Nick and I spent this past weekend engaging in a bit of hiking, biking and yoga while in Palm Springs for our dear friend’s wedding (you have to pack it all in when you’re traveling without the munchkins!). As we headed up the Museum Trail mountainside we reminisced about runs we’d done on past wedding weekends and while we remembered most of them (steamy Central Park, rainstorm in Canadian countryside, edge of Lake Tahoe, vineyards in Napa, along the Potomac River in DC) we could not recall every run. And this concerns me. Not being over the age of 40 quiet yet, I take pride in recalling the important events in our lives by memory and, if that fails, I turn to my journal. But herein lies the problem…one actually needs to WRITE in a journal to set these moments in mold.
In our 20’s and early 30’s we traveled to some fantastic spots out of the country – Bangkok and Ko Phi Phi, London, Paris & Provence, Costa Rica, Mexico… We (mostly me) were diligent about keeping detailed journals. Every morning over coffee we took time to look back on the prior day and recall the highlights…markets, food, people and, most importantly, the unique experiences which came with each turn in the day. I often had purchased a new journal specifically for each trip. By the end of the trip the journal was stuffed with metro stubs, receipts, pamphlets, maps, and were all well-worn from the messiness of traveling in varied conditions.
But as our family has grown to 5, these trips although fewer, seem to never get written down. And if they do the thoughts go something like “oh, and Emmett and I took a train to Chicago to meet Nick for a few days.” Not a lot of detail. Since we’re usually juggling strollers and the like, whenever we do take a moment to relax journaling does not come to mind.
This winter I decided a change was needed. After receiving a small journal from the Victoria & Albert Museum (cheers Carrie) for Christmas, this soon became my new and dedicated Travel Journal. I brought it along with me to Palm Springs on a girlfriends’ trip in February and loved including all the details which keep our memories alive.
Here’s the deal. Not only do I want to look back on these adventures in my life and be reminded of the smells, the tastes, and the sights, but I also want my kids to know how their parents spent their years together both before and after they arrived on the scene. I recently found a journal my mother had kept while traveling in Europe with my Nana in the summer of 1960. Between seeing a burlesque show in Paris to meeting the Pope in Rome, mom experienced more than I had ever imagined and much more than she has every mentioned. When I read the words I stepped right into her saddle shoes, a young American girl trying to make sense of Europe.
Of course, what moved me most was the last page. Thankfully, even as a teenager, Mom had enough insight to understand one day she would look back and use these scribbles to recall another time in her life. She just had no idea her own daughter would be reading every page and appreciate it just as much.