Traveling — It leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.Ibn Battuta
I am a firm believer that every trip should have many or at least one moment that will stick with you for years to come. Everyone loves listening to that one person at get-togethers that seems to possess endless stories of fun, adventure, or something anyone can find interesting. Anyone could be that person.
Every trip is what you make of it. Not every trip will leave you with that life-changing feeling, but there should be something to take away from each vacation that you can use to remember it. Here are a few ways you can do that!
Try Something New
Nothing says remember be quite like trying something new. I’m not saying to try base jumping off of the highest cliff you can find (unless that’s your thing). It can be a couples cooking class where you try foods you wouldn’t normally taste. Instead of making excuses about why you are holding yourself back, say yes to that next adventure or experience.
Do you remember the last 3 things you looked at on social media? How long do they stay in your brain? I’m guessing not very long. Social media tends to be a bit mindless and while that’s fine in moderation, a vacation should be more about being present where you are and finding the time to disconnect from what you normally experience to fully immerse yourself in the new.
Seek Moments and Experiences Over Possessions
I know so many people that go to a country and come back with SO MANY trinkets. When I ask them what they got from their trip, I usually get shown those same trinkets. If trinkets are your thing, awesome. My only hope is that they have meaning behind them instead of a trophy you can use to check the country off your list. Making a trip memorable to me is more about finding little moments that bring an area to life for me and using photos (and maybe a trinket if it applies) to remember it by. When I ask those same people what inspired them to buy the trinket, I almost never get a story, just a shrug and something along the lines of “I thought it was cute.”
Engage with Others in the Moment
If you haven’t talked to a local, have you really visited another country? It can be terrifying. Trust me, I know. It gets even more intimidating when you have to speak another language. Talking to strangers (not creepy ones) can give you so many ideas of what to see and where to eat. It opens you up in a way that few other things can. A huge part of travel is about being vulnerable and willing to open yourself up to change. It’s hard to do that without being fully present and talking to the people around you the make the area exactly what it is.
Keep an Open Mind
Things are going to shock you, that’s why it’s called culture shock. Even when you’re traveling nearby, you may still find things and people that are offensive and truly get under your skin. You might also feel uncomfortable in new situations and that is completely understandable and normal. Take these experiences and look at them with an open mind. How can you adapt to make the best of the situation, especially without offending another culture that sees its practices as an essential part of their identity.
Push Your Limits
This one is tough. We place limits on ourselves to keep us safe and to reduce our anxiety. However, not all limits are healthy. Those dreams to travel the world? Nothing is stopping you! Do you want to learn another language? Go for it! Push your boundaries in healthy ways to make your experiences that much more memorable. If your vacations look and feel exactly the same every time, how will you ever tell them apart?
Share Your Experiences
Please don’t create a 3-hour slideshow of your trip highlights or make your friends sit down and watch the videos you took of your mom eating a baguette. Tell the stories that excite you. Show them the pictures you are most proud of. Create excitement among your friends so you can truly relive those experiences instead of muddling through every step you took.
Take Meaningful Photos
I used to take pictures of ev-er-y-th-i-ng. It got to the point where I wasn’t even sure what country or city I took those pictures in. Now, I am so picky about the pictures I take because I want them to tell a story. It’s way more memorable for me to look at a picture I was excited to take, took time on to compose, and then have the story pop into my mind because of it. Find new ways to take the boring picture every else has and make it your own.
Be Fully Present
This might be my favorite tip. It also might be the hardest to practice. Being present means something different for everyone. For me it means disconnecting from my devices so I can fully experience wherever I am. I make a point to immerse myself in the local culture and seek out truly unique experiences with everyone in my travel group but also when I travel solo. It’s so easy to travel and completely zone out to the experiences and sites by overwhelming yourself. Being fully present means seeking out that one thing that will make the trip mean something to you and go all out doing whatever that may be.