I figure there’s two categories of people when it comes to visually documenting life’s memories…the ones who take a photo of everything and the ones who have a thick layer of dust on the camera sitting on the shelf. I fall into the former category. The food we ate at Brick Lane in London? Captured it. My son’s first airplane ride? Captured that, too. Standing in line at Leo Burdock’s in Dublin? Got it. The bike my husband test drove down the streets of London? Click. Why? Because it’s the little moments that you think you will remember, but I got news for you. You won’t. You think you’ll never forget, but as new memories invade your thinking cap, the only thread keeping the old ones there are visual reminders.
Make the fleeting moments last forever. Take a visual snapshot.
There’s two reasons I value documenting your travels with your camera.
1. They tell a story that needs to be passed down. My husband and I traveled a lot before we had kids. Typically, twelve weeks out of the year we were traveling. We visited some awesome places like Thailand, Norway (in the dead of Winter, mind you), and India. My kids love to get the photo books out and look at where our adventures took us. Those simple photographs spark memories in my mind and stories for me to share, stories that I would have otherwise forgotten had there not been a photograph to document it. As they listen eagerly and laugh at the thought of their parents doing some crazy stuff, I love that they are hearing memories that make up stories for them to pass down (like crazy stories of flying halfway around the world without a ticket). It’s part of our family heritage.
I still remember sleepovers at my Nana’s house when I was younger. She would tell us stories of her childhood on the farm and making “cootie dolls” out of sticks. When I stared at those black and white photos carefully tucked in photo corners in her album, it was like I could imagine it in real life. I’ve retold that cootie doll story many times to my daughter. I love that my grandmother’s memory still lives on through the stories I pass down.
2. It creates lasting bonds when you reminisce together. Our favorite family vacation was the year we went to the Grand Canyon and then took the kids to Disneyland. I don’t remember a bad attitude the whole time we were gone. It was just plain fun. I took lots of photos and then made a photo book for each of them, similar to this one. Every once in a while, when they are feeling nostalgic, they get those photo books out. As they peruse the pages, they bring up memories. We laugh together and add our little bits and bobs to the story. It’s amazing how something as simple as documenting that fabulous trip through photography has continued to bring us together when we reminisce.
So let’s forget the how-to’s that can so easily entangle us in perfection, and steal Nike’s slogan. Just do it! Capture the memories that you never want to forget. It’s a part of your story!