What I used to do was keep scrapbooks of my trips. I’d get a big blank book and glue into it every scrap I laid my hands on; including bus tickets, restaurant menus, ice cream wrappers, plant leaves, post cards, photographs, etc. I don’t regret it, not one iota, and I suppose I’d do it again next time I go on extended holiday somewhere.
My last few trips mainly consisted of me hoarding postcards. I love postcards. I beg for postcards from people I know online, who live in places I’ve never been (sometimes places I have been, too), and places I’ll likely never get to see.
Postcards are always better than the pictures I would take myself, and they’re the most handy thing to keep a travelogue on. You can write your impressions of whatever place is on the front of the card. It might not provide much space, but it’s a lot lighter load to carry than a big notebook and such. (Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big devotee of notebooks, writing, journalling, and other such stuff. :>)
The only thing postcards can’t replace, are the people you see. For that you need a camera, but even those can be got cheaply these days.
So, what did I bring away from Montreal outside of a cold and several blisters on my feet from all the walking I did? I have ticket stubs from U2, the Biodome, trip up the tower in the Olympic stadium, train, visit to Notre Dame, a mall map from the Eaton Centre there, and a lot of photographs.
I also brought back the memory of a conversation I had with one of the other guests in the hostel; a conversation that could very well change my life once I mull over the simplicity of what this man said to me.
That, outside of the fun I had, is probably one of the most important aspects of the trip.
I wonder, in a small way, why I don’t keep the scrapbooks that I used to keep. Part of it is lack of time, part of it is just life changes. But maybe it’s just realising once and for all, that the real memories of what you do are not the ones on paper. The real memories are the ones you keep with you inside, and no amount of paper can make them more important or more memorable; though it’s nice to have the triggers.