| Written by Joel |
Today we invite Joel to the blog to share some memory keeping tips for traveling families. He and Trish have been overseas a number of times with their little ones, so they know a thing or two about documenting on the go.
1) Keep short notes
When you're traveling with family, there's not much time to sort out your memories. Inevitably, there's not much time either when you return from your travels because you'll be too busy restoring your everyday household routine. So it's important to develop a simple discipline or habit that will set you up well for your memory keeping endeavours. It can be as simple as getting to the end of the day, jotting down all the places you visited down the margin, and then jotting down the titles of your stories, like "Basel - the time we lost a wheel from our stroller" or "Shoreditch - the place that never rests (and we didn't either)".
2) Pack light
Over the years, the gear we bring on our travels has gotten smaller and lighter. From the days back in uni when we not only carried an array of film and digital cameras, as well as external lens filters and tripods attached to our backpacks, to the present where we are more concerned with holding kids' hands rather than any extra camera gear. Trish allows herself the enjoyment and pace of her one 35mm film camera with the one 50mm lens and that is all. I carry a simple digital SLR camera with the 35mm lens or 50mm lens depending on where we are heading. Ultimately, the simpler the setup, the easier it will be to want to take a photo and to be able to do so too.
3) Any experience can be a memory
Don't discount any negative experiences as memories. In fact, they're the sort of experiences that keep us grounded in reality and help us deal with everyday struggles. We did the beautiful South Island road trip with two young boys, but that brings back the memory of Luke, only a few months old at the time, crying almost every minute he was in the car. I have it recorded in one photo - we had stopped by the roadside so I could take a million photos of the astonishing view - but it's the single photo I took of Trish's weary face through the car mirrors that tells much more of our story. We also remember landing in Singapore when Jesse was almost three - he didn't sleep the whole flight as he was enthralled by all the buttons on his seat. The boys were buzzing as we lined up for immigration: four perfectly formed lines, save for our two toddlers weaving in and out of the lines. They were frustratingly unstoppable. These sort of experiences are painful at time, but as time goes by, they become precious memories that give our souls something to laugh at. This is life.
4) Don't forget to enjoy making memories
This is probably the most important! You can't keep memories without making them. You've probably read many articles about mindfulness, switching off your phone and staying present. So let me share that being able to travel with kids is a great blessing to them. When I reached working age, the thought of how much my dad would've spent on our family holidays with three kids always made me shudder a little. But now that I'm a dad, I realise that most of my childhood memories are made up of the things I did every day (like watching cartoons on the bean bag) as well as our annual trips to Port Stephens and Melbourne. It makes me all the more grateful for the way my parents invested all that time, effort, and money into making such wonderful memories for our family.