If you’ve been to our Facebook page recently you’ve probably noticed that I’ve been scrapping my Dad’s European trip photos. In June and July last year, Dad travelled with a friend from Lithgow – where he lives in country New South Wales, Australia – to Europe, visiting Rome, Florence, Venice, Innsbruck, Vienna, Budapest, Prague, Berlin, Hannover, Amsterdam, Heidelberg, Karlsruhe, Strasburg, and Munich. He and Bob are both keen geocachers (if you’re not familiar with geocaching, it’s like a treasure hunt for grown-ups, with GPS), and they had an absolute ball travelling around Europe on trains, seeing the sights, meeting interesting people, and most importantly logging their finds.

It took me a while, but I finally got hold of Dad’s photos from his trip, loaded them into Historian, and am travelling along with them vicariously as I make a book about their adventures. It helps enormously (ha! pun on my Dad’s name – Norm), that Dad kept a diary during his travels, as well as sending home emails almost every day. I copied all those emails into a Word doc, and as I work through the photos, I can add his own words for the journaling. Dad is not overly loquacious (I love that word), but he has a quirky sense of humour and the bare bones of the story are there, along with some of his impressions of what he saw and experienced.

Sometimes it’s not that easy to identify landmarks in the photos if he hasn’t mentioned them in his diary, or if I don’t know which of the many buildings in the photos is the one he has written about. I can’t really call Dad every 5 minutes while I’m scrapping, but I have other resources to help me. A quick Google search will usually bring up plenty of images of a particular church in Venice, or castle in Budapest, that I can compare his shots to. To identify a statue near one of the bridges in Florence, I used Google maps to “visit” that bridge, then just shifted the view until I found the statue. It’s actually a lot of fun doing the detective work.

The internet also helps with all the dates and details that I like to include on travel pages – information about the history of the people and places, details about architects, how many years it took to build a cathedral, what pivotal events took place in that square, or that palace, or what famous person once lived in that nondescript corner room. The sort of stuff that brings history alive and makes a “just another street scene” photo suddenly seem full of meaning and significance. Not everyone is a history or culture nut, I know, and that’s OK. But if you are, it’s really such a thrill to (even vicariously) see the house where Vivaldi was born, the work of Michelangelo, or the palace where warring nations finally made peace.

On a more personal level, too, it’s a joy to make this book for my Dad because of the experience it gives me of seeing Europe through his eyes. What he chose to visit, the photos he chose to take, and the impressions he gives of the places and people tell me as much about him as them. That’s why I love that I get to do what I do: make photo books that record these memories and will keep them alive for the next generation and the next. I love that I get to go on this journey with Dad, and turn it into something beautiful and meaningful. Speaking of which, I’d better leave off writing and get back to work. With 45 pages done, I’m only up to day 12 of 45!

Here are some of the pages I’ve just done about Venice. Content used: Venetian Scenes – #p2PDaytonaBP. Katie Pertiet (Designer Digitals) ChelseaRae Solids Paper Pack. Font: Covington. St Mark’s Square – #p2PTimeOfMyLifeBlueprintBook. Cottage Arts Autumn Enchantment Pak. Fonts: Jellyka Delicious Cake, Modern No.20

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8 Responses to Blog: The joys of vicarious travel

  1. Deanna Emmert says:

    I could have minored in Geography in college. One of my “weird” and fun ways for me to relax is to head out to Googlemaps and start my “vicarious traveling” adventures. It’s a great way for me to “see” what places are actually like and whether or not I would really like to visit there in person. Great blog, Allison! Enjoy your adventures!

  2. tverd76 says:

    My husband and son traveled together to LA for a camping trip, Daytona 400 for a Nascar, and The Netherlands and Germany for OctoberFest. Using his emails, his aunt’s emails, and the internet, I did the same thing: traveled vicariously on the trips. My son’s comments are so much funnier than mine: “this must be the porsche race ‘cuz they are going right instead of left” and “we got free beer after the Heinekens tour so we thought we’d get free BMWs after the BMW tour.” Unfortunately I wasn’t into digital scrapping and made two separate traditional books. I should have made page prints because they happened over several years and there weren’t enough pictures for an entire book.

    I also took my son’s pictures from his various vacations and scrapped them into four different books. It is more difficult than scrapping your own trip but he loves having them and I had some great Christmas gifts. Fortunately my daughter does her own scrapbooking.

    Thanks for blogging this and encouraging others to get pictures out of the computer and into books for sharing.

  3. jolleyontheroad jolleyontheroad says:

    I love adding the history to my places of travel! Of course, you have probably noticed that!! What a wonderful trip and an awesome experience for both of you!! I did several albums for my Dad of his RV travels back in the day when I did traditional albums! And now with his memory loss he enjoys them again and again and gives him a way to reconnect to his past! It’s why we do what we do!

  4. Lindie says:

    So cool for you. You are very lucky that he emailed and journaled for you also. Thanks for the interesting blog. You can live vicariously on our trip to Scotland if you want to go to my Facebook page and look for the Scotland album. I had to do some of the Google searches to get information about the places we visited.

    • Alison says:

      Yes, Lindie, I do appreciate that he made it easy with the diary. I’m happy to travel vicariously to anywhere in the world! Hope you get to make some lovely scrapbook pages about your trip. 🙂

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