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The blank canvas for my travels made the perfect gift for my birthday.

To celebrate my 39th year on this planet, one of my close friends gifted me a travel journal and a Walgreens gift card. My darling and I had a trip to Scotland scheduled for that summer, and my friend knew I would want to document the adventure. Each page of the journal offered a section for writing the day’s summary, but also a place to attach a photo or draw a picture.

Drawing pretty pictures weren’t the purpose of the exercise. Thankfully. Instead, the journal allowed me to record stories and memories not captured in the photos and videos taken on the trip.

By the time our next vacation rolled around, I fully committed to daily logs in a travel journal. My mother (technically, both of my parents, but we know who does the shopping in that household) bought me a new travel journal instead of a card for my 40th birthday.

Our trip last year to Yellowstone took me months to record. While on the trip, Jay and I made bullet-point lists each day. As I committed each hike, wildlife sighting, and geothermal feature to the page, I consulted the notes to help me remember the particulars of THAT special moment.

Forks of Cascade Canyon in the Grand Tetons
Despite the haze of forest fires, this remains a top 10 hike that Camp Fradd has ever completed.

After filling that travel journal with only 2-trips’ worth of memories, I’ve started and finished a second journal. In the page,s I’ve recorded long weekend trips as well as the week we spent with my family at the beach. I’m now on my 3rd journal, recording our 16 day trip to the pacific northwest and Glacier National Park. Jay hovers over my shoulder at times, wanting to make sure I don’t miss a single memory. After all, when the process takes months, there is no guarantee I’ll remember everything.

Second Burroughs Trail – Mount Rainier only 5 miles away (as the crow flies)

When I get tired and journaling starts to feel like homework, I have to remember why I’m keeping the record. The act of writing helps solidify the memory itself. Also, if we have our way, Camp Fradd will travel to so many places together, the memories will start to blur. I love the idea of myself as an old lady, sitting down to read through the journals in my library. Old lady Brooke has a sliding ladder in her library, in case you want to visualize with me.

Remembering my purpose helps re-motivate me when energy, time, or attention span are in short supply.

How do you preserve vacation memories?