When I was seven, I flew to Canada with my grandmother to visit my aunt and uncle. It's my very first memory of being on an aeroplane even though I'd flown a few times before. I remember how excited I was to pack my hand luggage ... a new book (Gobbolino, the Witch's Cat), a pencil case full of colouring pencils, a colouring book and a notepad. So marked is it on my memory, that I even remember that the air hostess' name was Avril (actually, I do have a weird memory for things like that ... and also what I was doing on this day last year, five years ago, and a few years further back than that ... it freaks my husband out a bit). I couldn't believe my luck when the lovely Avril invited us to have a look around the cockpit. The pilot and co-pilot signed an Air Canada postcard for me, along with my ticket stub, and I thought it was the best souvenir EVER! Those, combined with watching The Never Ending Story in an Edmonton-cinema before it had even been released in the UK made me the coolest kid in school for about two months.
With my slightly jaded 38 year old eyes, I sometimes forget how awesome simple things like this are to little children. A postcard signed by real live pilots and your very own ticket to take a ride on an aeroplane? That's treasure to a four year old! Maps, bookmarks, postcards, tickets, shells, photographs, stamps, guides, drawings. My eldest little dude is eyes-wide at them all and collects as many as he can. Bizarrely, he's also quite partial to the odd supermarket receipt. I haven't quite figured out yet what interest they hold for him but I'm happy to hand them over.
With a few 'treasures' collected from recent adventures and more trips to come later this year, last week I spent my evenings putting together the start of a travel journal for my eldest little dude (in case you're wiping away a tear at my lack of a social life, my husband was working away so I only had Hollyoaks and Made In Chelsea for company once the boys were asleep). I wanted to make him a journal to keep his maps and receipts safe from the sticky fingers of his younger brother. And also, yes, because I would have loved one for myself and I haven't yet ruled out making my very own (I'm totally going to).
It was quite simple to put together. I bought a scrapbook and a few supplies from Hobbycraft, all relatively inexpensive, and started personalising the first few pages ready for him to take over after our next adventure (we're off on another Mark Warner holiday to Kos in a few weeks).
I found that the pages look best if you layer all the little bits and pieces and add the odd quirky luggage label, paperclip or envelope for postcards and maps. You can see more detail in the photos below.
In my mind, I want this little scrapbook to be a journal of adventure.
A journal of photographs, drawings, and treasures. I want it to be a journal of memories. A journal that may, during the teenage years, get pushed to the back of the wardrobe but then, later on in life, weathered pages and all, slowly leafed through as images of holidays-past turn from black and white to HD with the flick of a page.
But ultimately, I want this to be a journal that inspires a life of adventure. What an exciting life to live!