Travel memories

While packing for my next trip, I came across the ticket stubs from my last trip. It’s not an uncommon occurrence, but this small discovery caused all the memories from that trip to come flooding back as if it had been just yesterday—and not five weeks ago.

I don’t know if the gray sky today has given my brain a tinge of melancholy, or if there’s another reason behind the ease at which I fell into daydreaming. We all have our memory triggers. For some, it’s a smell that can bring back even the slightest memory we think we’ve tucked away for good. For others, it’s a sound, or combination of them, that best holds a memory of a place. Other senses, too—whether taste, or sight, or touch—all come into play when we’re reminiscing about our travels.

It reminds me of an essay in World Hum from Pico Iyer about why we travel. A particular section describes how, after his first trips to Southeast Asia, he would lie awake and play back his experiences in his memory, page through his diaries and look at his photographs.

Anyone witnessing this strange scene would have drawn the right conclusion: I was in love. For if every true love affair can feel like a journey to a foreign country, where you can’t quite speak the language, and you don’t know where you’re going, and you’re pulled ever deeper into the inviting darkness, every trip to a foreign country can be a love affair, where you’re left puzzling over who you are and whom you’ve fallen in love with.

I re-read that essay every once in a while, and the last time I read it was on that most recent trip—the one from which I found the tickets. Appropriately, it’s a country that I fell head over heels in love with, which is likely why it’s so easy for me to touch those memories.

Regardless of which particular senses trigger your travel memories, do you actively seek them out (like keeping mementos on your bookshelf), are you surprised by them when they come knocking on your door, or is it some combination of the two? Let us know in the comments section.

Posted by | Comments (1)  | August 23, 2011
Category: Notes from the collective travel mind

One Response to “Travel memories”

  1. Carla Says:

    I know what you mean. I went on my last international trip back in April 2011. I am now thinking of traveling again. Like you when I was checking my bags, I ran across the old boarding passes, electronic tickets etc. Yes you are right it does bring back memories..hopefully good ones.