scrapping from the road
Let's face it: if I didn't scrap on the road, I wouldn't be scrapping. But because I do, images like this one are possible the day after they occur--and the fun of scrapbooking them from a hotel room makes my vacations even more meaningful. Yesterday, I was living this encounter with the Pacific Ocean.
Today, I scrapped it--while on vacation:
I'm a busy writer, webmaster, and wife-mother-grandmother. Regular crop times don't appear in my dayplanner, and my work expands to fill the time available--and then some.
How do I get any scrapbooking done? I scrap on the road, when I travel for business or on vacation. It's not for everyone, but it's one way for some of us to participate in the hobby even when our daily lives are too busy to scrap.
Here's how I manage to finish each vacation with almost as many layouts as I have days away from home.
I'm not a digiscrapper, but good tech is a real boon to road-side scrappers. Because my In Real Life job demands it, I travel with a laptop computer and an Internet connection--and because my scrapbooking side craves it, I add a digital camera and a personal photo printer.
This tech triple-threat makes it possible to snap photos, archive them, crop/edit/enhance them, and print them as I travel. Trust me: nothing makes friends on a cruise ship or at a resort like being able to snap photos at one meal, and deliver prints at the next. Having the fun of printing and sharing photos makes it easy to add the photo printer to the carry-on luggage--it's fun ... and it makes scrapbooking from the road easy.
Each night, Dr. Steve and I upload the day's digital photos to the laptop. (For safety, we also back up our images to a photo iPod.) While we're reliving the day's events, it's easy for me to send one, three, or five images to the photo printer and print them before we go to bed. They're my raw material for the next day's scrapping.
The laptop/printer combo does double-duty for journaling. As long as journaling blocks are 4-by-6-inches or less, the photo printer will print them just as well as a full-size printer--and having the laptop's fonts gives road-side scrapbook layouts a professional touch that belies their hurried genesis.
Over the years, I've scrapped from Europe to Japan, cropped on cruise ships, and assembled layouts from various balconies overlooking Hawaiian beaches, the Las Vegas strip, and big city skylines. This has taught me the value of planning, when it comes to packing the scrap tote.
What do I take along for roadside scrapping? There are few rules but one overriding mandate: my scrap crap must fit into a single scrapbooking tote. If I'm flying, it must weigh less than 50 pounds, which is harder, but the big limitation is space.
Start with your tools. Whatever lives in close reach on the scrap desk gets an automatic boarding pass into the travel tote. For me, that includes a 12-inch Fiscars trimmer, a set of Perfect Layers rulers, glass mat and craft knife, and adhesives. Scissors, bone folder, pencil, eraser and corner punch ride along in a prop-up tool tote.
On the road, "light" and "thin" are virtues, so I grab a selection of easy-to-pack fibers and ribbons rather than bulky chipboard or floral accents. A small toolkit for setting brads hitches a ride along with a watchmakers' case full of rivets, brads, eyelets and fasteners. A few cats-eye chalking pads let me add color accents without taking stamps or stamp pads, and I always include an idea book or two for inspiration.
Another help: pre-planned scrap kits. My monthly boxes from Scrapgoods and Club Scrap often get tossed into the travel tote; I know I'll be able to assemble several layouts from their coordinated materials without worry.
Finally, I grab the bulk of my raw materials: page kits. Having 30 or 40 page kits assembled, including photos, patterned paper and cardstock, means I can grab my scrap crap and yell "Road Trip!" with no delay.
No albums--they're too bulky. Completed layouts ride in page protectors in the scrap tote until we get home, when they're tucked into their albums with a flourish.
If you're not an on-the-road scrapbooker, it may seem hard to find time to scrap while on vacation or traveling on business. How do I do it? I look for the downtimes you have on any vacation, and slot "scrapbooking" into my day first.
Granted, it's easy if you've married your opposite, diurnally speaking. My stay-up-late husband likes to sleep in; I'm an early-to-bed, early-to-rise kind of girl. So when I get up, I get coffee, then I get scrapping. He sleeps, I scrap, all's right with the world.
This practice can lead to many friends, if you do it right--or at least, to the chance to make friends.
I wake up early, get dressed quietly, grab my tote and go. In a hotel, I head for the coffee bar or a corner of the lobby. On a cruise ship, I find a quiet table somewhere near a coffee machine.
While the world wakes up, I work on the day's layout--and more often than not, I show off my work to a succession of new friends. If nothing else, I get to meet every other early riser in the place while I trim and glue and embellish.
If you're my flip side, consider scrapping when other family members hit the hay--or when the world is napping after lunch, or just watching television in the late afternoon. No matter how active the trip, there are always times when activities wind down--and THAT is when I hit the scrap table for an hour's fun.
A few years ago, I tried to outline how I scrapped from the road as part of a message board conversation. One member made a comment I've never forgotten: "But how are you going to find time to have FUN?"
Believe me: scrapbooking IS "fun"--and when I travel, it's a natural complement to the activities and scenery I've come to see.
Scrapbooking from the road isn't just a matter of "improve your time" or of being efficient. Instead, it's a valued part of any trip: the time I set aside to review what I've said and seen and done. In reviewing our photos, casting back to the who-what-where, and reminding myself of the small realities of each travel day, I add meaning to every trip.
No, scrapping from the road isn't for everyone, but if it's for you? It's a gift. Taking that time to relive each memory, to memorialize it, and to share it with your later self makes travel more meaningful, more memorable, and more fun.
And if that's not the reason for scrapping in the first place, I don't know what is!
Written at 10:25 p.m. from a beachside hotel on the Oregon Coast