Words aren’t everyone’s first choice for expression, so I’d like to share three non-wordy ways to capture your trips so you can make more of them both while traveling and when you return home.
The din of another place speaks volumes about its culture. The sound of a London siren, the crescendo of a heated conversation in Rome, or the sounds of street vendors hawking their wares in Bankok can transport you and others to that moment in time.
Capture the sound landscape of your journey and you’ve got a powerful mnemonic to access anytime. Carry a tiny digital recorder, archiving sounds and accentuating your sense of hearing.Make a lot of short clips so you can more easily edit and share them. I use a digital recorder and the program Audacity to edit my podcasts and sound clips. Narrate events, publish podcasts, record sound bites. If you’re a blogger, these audio bits can add dimensionality and depth to your posts.
We learn a lot about a place through its cultural icons. Symbols represent a place’s history and values. Paris’s crest features a boat, reminding us of the past importance of the city’s watery artery, the Seine. Scout for symbols on city crests on buildings and public places such as bridges, fountains, gateways. Look for symbols on family coats of arms (think Tuscany), currency, and stamps.
Here are two ways to engage with symbols when you travel. Capture them in your journal and make up your stories to ascribe your own meaning to the symbols. Recording the symbol in your notebook will make it easier to do research if you’re interested in learning the official meaning. You can also reflect on your own symbology. What symbolizes you? What would be on your flag, family crest, stamp or currency? Make a sketch of it in your notebook.<
Without a map, you can be helplessly lost. But there are other kinds of maps other than the ones you use to orient yourself in the world. Maps can provide a quick way to tell a story or pinpoint important information. Use maps to chart your unique process.
Play with mapping the following territories:
- Your emotional state
- A memorable meal
- Things that inspire you
- Moments of transformation
I did a fun map of the emotions of a journey. What territories can you map to express your journey?
Try these ways to capture your memories and invent your own.
When can you find time to jot all this down in your journal? I record snippets in these pockets of time:
- Over coffee in the morning
- During my afternoon café break
- Traveling between countries on the train
- While waiting for public transportation
Use these creative travel tips while traveling. Don’t wait until you’re back home to record it all. Keeping a journal in this way helps you appreciate and absorb more while traveling.