Happy Talk with happygirljan at pixels2Pages.netI love a good road trip! I have such fun planning a route (knowing that I won’t stick to it, but at least having a general idea where I’m going), checking out things I want to make sure to see, stopping at unexpected treasures along the way, sampling local foods, taking pictures, enjoying time spent on the road and ‘unplugged’, and just being free from routine.  The next best thing to actually taking the trip is reliving it through my photos and stories in my digital scrapbook, long after the trip is over.  Isn’t it funny how seeing one photo can send you into gales of laughter or remind you of things, places, people or meals (!) that you hadn’t thought of in forever?  Imagine how much fun I have holding an entire digital photo book in my hands!

When I make my photo books (and don’t ask, but I confess I am WAY BEHIND on FINISHING many of my books!!) I like to include lots of journaling.  I want the details – Where was I?  Why did I stop there?  What was significant about the place? What did I eat that was so delicious and where was it? Who was I traveling with and who did I meet along the way? How long did it take to get from here to there?  I really want to be able to revisit those places in my mind – and here’s a fringe benefit – I can help other people plan their trips!

When my sister and I made our first ‘official’ Sassy Sisters road trip back in the spring of 2006, we tackled Route 66 from St. Louis, Missouri, to Santa Monica, California.  We started at our mom’s house in Paducah, Kentucky, and that’s where we ended up, taking a different route home.  One of my friends suggested that we do this new thing called ‘blogging’ along the way.  I had just purchased my first laptop, so I bought an internet plan for my little flip phone, and planned to do just that.  One slight problem, though – not only did we not have internet connections for most of the trip, we didn’t even have cell phone service!  Blog fail!  We resorted to Plan B, and used the tape recorder Kim brought to record things we saw along the way.  We also had lots of books, maps, and special Route 66 resources that really helped me remember details of the hundreds of photos we took.  Since SBC was not available at that time, I have three traditional albums for that trip – two stuffed-to-the-gills 90 page volumes and one PicFolio.

The next year, I decided to try the blog thing, so I set up  RoadsideGiants07 – check it out and you will see how crazy we are!  We started in Paducah again and headed north, stopping for Kim’s daughter’s college graduation at Ball State and then onto Chicago, by way of Michigan, just because.  We enjoyed a few days in Chicago, then picked up Route 66 to complete the previous year’s adventure.  We stayed on the Mother Road until we hit the Texas state line, at which point we headed north on Highway 83, aka “The Road to Nowhere”.  Did I mention we make every attempt to avoid interstates and chain restaurants?  We make exceptions after dark and for Sonics.  The Road to Nowhere took us (sort of) to Mt. Rushmore, which was our ultimate destination on the “Roadside Giants” tour.  We came home via South Dakota, Iowa, and Illinois (believe it or not, more Rt. 66!).  SBC+ was available by the time I worked on that book, so I have a 100 page volume that I never tire of reading.  I sure wish I had known about the align tool, or that I had had any Blueprints, but it was so easy to journal a LOT because I just copied my blog posts and then edited them to fit!  No wondering about where we were or what happened when – I had it all down.

By the next year, I was almost a pro at the blogging thing!  I even set up a different blog for my overseas trips, and while I haven’t finished those books yet, either, I have all the details I need, and many of the photos are already selected. It was through my “Jan Down Under” blog from 2009 that I made friends and connections with some of the original p2P team.  In fact, it was five years ago today that I came home from that first trip to Australia!   I started a new blog that is home to our Sassy Sister trips from 2008 (Ye Olde Curiosity Tour – New England), 2009 (From Bourbon and Bluegrass to Blues and BBQ) and 2010 (It’s a Capitol Idea), although I have to admit that about midway through the 2010 trip, I stopped blogging, because I was putting everything on Facebook and it was too much to do both.  So let’s move on to social media, because Facebook and iPhones totally changed the way I documented my journeys.

