Celebrating and Sharing Your Adventures:

Saving your special experiences to bring your memories alive

If you have been following my emails/social media/blogs for at least six months, you know that I turned 50 this year and that I like to travel! This month, I hit my goal of getting to my 50th state in my 50th year. 

Do you have an EXPERIENCE goal? 

  • Travel to all 50 States
  • Travel to every continent 
  • See your favorite artist in concert once a year
  • Watch your favorite team play in person at least once a year
  • Hike in every U.S. National Park
  • Attend a festival every year
  • Complete a marathon once a year
  • Try different restaurants from A-Z
  • What are your experience goals (I would love to know)

 

How do you save those memories? 

Yes, you probably take pictures and videos and collect memorabilia like ticket stubs and maps (of course now most of those are captured with a screenshot) but what do you do with them to make these memories live outside your camera roll? 

Here’s what I do! 

 

Gallery Wall

It takes time and money to work towards these goals, why not be reminded of them every day? My son’s room is all about his adventures! One wall is covered in photo tiles (I use these from Snapfish and I watch for sales and get them for as low as $1.99 each) for each state that he has traveled to! I also design them all on Canva so that I can maintain the same design as we add to them. Once the family finishes all 50 states, I plan to do a large canvas collage or poster and I have the exact spot for it. 

 

Customized Maps

I’ve tried a few different map bulletin boards with pins but it wasn’t my thing. (I like to be more precise) In 2019, I created an Anderson’s Awesome Adventures map and it hangs above his bed and we update it once a year. 

Here are some options:

Personalized 50 States USA Photo Map*

Scratch-Off World Map* 

Personalized Ballparks Photo Map 

Personalized National Parks Push Pin Map*

 

Collections

We collect Christmas ornaments when we travel, this past year, this is all we put on our tree. It also makes for a fun challenge when we go somewhere new, to pick our ornament as a family. (sometimes we use keychains because they are typically less expensive and easier to find). 

I take a photo of each ornament before it gets put away with our Christmas decorations and starting this year, I upload them to Artifacts to explain where we got it and why we picked it.  

I know several friends who collect magnets from their travels! I recommend getting a magnetic board* to hang the magnets instead of your fridge as they’re less likely to get knocked off with daily use. 

 

Photo Books

A photo book is a great way to save and view your favorite memories. It could be a book from one trip, or it could be a book with a page for every state. I do an individual trip book if we travel with other people but if it’s just the three of us, I try to put all our memories for a year together in an annual book. 

 

Videos

I use the app 1 second everyday to make daily videos when we travel and a longer video of highlights of the entire trip. (I would recommend one or the other not both) This is a fun way to share our days with grandparents at home or fellow adventurers. The best way to enjoy them when we get home is to upload them to our Projector account to watch them on the big screen at home.

 

Create Digital Collections/Albums

This one doesn’t get the images out of your phone or computer but helps you find them and bring them together.

I use Adobe Lightroom Classic to organize my photos but this can also work in Apple Photo (best if you use a Mac) or Mylio (plan to move my collection there soon) to make sure I have metadata attached to my memories for now and into the future. Specifically, I make sure that I have location information added to my photos automatically now. Still, if it’s not there because someone shared the photos or an old photo, you can add that information easily in any of these programs. You can also add keywords/tags for these that are personal to you. Keywords you may add from the experiences above may be: concert, U2, KC Chiefs, hike, National Park, Coachella, festival, marathon but it can be something to can easily pull these experiences all together. (a silly one I have is Anderson lying in museums) In these programs, I can set up smart collections or albums so that every time the keyword ‘National Park’ is added or the location is a state, it automatically goes into the collection/album and I don’t have to do a thing.

 

Photo Sharing websites/apps

All our photos are stored in our Memories Hub on my main computer but then I upload them to Amazon Photos and Nixplay so that the photos can be viewed on our various digital frames! We also have Amazon Fire TVs in our home; the photos can be viewed individually or as a slide show on the TVs. 

 

A few fun facts about my quest for 50! 

 

  • My 50th state was Vermont but it could have been New Hampshire (you can ask me why we drove through New Hampshire twice before spending a few nights there)
  • I have been to all 50 states in the last nine years (before 2015 I had been to 32 states)
  • Since March of 2023, so in the last 15 months, I’ve been to 25 states (of the 25 the only state touching Nebraska is Iowa) 
  • We set a goal to get my son to 50 by high school graduation but I think we will be done by age 10 as he is only missing Utah and Alaska
  • For a state to count I have to eat a meal and do an activity! But I have spent the night in every state but Alabama (but maybe in 1996), Arkansas, Delaware, Indiana, Rhode Island, and West Virginia) 
  • I have lived in Nebraska, Texas, and Florida but over 80% of my life has been in Nebraska. 
  • We live approximately 3 miles from the Nebraska/Iowa border Iowa. (technically we drive through Iowa on the way to the airport, look up Carter Lake, Iowa it’s a strange thing)
  • I am extremely glad that we are almost “done” collecting states as it doesn’t just happen and it takes a lot of driving and hotel hopping. On our most recent trip to New England, we stayed in 6 hotels over 10 nights and traveled to 7 states. 

Want to make a list of your states? Here is the templates I use for my family!

List of 50 States

List of 50 States by year 1974-2024

What kind of experience goals do you have? I would love for you to comment below and let me know! 

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