Artistic brainstorm needed

Granada Graffiti
Source: Travelblog.org

All right readers, I need some inspiration!

As many of you know, come June 30 our family is embarking on what we hope to be a prolonged adventure.

The last time we went on a long trip was about 10 years ago B.K. (before kids).  My wife and I took unpaid leaves from our jobs, bought a pair of ‘around the world’ plane tickets and did some cool things.

During this 100-day excursion, we each kept daily journals.  I recently came upon them in an unlabeled box in the basement.  I’ve spent the last few nights thumbing through them and am so glad we had taken the time to jot down a few pages about what we did each day.  There were definitely days it felt like work to keep them up.

What was most remarkable though, was the flood of memories that surfaced as I read through the pages of mundane daily activities of what we saw, who we met, moods, trials encountered, and the like.  There are experiences I had definitely forgotten, but recalling the littlest detail seemed to be able to bring me back those places in a blink of an eye.

With that said, I’m looking for suggestions of creative ways to document our experience while we’re abroad.  I’d like to create a keepsake of some sort that we can call upon 10 years down the road to be able to rekindle those memories – be them good, bad, or indifferent.

I think this blog will take care of some of this, although I’m afraid my frequency and quality of writing will hamstring things a bit.  That, and I want to experiment a little with multimedia.

I have a couple of ideas and would love to hear yours.  My requirements are:

  • I want to be able to capture something every day
  • I don’t want it to be overly time-consuming or difficult to implement

I’m hesitant to blatantly rip-off something someone else has already done, but I’m thinking of twists on the following examples.

Have you seen other ways in which people have documented certain journeys?  How would you do it?

18 thoughts on “Artistic brainstorm needed”

  1. Sounds like it’s time for Bucking the Vlog- you can make your daily video, upload to YouTube for your eyes only or for the world. I do think it takes a lot of time to edit though, but there are some good ones. Since hubby is a photographer, we do our blurb books , like a Bermuda one . We get it printed and years later, we get a kick out of looking at it, but l think from now on, l will make it more detailed, like adding places we ate at and names etc. you can also maybe do a podcast. Check out marriedwithluggage , they also just recently bought a house in Spain after traveling all over. I am looking forward to whichever way you decide.

    1. Haha. Bucking the Vlog. Although when said fast it sounds like it could turn into a naughty tongue twister.

      Funny you mention Blurb. My wife kept a blog for the first year or so after our boys were born and I ended up turning that into a Blurb book. It worked really well.

      I think I’m leaning toward something that can be easily shared, so I think I’m going to go digital. Thanks for the link to Married with Luggage – will have to check them out further but my initial reaction is that whatever I end up doing looks half as good as what they’ve put together.

  2. If you really wanted to devote a couple of hours per week, you could probably shoot some decent videos with your digital camera or a dedicated camcorder. Then edit (and get the software and skills to edit) the video, then upload to youtube. Get the wife and kids in on the action.

    Let the kids interview you and your wife, and vice versa. Do some selfies, or family selfies.

    Put together a “week in the life of…” video and upload it to youtube (weekly).

    I also like the financial side of travel. Like what you spent on groceries and restaurants (typical costs or a complete summary of all expenses). Transport, entertainment, etc. Gocurrycracker has some pretty good monthly summaries of “Cost to travel the world” that does exactly this.

    1. Good suggestions, Justin. I was definitely going to publish costs (since I already track) and appreciate what Jeremy does over at GCC.

      I like your idea of a weekly video with interviews, some footage of the daily activities that may be out of the norm for us, etc. I know these things usually take a lot more time than originally thought, but I plan to give this a go. I’ll have to kick in the creative side of my brain here too – something that has been a little dormant lately in my current routine.

  3. I’m not too familiar with video ideas, but there is something my boyfriend and I did last year, and enjoyed so much that we’re trying to do it again this year to remember the good times/awesome things we did (of course you can put in anything you want!). We got a clear glass container, about 3-4 inches/side at the base, about 8 inches tall and wider at the top. We have a pen and some post-it notes next to it. If anything good/positive happens that day, before we go to bed, we take a post-it note and write a blurb about it on the non-sticky side. If there are multiple things, we fit as many details as we can on a single side of the note (I’ve gotten good at writing small and picking the best details). We also date it at the top. Then we fold it business-style with the sticky side holding the other flap closed on top of it so it’s like a mini glued envelope and you can’t see any of the writing (this prevents spoilers!). We then put it in the glass container. It is quick yet captures the day. Over the year, we can see it fill up with these ‘post-it envelopes’, which shows us how many good times or pleasant things happened. On New Years Eve, we dumped them out and took turns opening a random one up, reading the date and the blurb (hence the no spoilers – you don’t know what you get til you open it). It took some amount of time, but it was so much fun to spend time together sitting around the pile of happy thoughts, remembering these things, these little details and activities and joys that were forgotten until that point. It was very sweet. We chose to keep them in a box, separated by year, so if in ten years we want to go through them again, we can.

