As I write this, I’m still jet lagged from almost 2 weeks of travel through Italy and Greece with my husband, Kevin, and daughter, Emily, who is studying there this semester. Our travels included the cities of Rome, Siena, Athens, Delphi, the Island of Crete, a ton of little towns in between and so much beautiful countryside. After 8 plane rides, 2 train rides, several bus rides, 1 tram ride, countless car rides and hundreds of miles on foot (okay, that might be an exaggeration, but it felt like it!), we were ready to return home with our memories and about 1800 photos.
Because it’s what I do, I’m always looking for new, creative ways to capture my memories, and when you have an opportunity like this (and quite frankly you’ve spent a lot of money on the experience), you owe it to yourself to find a way to relive those memories.
Here are 6 tips for when YOU take the BIG trip…
1. Bring the big camera
This is for those crazy people like me that still own the big camera, because truthfully, it takes amazing pics. My biggest packing dilemma was this...should I just rely on my iPhone 7, which takes excellent pictures, or should I lug around the big camera? Space was at a premium and it’s heavy. I ran into my photo loving friend, Lisa, a few days before we left and shared my dilemma. Her response was priceless. Basically (after she rolled her eyes at me and visually said, ‘duh’), she kindly but firmly said, “take the big camera”. She was right.
2. Take daily notes
You think you will remember everything…but you won’t. It all starts to run together and names of places in other languages make this even harder. Me, I can’t seem to keep the names of the Pantheon and the Parthenon straight. Some people call this a travel journal, but that sounds too hard. I literally took a spiral notebook from our school supply bin and bulleted our activities each day.
3. Take pics of signs, tickets, brochures and maps on the spot.
We often collect a ton of stuff along the way, which is great, but if you snap a pic of it right away, it is super helpful when you are trying to figure out what a picture is...AND you now have a digital copy to include in an album.
4. Take pics on your phone, too.
For some, your phone might be the only camera you use, which is totally fine (as long as it takes good pics). There are so many great things about phone cameras. For me, it didn't always make sense to lug around the big camera, or I just didn’t want to, so having my phone camera too, was perfect. Secondly, it is so much easier to share pics back home and on social media with a phone. I couldn't do this easily with my big camera. Third, I loved the convenience of being able to delete the bad pics and doubles along the way in planes, trains and cars. It saves time later. And lastly, if you love to take videos, phones make it super easy and convenient. Overall, easy is a must when you are en route, because if it isn’t easy, you won’t do it.
5. When you get home…organize your photos right away.
I was anxious to see my big camera pics when I got home. However, I wasn’t super excited about going through the process of organizing and gathering all of the pics we took (the big camera, my phone, Kevin’s phone, Emily’s phone). I’m not gonna lie, it takes some time, but can I tell you how glad I am that I’m doing it? In looking at the pics, I’m already forgetting what things are, especially the names (so grateful for my notes!). Because of this, and because I’ve worked with enough people on projects where they only have their memory to go on, I’m willing to invest the time in order to capture the memories. You too will be SO grateful you did this! Here are the steps I recommend to organize them:
- Gather them up into one folder on your computer.
- Back up that folder. Hopefully you have a backup system in place already, but if you don't, copy this folder onto an external hard drive, flashdrive or in the cloud.
- Delete the bad pics and doubles (or triples, etc. that you took so you could get the perfect pic). Don’t spend hours on this. If you are debating it too much, keep it.
- Sort the pics by date. This is where we give thanks for the invention of digital photography...the dates are built in! Let your computer do this work.
- Rename the pics. In our perfect world, we want to rename the pics in a ‘when, who, what, where’ naming convention. The more detail, the more information that will be archived and remembered. If you don’t have that in you, at minimum, rename using the date and maybe the location of the pic. This can be done in batches, which makes it really quick. Always start with the year(4 digits)-month(2 digits)-date(2digits). For example, a good name for this photo would be: 2017-10-20_Emily_AgiosNikolaos_Greece.jpg.
6. DO SOMETHING WITH THEM!
Once you have your pics organized, do something with them! I am going to try to find time to do a slideshow that we can share with our family during the holidays (with the goal of making it interesting...not all 1800 pics!), an album (because there is nothing like sitting down with a printed album and reliving the memories...and sharing them for years to come) and likely some display pieces for my home. I can’t even wait!
When Em decided to study abroad, it really wasn’t much of a decision for me whether we needed to go for a visit. It was more a matter of how to make it happen. While the job is a little daunting as I stare at these 1800 pics, I know from experience that once I get started, it will go fairly quickly. Because we know getting started is the hardest part, it'll be important for me to schedule the time to do it. It's a good challenge to have.