in different places that I know I’ll always take with me. An example of this is one of my trips to France. My very first dance class outside of the Philippines, I took in Paris. You have no idea how I was simultaneously frustrated and overjoyed as I spent two hours in that Parisian dance center. My French friend Marc took ballroom lessons there and invited me, so I decided to go. A unique experience to get out of Paris and all that. The teacher did not know how to speak English at all, so I had to learn the steps in French! I learned how to count 1 to 8 in frigging French because I needed the count to keep up with the complicated steps! 3/4 of my classmates did not know English, and the 1/4 that did always had to translate and demonstrate for me. My American friend Chloe and I were so flustered from all the goodwill and encouragement from them! It was so much fun cause dancing is one of my passions, I witnessed humanity at one of its bests despite being lost in translation and the whole thing became a memorable souvenir for me.
Extra unique memories like these make reminiscing a “no fuss” thing because these are the moments that are so ridiculously amazing. Please actively chase these types of experiences cause they’re the best kind. The kind that makes you go “where and when else am I going to experience something like that!?”
5.) Keep A Travel Journal.
This is the most popular advice given to people when it comes to “how to make your trip more memorable”. There’s a reason why it’s so popular– it’s because it’s soooo damn effective. Keeping a travel journal with you can be so tedious cause you have to write a lot during the trip, but it is so worth it in the end!
There’s no better way to completely and accurately encapsulate your thoughts and feelings while you’re on the trip itself than that of a travel journal. I always keep one and whenever I decide to read it, it always makes me laugh and cry because I remember. I remember the version of me that was on that trip as I experience it all for the very first time. Something about anything being your first always makes you so attached to it. When we reminisce, we go back to the trip two, three, four, five, an infinite number of times, but it will never ever compare to the first time that we were there. And for us to reminisce about anything as if it were the first time, is to record our thoughts and feelings as we go about the journey.
If that doesn’t convince you enough to keep a travel journal, then trust me on this.. Keeping a travel journal will be one of your most interesting, entertaining reads EVER. I have one passage that says, “I met a new friend in Pisa (Italy)! He’s a doctor– a cosmetic surgeon and he’s super nice! He’s actually gwapo and has a really great build. He is such a gentleman and very welcoming, I feel very safe with him. He took me to dinner across the lovely Pisa canal bridge and overall, he was great company.” Everytime I read that passage I cringe and laugh to myself as I think, “Oh dear Lord, wait to see what he’ll effing do next. What a skeezy *insert all obscene curse words here* sicko. I have never met anyone as appalling as this guy. Geez.” HAHA. But! More on that story the next time! ;) I just wanted you to see what it’s like to look at your past self as accurately as you can and know that truly, you do know better now.
So there it is, 5 unconventional ways to remember your trip forever! Hopefully it works as well for you as it has for me! Do you do any of these things listed above? Do you have any other ways on how to remember your trip? Be a share bear below with your comments! :) Til then, bon voyage! :)