I didn’t want just anyone knowing exactly where we were or had been or might be, so I set up a closed Facebook group (Go Sassy Sisters) for our trips in 2010, 2011 (New England Redux), and 2013 (Rocky Mountain High).  I’ve taken a couple of other big trips that went on another closed Facebook Group (Food, Friendship, and Fun) – Mary and I went Down Under in 2012 and then Justine and I toured most of the eastern US last year.  It was so easy to snap photos with our phones and post them right to the group, with quick captions, but I have to admit that Juzzy and I stayed so busy and covered so much ground that we didn’t do a terrific job on our Facebook posts.  The main thing I want you to glean from this is that blogging or posting on Facebook while you are on a trip and the experiences are fresh are great ways to make sure you have the information you need when you make your digital scrapbook.

Enter Pinterest….now I have pin boards of places I want to go and things I want to see.  I can make boards of places I’ve been to share with others.  I even have some ‘secret’ boards where I’ve asked trusted friends for suggestions for this year’s Sassy Sister trip.  Again, I don’t want the boogey man following us!  I can pin pages I’ve made about the trips I’ve taken.  Pinterest has opened a whole new world of planning and documenting my trips!  You’ll be hearing more about Pinterest and pixels2Pages in the next few weeks.  Follow along with us!

But now for the caveat….it’s very easy, if you’ve blogged or posted to Facebook or pinned things on Pinterest, to get home and feel like your job is done.  You’ve already shared your best photos, and you’ve written about your experiences, and you always come home from vacation ‘behind’.  Life gets in the way, and getting those photos printed takes a back seat.  Trust me, this part I know!!  I encourage you to stick with it.  Sort your photos, but use your blogs and Facebook posts and pins to help you get something printed.  Do something easy first if you want – make a calendar, or a photo panel, or even a canvas print of your favorite photo.  Make a set of ornaments or coasters.  Print SOMETHING that will be a permanent reminder of your journey, and then persevere and make your digital photo book.  Not much will top the feeling of accomplishment you will get when you hold that finished book in your hands!

Above all, have fun with it!

P.S.  I’m aware that there are services that can print books from my blogs, but I’d rather make them myself using Artisan and Historian software, even if it takes me a while to get it done.

Here are a few pages from my 2011 Sassy Sister book, New England Redux:

p2PHangingFourBP Page by Jan McCallum for pixels2Pages.net "Adventure" Fonts: Expletive Deleted, My Own Topherp2PACMIBP Page by Jan McCallum for pixels2Pages.net Content: CM Vintage Digital PP; Fonts: Scribblebox, Sapphire Sativa, My Own Topher

p2PMinnamurraRainforestBP Page by Jan McCallum for pixels2Pages.net "Weather Vanes" Content: CM Traveller DK; Fonts: Rat Infested Mailbox, Glitter, The Blue CabinBlueprints, Content, and Fonts Used:
“Adventure” – #p2PHangingFourBP; Fonts: Expletive Deleted, My Own Topher
“Charleston West Virginia – #p2PACMIBP; CM Vintage Digital PP; Scribblebox, Sapphire Sativa, My Own Topher
“Weather Vanes” – #p2PMinnamurraRainforestBP; CM Traveller DK; Rat Infested Mailbox, Glitter, The Blue Cabin

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6 Responses to Blog: Social Media, Blogs, and Photo Books

  1. dachiemama dachiemama says:

    Before smart phones, social media or even accessible internet, I would journal every trip at the end of the day or on the way home. I took a notebook with me and just wrote everything by hand. Of course, then, I was traditionally scrapbooking and writing everything by hand anyway, so it didn’t seem unusual.

    • Jan says:

      It’s funny, dachiemama, I was not very good at keeping a journal when I travelled. I would take some notes, but I didn’t write nearly the detail that I do on the computer. But I sure kept TONS of memorabilia and took pictures of every sign so I would know where I was when I took the next pictures. It’s whatever works for you!

  2. Linda DeLaughter says:

    Oh Jan! I Love, love, love the “Weather Vanes” page! I, too, love to take many photos of the same thing, i.e., front doors, windows, barns, etc. Your pages are gawjus!

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