To start looking forward, begin by looking back. What do we mean by this? Well....
We’ve all made some wonderful memories on amazing and unforgettable trips over the past years, haven’t we? I know we certainly have! With so little to look forward to on the international travel front currently, let’s start by looking back at the amazing adventures we’ve shared with family and friends! Our memories of past travel adventures are something to be celebrated and can bring us joy. In fact, researchers at the University of Cambridge have found, memories are essential to our self-esteem, our psyche and our emotional health. Their research showed that recalling specific happy memories can promote resilience, reduce stress and is good for our long-term mental health – which is so important in a post-Covid world! Looking over the past decade, we’re reminiscing over fun-filled family trips to Disneyland, exciting journeys to New York and spending Christmas wandering through quaint winter markets in Europe with the kids. There’s been beach holidays in the Philippines and Fiji and snowy adventures in Canada. Girl-trips to Italy and Japan, cruises to the Caribbean and shopping in Las Vegas and Hawaii. Even cultural extravaganzas in Egypt, Dubai and China! Not to mention discovering more of our beautiful homeland with stays in Queensland, Sydney, Perth, Broome and the Northern Territory!
So…. what best triggers your happy memories of trips you’ve taken?
Are you a souvenir collector? Many of us like to pick up a lasting memento when travelling to new places. I have several scattered around my home that I’ve picked up over the years that remind me of the places I’ve been. I purchased beautiful lemon hand-painted pottery when driving the Amalfi coast. Or it could be that kitsch, but cute snow globe picked up at the airport in Calgary or the quirky little candy-filled red plastic apple from the top of the Rockefeller Centre in New York. Every time I spy it on the kitchen shelf it always reminds me of time spent happily walking the streets of The Big Apple with my kids even long after all the candy is gone. And, of course, there’s the copious magnets that adorn our fridges collected from all around the world.
Or do you look back and recall your past trips best when you call your friend and reminisce about your past adventures together? Chatting with your travel partner is a great way to remember those forgotten moments of hilarity! For instance, when you (unknowingly) parked your car in a tow away zone in Italy and found that the car and your belongings had vanished when you got back from that long leisurely pasta, pizza and wine lunch. Retrieving it was an adventure in itself! The local policemen didn’t speak English and we didn’t speak Italian… but one police officer spoke German and so did one of our group (albeit broken German!) so car, belongings and dignity were eventually returned with a promise to send the police officer a postcard from our next destination (well, that and payment of a hefty fine!). We made good on our postcard (from the Greek islands!) promise but made sure to read all road signs properly from that trip on!
It may be your memories are strongest around the people that you met or the moments you shared with them. A memorable guide on a tour through Xian’s Terracotta Warriors site in China constantly mentions the same little bite of knowledge in her wonderfully accented English…. “Did you know the Terracotta Warriors were once in color?” she repeats time and again. “We do now after the hundreth time you told us!!” says our secret smile to each other! Or what about the time you and your travel partner vowed to keep fit by doing a 7-minute exercise routine in your hotel room every day on a trip through the US? Performing jumping jacks at 5am in the lobby of your hotel while waiting for your airport shuttle can draw some interesting looks - and make for one of those “remember the time you/we….” stories! Like the time you spent hours getting all dolled up and looking good, sporting a killer tan and gorgeous hair, for that awesome insta photo of you on your holiday. Picture this. You’re holidaying in the beautiful Whitsunday islands in Queensland with friends – a couple’s paradise! The hubbies are off playing tennis after a full day of swimming, suntanning and snorkelling in crystal clear aquamarine waters. The girls decide to shrug off the sweaty sporting activity and instead spend the time primping and pampering up for a lovely dinner. Of course, every girl worth her salt has bought along her hair straightener for just such an occasion (yes, that humid tropical air does a frizzy number on the follicles!). Dressed to the nines for dinner and with perfectly styled, shiny hairdo’s, we (the girls) decide to cocktail by the pool while we wait for the boys to catch up. What’s that? Great photo op? We thought so too! While one sets up the perfect shot, the other nears the pool edge for the picture-perfect pose against the sparkling blue water and lush garden. Quick twinkle of the toes in the water and, OHH NO, slippery edge, splash!!! Curly hair be back with a vengeance. Not to mention panda eyes and a sopping wet dinner outfit! I was laughing sooo hard (yup, I was the perfectly dry photographer!) the entire island would have heard my roar!
By far, our FAVORITE way of remembering happy memories on holidays has always been by looking back over our photos! Facebook is very good at reminding us of all those vacation photos we posted one year ago today, or three years ago on this day, but we prefer to look at ALL our photos from start to finish as a way of telling the story of that trip. And scrolling back through hundreds of photos in our camera roll is not very conducive to doing so! That’s why we have always printed photobooks with all our travel memories! Reminiscing by looking back on all the fun times has helped to inspire us and remind us why we travel in the first place – all the happy memories that we’ve made! Some books are designed to be fun and quirky like some of the souvenirs we’ve collected, some of them are full of nature and wonderful vistas, and others are people centred. But all of them are filled with the memories of all the special times we’ve experienced, and the amazing friends and family we’ve experienced them with, and all of them remind us that we have been very lucky to see so much of the world! But we will always harbor a wanderlust to experience more of it! So, until next time world, we will be looking back before we look forward once again!
Take the time to organise, sort and upload your photos while life is at a slightly slower Covid-19 pace, and in doing so, look back over your happy travel memories. (For tips on how to start, check out this great guide from PHLEARN Magazine!). Then share your photos with your family and friends and do your mental health a favour! Cloud storage sites such as Dropbox or Google Photos are fantastic for organising, sorting and sharing photos but don’t trust tech alone to keep your photos safe. Safeguard your photos forever by having a back-up and save your precious memories onto an external hard drive. But the best back up of all is still a printed photo! Let VMWK do all the hard work for you and help you print your photos in photobooks created exclusively for your memories! A travel photobook that tells the story of your adventure is a great way to re-live those amazing trips and can make a terrific Christmas gift for your loved ones too! If Covid-19 has taught us anything it’s that our freedom to roam this beautiful planet with our family and friends, and make new memories, is everything we’ll have to look forward to once again!