Hi, it's Amy, and I'm guessing I'm not alone here in this little fact: when I'm on vacation I tend to take a lot of photos. And then there's this: sometimes even while I'm taking the photos I'm thinking about what I want to write about the experience and how I might scrapbook it.
But of course, the vacation ends. You finally make it home and you're faced with that Kilimanjaro of laundry, and the unpacking, and the sorting of mementos and souvenirs, and getting all that sand out of everyone's shoes, and oh yes: normal life, and then all of sudden it's three years after that vacation and you haven't made a dent yet in all those photos.
It's enough to make any scrapbooker a little bit anxious.
If you're nodding your head in agreement, or if you have an upcoming vacation in which you're likely to take lots of photos and have several amazing experiences, I'm here with some tips to make the process less anxiety-producing. There are just two tips, but trust me: they'll help.
anti-scrapper's-vacation-photo-anxiety tip #1:
Write your journaling while you are on your trip.
I keep one notebook that I only take with me on trips. I like it to be a small-ish one, with preferably a pocket. Since it's likely to be stuffed into a backpack or a carry-on, my travel notebook is always perfect bound (with a spine) instead of spiral. (My newest travel journal is THIS ONE by Martha Stewart; I bought it this spring after I filled up my old one with details from the weekend trip my husband and I went on for our twentieth anniversary.) I jot down thoughts, funny stories, notes about delicious meals or unforgettable (ironically enough) experiences.
I also always take a laptop with me on a trip. Once I've wrested it away from my teenagers in the evening, I spend half an hour or so every night writing a more detailed narrative.
The bonus to writing your journaling while you're on your trip is obvious: if you keep it somewhere safe, it doesn't matter if you don't end up scrapping those photos for three years, or five, or seven. The details are already safe from the vagaries of memory, just waiting to be paired with your photos and some cute embellishments.
anti-scrapper's-vacation-photo-anxiety tip #2:
Make a vacation summary layout as soon as possible after your trip.
It doesn't have to be complicated or take up much time. It's pretty simple, in fact: a vacation summary layout is just a space for you to, well, sum up the highlights of your trip. You write down a few small but important details and combine them with a photo (or two) that also sums up the trip. The concept of a summary (noting the main points, purpose, and ideas of something) makes this an easy way to document your trip—a summary is a way of making a large amount of text simple to manage.
Of course, there are lots of different ways you can sum up an entire trip. My favorite is the survey approach, like I used in this layout:
In the little journaling spaces, I wrote down the following details:
1. who went on the trip
2. where we stayed (including the room number!)
3. details about our flights
4. adventures we had
5. the fun things we did that were unique to this trip
6. inside jokes and other things we laughed about
7. favorite meals
9. a brief itinerary of daily happenings
10. a longer note about something unexpected (we didn't know the G20 Summit was happening during our trip until we arrived to find Cabo covered with federal police)
I paired the summary with a photo my sister took of my Bigs and me on the beach. It's a little blurry and the light was starting to go, but I'm happy to have it!
Some other details you could include in a survey:
1. the books you read
2. injuries/illnesses/accidents (surely my kids can't be the only ones?)
3. rental car details or driving experiences
4. one favorite moment from everyone on the trip
5. places: shopping, museums, beaches, hiking trails, visitor's centers, spas, swimming pools, relatives' houses
6. a song that will always remind you of this trip
7. people you met along the way (I once wrote a vacation summary just about the kindness of strangers)
8. your emotional attachment (or lack thereof!) to your vacation destination
9. differences between this trip and the last time you visited the same place
10. a list of something you saw (animals at Yellowstone, for example, or fish while snorkeling or movie stars in Hollywood)
11. the flowers, plants, and trees native to the area
12. something you learned about yourself from this trip
Lisa Ottosson did something similar with this layout
wherein she wrote down some random vacation memories and then used the layout as a springboard for more specific vacation layouts.
Teka shared this layout:
where she summarizes an entire trip in one succinct paragraph.
And Celeste summarizes just one day of a trip:
You can also make a vacation summary layout that focuses more specifically on one type of detail. For example, in this summary layout:
I focused on the memorable meals and foods we ate on our trip. I went this way because my daughter, Haley, had been to Cabo San Lucas once before, and when we decided to go again it was a certain lemonade she looked forward to the most.
Since a vacation to the beaches of Mexico is necessarily concerned with beaches, I made this summary layout:
that includes a few details about each of the beaches we went to. I included info about the beaches in general and the specific things that happened to Jake at each one.
In fact, you could pick any of the ideas from the general-survey type of vacation summary layout and make a specific summary out of it.
It almost doesn't matter how you focus your story. It just matters that you make the layout. You'll be amazed at the anxiety reduction that happens.