What is your fondest travel memory? Mine, currently, is feeling my heart pound with excitement standing on the black sands of diamond beach in Iceland for the first time as the sun was coming up behind the clouds. Waves pummeling the shore and tiny icebergs rocking in the swell. The air was heavy with that salty sea smell from the spray as the bitter cold wind ripped down the beach. The sound of it all a deafening roar but somehow peaceful at the same time. The heart stopping shock of glacial sea water covering my legs and filling my boots as a sneaky wave crashes into me while taking a photo a little too close to the surf.
Think about your favorite trip you have ever taken. What do you remember most about it? Can you still see it clearly? Do you remember how it smelled? What did you hear? How did you feel? Take a second and re-read the paragraph above then close your eyes. Can you hear the waves? Did you wrinkle your nose when a memory of the sea smell came to you? This is exactly how I remember it and how I always will thanks to some of the techniques laid out below.
Pay attention to all of your senses:
Some of the questions above might have led you to this but you HAVE to use all of your senses when you travel. You have 4 times the ability to remember experiences than just staring at them. We are multi sensory creatures and our sight is rarely the most reliable or most powerful memory that we have. Do you remember what your grandmother’s cookies look like? Odds are no. I bet you remember the smell of them baking though or the soft gooey taste of as you burn your tongue eating them fresh out of the oven.
This has been studied at length and the best/ strongest memories we have are the ones that are attached to multiple senses. Focus on what senses trigger the strongest memories for you and leverage those when you are traveling. Really take some time and check in with yourself periodically to really get a good sense of what you like.
Practice at home is crucial. Make it a challenge to take note of your other senses more often. The next time you go out to dinner wait until you get home and try to remember how the restaurant smelled. Was it hot? Did they have fans on? Was their music playing, if so what kind or what song? When your walking your dog are there birds chirping or can you hear your neighbors out doing things? What do you smell? You don’t have to take detailed notes you just have to take notice of what you’re experiencing. You have some pretty amazing ways to take in the world around you without having to see it. If you rely to heavily on just what you can see your missing out on more than half of the information being given to you.
Take a unique perfume or cologne for each trip:
Ok this may seem like a bit of an odd one but bear with me here. Before you go on your next adventure go to Macy’s, Sears, etc basically anywhere that they sell a good variety of scents. Find a scent that YOU like and would wear that is different from the scent you wear all the time at home. Now here is where the trick comes in. Ask to buy a sample size of it. Most places have small vials for a couple bucks. I personally prefer to go to Scent Bird and see if I can get the 30 day supply for $14 because of how well they travel and last well over 30 days. If you want to support the growth of Restless and Wandering you can follow my affiliate link here. Now the next time your travel take your new scent with you and only wear it while your on that trip. When you get back if you have any left put it away for a couple weeks and set a reminder in your phone to dig it out again at a later date. When you pull it back out pop it open and take a whiff. I bet you will be amazed at the flood of memories that come back to you from that single sniff. What you have done is given yourself the gift of good memories every time you come across that scent in the wild. The next time your in line behind someone at the DMV who just happens to have the scent your going to get the same rush and instantly be transported back to that far flung destination where you made so many memories.
(Because your curious Dylan Blue by Versace takes me back to that beach in Iceland)
Steal all of the tea, coffee, and mints:
Ok they are technically free so its not stealing lets just put that to rest first and foremost. The next time you are far from home for an extended period of time and you find yourself staying in a hotel, drink the tea or coffee that they have free in the room. Do this every morning like a ritual. Especially if it sucks, don’t worry you can splurge at $5 coffee chain of choice later if that is your thing. On your last day in your hotel call down to the front desk and get 4 or 5 extra things of your preferred beverage. If you fancy yourself more of a secret agent, like I do, you can undertake a daring mission to raid the maids cart! Save those tea bags or coffee packs away in the depths of your luggage. When you get home drop them in an envelope with the name of the place you were traveling to on the outside. Save them for a rainy cold day when you don’t have anything planned and you need a pick me up. I promise you the first sip of that terrible coffee or that off brand tea will take you right back to that hotel room and the amazing memories you made after that same terrible coffee.