Documenting the Journey

We go to a lot of museums. I like to be able to remember what trip was what exhibit, so I started keeping a scrapbook.  My wife is big into digital scrapbooking, and those look nice, but when I started (before digital photography was a thing, so basically when dinosaurs roamed the earth!),I used those sticky archive pages inside of a binder (organized by year) and it’s just worked for me. So I keep doing it. There is something to be said for an actual physically printed photograph.  I mean, I love technology, especially digital cameras (this coming from a guy who used to develop his own photographs just for fun) but I can put my museum map or the admission ticket or something in with a few pictures of Marcus and Tonya in front of their favorite discoveries at each place.  It’s nice to be able to go back over the trips, especially when Marcus says things like, “Dad, where was that creepy place with the Soap Lady?”  I can go pull out the page with him from the Mutter.  Now, my wife would say she’s got all her photos digitally saved on the computer and tagged (she’s a brave and determined woman, scanning in old photos whenever she’s bored on a weekend), so it would take few keystrokes and she’d get it faster than me with my old school index—the kids have timed us like a race; the one time I won, Felicia’s computer crashed.

My index binder isn’t anything special. Just paper where I list each year, and all the places we went in that year.  It’s amazing to see it all written out like that.   All the places we’ve gone and things we’ve seen.  Then I know which book it’s in.  Simple, right?

I’ve had friends who travel around the world and put a pin in a map whenever they go somewhere new.  I know others that make photobooks every year, and that works for them.  I’ve got my binders.  My wife does all kinds of fancy stuff with the computer.  But the point is that these memories are displayed or documented in some way.  That’s the important thing.  To have something that says, “I was there. I saw something meaningful.”  That’s why we take the kids to these museums in the first place.

Especially as I get older, my memory isn’t quite what it used to be. I write this stuff down and even after I’m gone, Marcus and Tonya are going to have all this to look back on.  They’ll remember all those ridiculous places we dragged them (like the Wax Museum we went to in the early 90s in Lancaster, PA, that scared Tonya half to death, I don’t think she’s ever fully gotten over it) because the pictures will be right there in those binders everyone makes so much fun of me for. But somewhere there’s a physical record of it. I highly recommend it. Not just because by now I’d be confused about which place was what if I didn’t, but it’s just cool to see how the kids have gotten older and how we’ve gone from the children’s museums to the dinosaur exhibits and butterfly gardens to sculpture gardens and civil war museums.  It’s like our life story. It’s definitely worth documenting.

What about you? What’s your favorite way to document a trip?