Travel Scrapbooking is the Best Way to Beat Your Post-Travel Blues
I’ve always been a collector of keepsakes. My bedroom plays host to any number of ticket stubs, concert tickets, ripped out pages from journals I started and never finished, photos, wristbands, and corks from celebratory bottles of bubbly. I have boxes dedicated to ex-boyfriends, past adventures, a variety of different school years, and even to my first year of university. The stuff I keep ranges from the understandable (letters) to the quite frankly ridiculous (birthday cards dating back at least 5 years). However, it was my travel scrapbooking that helped me finally give some order to these hoarded items.
Box upon box is stuffed to the lid with these colourful reminders of the past, yet I wouldn’t have it any other way. Despite my mum’s best efforts – and my own occasional attempts to pare down my memory boxes – the keepsakes just keep on piling up. I don’t know why, but there’s something so satisfying about rooting through one of those long forgotten boxes and pulling out Polaroids from three years previous.
My obsession for keeping every keepsake doesn’t really make much sense, given that in every other aspect of my life I’m an over-organiser – lists are my lifeblood and my diary is with me at all times. But for whatever reason, I have a sentimental blind spot for old beer bottle labels, pristine old postcards and deflated balloons from my sixteenth birthday.
Having said all that, the organiser within me still rears her neat and tidy head every once in a while, and approximately biannually – usually around exam time – I convince myself I’m going to compile all these neat little memories and put them in a scrapbook. Browse through my bookshelves and every once in a while you’ll stumble across a half-full scrapbook, complete with lavishly decorated front covers, carefully applied photos and quirky, white-ink captions written in a different font every time the turn the page. I hand drew the cover page according to what I hoped was going to be the scrapbook which compiled my entire university career. Alas, I think I stuck in about 12 pictures and called it a day. And the really sad truth is, that’s usually as far as I get. The blank back pages of each abandoned scrapbook taunt me, announcing the absence of the fond memories to which they should be playing host.
This has been my most regretful trait for years – half-filled scrapbooks judging me whilst the boxes of keepsakes just keep on overflowing. Until just last year.
My year-long work placement in Mexico, during which I set myself the challenge of writing a page a day in a diary for the entire time I was there, was over. As predicted, I was left with a collection of treasured memories – signed concert stubs, flight tickets, hostel wristbands, to name but a few – and once again they were languishing between the pages of my diary(s). Neatly tucked away just waiting to be stumbled upon again some months down the line, but thankfully my organised streak had ensured I kept them firmly in order.
As my friends presented me with a dauntingly empty scrapbook upon my return, hoping I’d finally get around to filling it with keepsakes, I vowed this would be the exception that proved the rule as far as my scrapbook making history went. And so I filled them. All three of them. Three finished scrapbooks forming a pleasing trifecta of memories to reminisce over in years to come.
In the past, I realised, I was always overwhelming myself. There was no need to delicately layer each photo on its own page and agonise over the perfect caption – it was for this very reason I could never get around to finishing a scrapbook in the first place. So my year abroad memories are just simply labelled with the date, and location in which they took place. And honestly, taking the year to put together my travel scrapbook was the perfect catharsis for those nostalgic pangs of grief I suffered due to been back in the UK.