Everyone Has A Story…yes…even you!
What would you want your grandchildren to know about the adventures in your life? Trust me….they will want to know ‘who you really were’!
After decades working in the Museum and Archives field, there is one thing I’ve seen that so many seniors regret. Certainly, there are the standard things - more time with family, speaking up for yourself etc. To be sure, these are important to keep in mind throughout our lives.
The one thing that I’m referring to is a regret, a sadness really, that they have nothing (or very little) to leave behind - and I’m not talking about ‘stuff’. They feel sad that their ‘story’ will go untold. For the most part, that sadness comes from the fact they never wrote anything down.
Most of us have been to amazing places. We have met some equally amazing people over our years. We have have been part of important events and occasions. Take a moment to think back over your own life and you’ll quickly see what I mean.
What did you really think of the places you visited? Did that bit of travel give you pause to think differently about some things in your life?
Under many circumstances, those people, place, and occasions are part of larger assemblage that makes us ‘who’ we are. Those things/places/people have informed our character and they have helped make us unique in ways that give our lives meaning and help define our character.
Your perspective of those people/place/occasions is important. They are every bit as valid as the ones held and written down by the movers and shakers of the world.
What would you say to your Great-grandchild about how those open expanses of the Prairie landscape made you ‘feel’? Did it bring back that
W. O. Mitchell book, Who Has Seen The Wind?
Another side of your story is more private.
Many of you may not find too much appeal in keeping a diary or journal - so I’d like to offer an alternate and, arguably, a more fun suggestion.
Why not begin to get at the story of your life by starting to keep a Travel Journal. On those pages you can begin to write about who you met, where you went, and what you did. You can say things that show just how keenly you’re invoking all your 5 senses to understand a place better or to see an event in new ways.
Here’s something to consider - you will find, over time, that your day-to-day observations in your Journal are way more poignant than you first thought! ‘Time’ makes that transformation for us.
And don’t let anyone tell you that you have to do this in long and poignant narrative passages filled with epiphanies. You don’t! You can make your Travel Journal entries in point-form, and they are every bit as valid. And, when it comes to your critics, at least your story will be told and remembered and theirs will be lost….forever. Sadly, their life will largely go untold.
The handy thing about starting this process with a Travel Journal is that it is, above all, an informal kind of record. In this way, it shouldn’t be intimidating for you to make your brief written entries about the colours of that spectacular sunrise that (as John Mayer said in his song 3X5) …’brought me back to life’.
Describe the smell of that Prairie breeze.
Describe the noises of that community market in Morocco.
Describe your feelings when you woke to that sunrise with no one else around.
Write about what else brought you back to life on your travels…or what else made you think twice….or who’s comments made you question their perspective or yours. This doesn’t have to be long and arduous - it only has to be ‘done’. Get it down on paper now, and you will have that deep satisfaction that something of ‘who you are’ has a much great chance of living on.
My years in the Archives has taught me that someone in the future will want to know more about you. Tell them! And make the process simple on yourself by starting with a Travel Journal.
Above all, have fun with what you record in your Journal - always try to keep in mind…it isn’t a job.
If you honour yourself in this way, you will come away with at least two very important benefits. First, you will have a wonderful sense of satisfaction and accomplishment that you have done something that far too few people actually ‘do’. Lots of people think about it - but too actually few do it. You will be one of that small elite group.
Second, your story will not be lost to time. This is not an ego thing - at least I don’t think it is. As human beings on this planet, we all reserve the right to our own opinions and observations. To record those thoughts and insights and observations is a good thing…and I have seen many times in my work in the Archives that people are eager to know ‘who’ their ancestors really were - not just when they were born and died. Go ahead and tell them - it will enrich their lives and that’s a real blessing to anyone.
You will find lots more “Tips and Tricks” in the Facebook Group - Travel Journal 101. Please join in, and have a great time on your next travel adventure.
Please don’t hesitate to DM me if you have questions about how to start your very own Travel Journal.