I just had a most unusually delightful day chronicling my life abroad since relocating. I’m not one to really scrapbook in terms of cropping photos and edging them with decorative borders and such (why not? Because I’m lazy.), but what I do maintain is literally a book of scraps.
If you’re moving to London, you will most likely also want to have some way of preserving the experience for future reminiscing. It’s such a difficult task to consistently accomplish, though, when you proceed to have a busy life of work, travel, and social opportunities galore in this vibrant city. What I personally do to stay quasi-on top of things is sort my digital photos in my iPhoto application in the meantime under different folders for each country. I brighten/contrast them as necessary, delete any undesirables, and arrange them in an order conducive to eventually compiling in a photo album. Facebook has been an ideal way to share these photos in the short-run with family and friends back home, and taking the time to write captions when uploading albums to this social network will save me the time to do so when I finally tackle the official photo album. No clue when in Hades that will come about, but Kodak Gallery or other photo sharing sites online is the easiest way to knock this one out—choose an appealing album cover, page color, and individual page layout, then just drag-n-drop those perdy photographs and copy your Facebook captions or pull snippets from your travel journal (I think it’s okay in this case to plagiarize yourself ;)).
Speaking of which, I’ve always been a bit of the “Dear Diary” type, so am naturally predisposed to chronicling my adventures the old-fashioned way of pen-to-paper. But if keeping a physical travel journal is not your style, my moving-to-London advice is at the very least start your own travel / blog for taking timely notes of your experiences. Not necessarily day-to-day, but you’ll know for yourself when an experience is something special to document. For as much you’ll treasure and remember of your life out and about in London and all over the world for that matter, there’s plenty you’ll have forgotten by the time you finally make time for your albums. The details and inside jokes that could make your photo album captions entertaining and in-the-moment for others to peruse as well might instead give way to the blandness of a slideshow clicking by uneventfully (unless it’s narrated by Don Draper).
Okay, so I’ve got my travel journals and my photos standing by in iPhoto and Facebook, but the one nasty task I finally stared down this morning was getting caught up on a year-and-a-half’s backlog on scrapbooking. This is where my previously mentioned book of scraps comes in. Years ago, my family had given me a beautiful Creative Memories scrapbook with a tapestry cover designed like an antique map of the world. I was still living in the States at the time, but often traveled internationally, so that’s clearly what they had in mind. Well, I could never figure out which of my destinations was most worthy of a quality book—it stood out as something so special compared to my others. Who knew back then that my London relocation was what I was waiting for (and here I thought I was just procrastinating…).
Anyways, my book of scraps does have nice patterned pages to save me that effort, so all I do is pull out my double-sided tape and start arranging and affixing all those receipts, tickets, pamphlets, beer bottle labels, coins, candy wrappers—whatever random stuff it is that gets shoved into my purse during trips or sightseeing in London. On the first pages, I even have our plane tickets and luggage tags from that flight over to officially live here…my God, I had even snapped off the handle of a Marks & Spencer plastic fork (that I’d actually rewash) for our use before our moving boxes arrived. The best part of my day (next to getting to relive all those amazing travels) was scrapbooking to the sound of two books-on-CD by the Bronte sisters: Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre. I’d read both of them before, but this was such a calming way to reunite with those characters as I reunited with my memories.