5 Ways to Remember Your Travels
If you're anything like me, you probably have a hard time remembering the little things. Sometimes it can feel like my time overseas was just a dream that didn't really happen. My photos and trinkets at least help confirm that I'm making memories up! To live in another country is an amazing experience, with all the ups and downs of cross-cultural living. At the smell of a scent or hearing of a sound, memories will come flooding my mind. Yet it is incredible how easy it is for those same memories to become dusty while sitting on the shelves of my mind. When returning to your home culture, there is an inundation of feelings: happiness, sadness, excitement, sorrow, confusion...Ever been there? Me too. The transition, or "reverse-culture shock" time can be a struggle. When it comes to travel memories it is important not to get caught up in statements like "the good ole days" or the desire to be away from where you are and back were you were. It's okay to walk down memory lane, but we don't want to get stuck there. The Father has us in each season of life for a reason. He has brought us through good times and bad times. He didn't intend on us staying there or trying to go back to a season of the past. So before you begin dusting off your memories, thank the Father for allowing you to experience the different season of living cross-culturally. In order to help navigate this transition time, we have compiled a list of 5 Ways to Remember Your Travels:
1. Have a Party when you get back home to celebrate with your family and friends devoted solely to you and your travels. Take this time to make some delicious food you tasted and show off some of the amazing photos you took at all the unique places you visited. Com’on, who doesn’t enjoy food, friends and photos? One of the best things you can do when coming back is talk. It can be so therapeutic and helps you process through everything that has happened. Some good things to talk about would be some funny experiences you had, that time you went the wrong direction, some amazing people you met...etc. The list goes on and on!
2. Print photos and put them in a book so you can write down the stories. While I was living in Hungary I would get my photos printed and send them home to my parents so they could follow along with my experiences, as well as collect my photos for when I returned. When I got back my mom handed me a box full photos from the year I was gone. It was so fun to look back over the photos and reminisce of all the good times! For you mental processors, this will help you a bunch. You can have time to process through the good times, bad times, friends you made, places you went, food you ate. All the things. Plus, once you are done writing your stories you have them to look back at a later date! These gems can also be something that turns into a fun thing to pass down to your kids and grandkids one day.
3. Keep a journal and write all the stories as you remember them. One day it will be fun to look back over your little book of short stories and see all the amazing things that happened. This is a really helpful practice to keep when living overseas. Even if you don't journal while living cross-culturally, journal when you come back. When you read over your entries later you will see how much you have changed and see how faithful the Father has been to you during that transition period. Be bold and honest when writing: "Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us."- Psalm 62:8. You can pour out your heart without being afraid.
4. Decorate with Trinkets. If you have a hard time looking at memories from overseas, pull out the trinkets and souvenirs! One of my friends mentioned that she gets sad looking at photos, so she likes to see her trinkets instead. Souvenirs are great little reminders to put around your house!
5. Lastly, Don’t be afraid to incorporate some of the culture into your own life now that you’re back. I still eat burgers (and basically everything else) with a fork (in left hand) and knife (in right hand) the whole time I'm eating! I have also adopted some other parts of the culture into my own life since coming back. Embrace the differences and love them! Each of your experiences have made you the unique person you are today. Don't hide those amazing features and get excited to tell you stories!
I would love to hear some of your favorite memories from living cross-culturally! Comment or email us with some awesome stories. Can't wait to hear ffrom you!