By Brad Benson
I’ve never been one for souvenirs, fundamentally for two main reasons: 1) I’ve grown to become a light traveler with minimal room for additional items and 2) I tend to skew utilitarian and therefore avoid things that simply sit there to remind me of an experience. To commemorate my travels, I instead decided years ago to create a constantly-evolving wall collage; it provides personalized decor as the focal point of my apartment, draws the attention of every visitor, and every day as I go about my life at home I’m reminded of the plethora of experiences I’ve had around the World!
Here are a few things to keep in mind if you’d like to create your own.
- Technical Specifications
You probably have existing photos from your previous journeys to choose from, but moving forward start taking photos intentionally with your collage in mind; i.e., take high-resolution, unconstrained images that can be slightly modified upon your return to accommodate the ideal size, zoom, and trend.
- Photo Subjects
Think about what you want your photos to represent. Do you want to showcase people? Landscapes? Attractions? Something unique to your experience, or the quintessential site of the locale? Maybe –like me- your answer is “it’s a little bit of everything.”
Since you’ll likely be updating your collage on an on-going basis, if you’re looking for consistency you’ll want to select a simple frame design that will be easy to find long-term (I use the ubiquitous, borderless, silver clip frames). Alternately, a myriad of frames can make for an interesting collection –maybe even buy a frame from each place you visit for added sentimentality!
I really like the idea of having a lot of different sizes because I think it is visually more interesting. I don’t personally have a method to assign a size, other than the ones that really resonate with me I tend to give a larger canvas.
Aim for some variety of the photos you choose, both in composition and by subject. I’ve got waterfalls and deserts and forests and landmarks –and I love how it really embodies the diversity in travel options that exist for all of us to explore!
Sometimes, one country has a lot to offer or resonated with me in a particularly meaningful way; case in point: visiting the Kauri Trees and bungee jumping in New Zealand. In these instances, I’ll commit two photos, but make one on the smaller side so as not to overemphasize in the overall collage.
Enhance your collage with other items you’ve collected throughout your travels. I’ve framed art, certificates (pulling my own Guinness in Ireland), and “official” photos (climbing the Harbor Bridge in Sydney) that I’ve amassed throughout my journeys.
I love the idea of incorporating a map that documents your travels geographically. As a gift, a friend of mine bought me one of those maps on which you scratch off the countries you have visited. It really pulls everything together and gives visual references to the beautiful pictures that surround it.
- Embrace Imperfection
As you update your collage, it will take up more space, things will shift around to achieve balance, and small imperfections in layout and spacing will pop-up here and there. Embrace the imperfection! After all, even the best-laid travel plans rarely go as expected.
- Be Ready to Share Your Stories
In my opinion, one of the best things travelers can do is bring their experiences back to friends and family at home. Not only is it interesting, it’s a real, attainable scenario that highlights how it is doable by everyone. Get ready for ample opportunities to spread that travel bug!
Now get out there in the world and start snapping!
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