We recently enjoyed a visit with friends headed home from a six-week odyssey. Kathy and Dick were on their 42nd day of a trip celebrating her recent retirement. They had mapped a path across much of Eastern America and into Canada. They included homes of friends and family in their route, scheduling around some predetermined events such as birthdays and weddings.
At the first stop, a friend gave them a blank travel journal to record their adventures. Kathy and Dick decided rather than just record their own observations of the trip, they would invite their hosts along the way to autograph the book as well.
As soon as Kathy made the request that we add our own comments, my gears were turning. This journal-keeping madwoman was full of questions. I wanted to know more, more, more.
Kathy says that she’s not a “journal keeper” of any regularity. She has kept some sort of journal sporadically over the years, but not in a continuous, concentrated fashion.
However – after their wedding, Kathy and Dick had repurposed their guest book from the reception, asking guests in their home to “register”. As the years have gone by, they have continued that tradition and are now on the third or fourth volume of their home guest registry. How wonderful that this couple thought of that at the outset of their lives together and have made it a habit. What wonderful memories they are generating! They enjoy looking back though those volumes and sharing fond memories that would otherwise have slipped away.
Considering that habit, it’s only natural that they would refer to this travel journal as a “reverse guest book.” It includes brochures, ticket stubs, maps, and postcards giving them full access to more details than their hosts might have written. Their cameras and smart phones have more photos to trigger memories, too. But when they arrive home in a few days, their travel journal is complete. Bound. Ready for the shelf. No box of scrambled stuff to sort through to “make a scrapbook.”
Additionally, and even better, their journal has insights from their friends. A collection of memories; their own and others’.