    1. Wow. This is a really great idea. We may need to steal this one. How many would you say you fill out a year (each of you)? Was this a weekly thing (which for 2 of you would obviously end up around 100) or a daily thing (which would turn into hundreds)? If it is the latter, I’m not sure we’d be able to read them all in a night 🙂

      1. Well, to be honest, last year we maybe did abut 20 good ones. This year, we’re maybe at 15 or so, but it’s only March. We fill just one out together so there’s usually one ‘entry’ for the day (we usually do most things together) but I can see if everyone has different days or experiences, each person would want to contribute their own memory! For our own purpose, we do it remember the positive things that make us happy so we can see that we do, in fact, have happy times – we both struggle with depression, so it’s a good exercise to show us that there were good times before and that good times will come again. At the end of last year, it was really nice for us to have the ability to look back at the year and remember all the goodness. I’m hoping that we close this year out at 100 or so! Feel free to steal the idea. 🙂

        1. You’re on track for 60+ good memories this year! That’s more than 1 a week – not too shabby from my point of view. Good stuff, Jamie. Thanks for taking the time to share.

  4. I think you should encourage the boys to do something. The journal is a pretty awesome idea. Have them write at least a paragraph every night before bed.

    For you and the Mrs., I’d get an Instagram feed devoted to this year of your life. Commit to taking at least one picture a day and be sure that you write good descriptions for each one so you don’t have to scratch your head in a decade.

    1. Yeah, this is a good suggestion. I don’t know how tough it will be to get them to do this each night, but I’d like to think they would really appreciate it as they get older and look back at those notes. At age 9, I can’t say how much they’ll remember of this experience as time rolls on. I know I don’t remember much from my third grade year.

      The Mrs. is the photographer in the family and when we take trips, I know she probably takes 20-40 pictures a day now, so one a day in Spain seems very doable. Good stuff, 1500. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

      1. Can’t wait to hear about your adventures!

        I went to Spain (just for a week though) and wrote a bit at the end of every night. I’m amazed when I go back and look at what I wrote. The memories come back like a tsunami.

  5. Go old school and take a dictaphone and tapes with you. At the end of the day, sit down with your traveling partner(s) and simply tape your discussions of what transpired that day – the good, the bad and the ugly. Later, when you listen to those tapes, you’ll be able to hear the wonder, joy, laughter in everyone’s voices and you’ll remember where you went and what you did. (Plus, it’ll be a great gift you can one day give to your grand children, great grand kids).

    1. There is something about just hearing voices that is really cool. When I was growing up in the 70’s, my mom attempted to record our child voices. I’m not sure what ever happened to those tapes, but they are fun to listen to after some time has passed. Great suggestion. Thanks for taking the time to comment, Jim.

  6. I’m pretty sure “Dancing Matt” was an Aussie. I think he was subsequently picked up to do a Visa commercial.

    I think you should try to do a montage of photographs that are filmed the same way every day, but in a different spot, kinda like stop-go animation. It might even be something as simple as taking photos of every meal you eat, then combining them into a fast-paced montage.

    Could even be a photo of you and your family every morning.

    Btw, I’ve nominated your blog for a Liebster Award – http://www.projectikonz.com/million-dollar-blog-liebster-award/

    You’ve probably had it plenty of times, but I really wanted to call out how much I enjoy your blog.

    1. Good suggestion. I think I’ll start by taking pictures/videos daily and hopefully something will shape up out of it. I know some of these things can’t be too contrived and are best created somewhat organically.

      Thanks for the nomination! I’ve never heard of it and after further review, is a creative way to learn about new blogs. And thanks for the kind words – it really goes a long way. I’m winding down the final 3 months of my formal working career, so please don’t be offended if I don’t get to this right away. It’s almost as if they know I’m leaving (they don’t) and are starting to pile it on. Cheers!

  7. Hey Buck, just wandered over here from the R* site. We have quite a few things in common, I grew up in Ohio and have always enjoyed travel. I’m still a big fan of old-school journals. I can correlate digital pictures and videos by date, but nothing captures the moment better than a blank page for what’s going on in your mind. Otherwise you run the risk of ‘over nostaligicizing’ it. I like artist sketchbooks so I can paste / tape in newspaper or magazine bits (or just toss them in with good intentions to organize better someday). My ER hobby will be to digitize some of this, now that scanning and searching is so easy, and I think that in the process I will start writing fiction again. Pretty excited about the possibilities! Good luck in Spain, beautiful choice. We lived in Norway and Dubai when our kids were younger, they are 8 and 10 now.

    1. Hi Steve. You are right, there is something about a limitless blank sheet of paper that is able to capture things that otherwise wouldn’t be. Sometimes I wish I were a better writer or it came a little easier for me though. They say you need to write often to exercise that muscle in your brain, so I think I may take that to heart when I have a bit more free time on my hands.

      I’m going to head over to your site now. I’d really like to hear more about your adventures abroad, especially with kids. Many thanks for stopping by.

Your Thoughts?