Sunday Traveler: Keeping Track

by farrah on January 19, 2014 · 26 comments

As we’re getting ready to cross Rome off of our lifelong ‘must see’ list, I started thinking about keeping track and how people do it. Travelers, I know- come in all ages, family dimensions, races and forms- and all of us, in one way or another, keep track of where we’ve been.

1,000 Places To See Before You Die logMy 1,000 Places book with flags dating back to the mid- 2000’s.

I started keeping track in middle school- I was obsessed with those agenda things, you know, the kind that had the map of the United States in it on a beginning page. I used to shade in with lines every state in the US that I had visited. I saved it from year to year, updating along the way. I know I have it stashed somewhere in my mom’s basement- and I wish I had it. I have a few more states to add to that bad boy.

In 2002 I moved into a Berkley flat in Michigan. I had a fantastic landlady with whom I became great friends. I came to know her son and ex husband very well, and we even celebrated Christmas together exchanging gifts. One year her ex, Mike, gave me the book ‘1,000 Places To See Before You Die‘. It was the first edition in paperback. I remember being really excited and looking at that huge book with intimidation thinking, ‘So many places. Will I ever see them all?’

In 2006 I was teaching and had a trillion billion brightly colored post it notes. I used the hot pink post its to mark the places I had been- which at that time wasn’t impressive, but I was beginning to log. I liked that. Today my book has many, many more flags on the pages- pointing out that ‘Yes! Yes! I was here!’ and I am so glad that I started keeping track of them.

I can’t tell you how many flags there are. Not that there are SO many I can’t count them, but because that’s not the point and I’ve never bothered. Traveling isn’t a contest of who sees the most. That’s like saying who’s the richest. Someone will always have more money than you- no matter how rich you may be. Just like with travel. Someone will always have seen more than you- no matter how many places you’ve been. What’s important is what you learn and what those places mean to you.

On each pink flag I have written who was there (A, F, B, L & C are today’s letters) where exactly, and when. A month and a year is good- but some of my older ones just have the year. That’s ok. I found it easy to flag things like ‘Bamberg, Germany’ and ‘Biltmore House, North Carolina’ rather than all of the places in Chicago. So even while I have been to Chicago- I didn’t flag any of them because I wasn’t at that specific location. Make sense? It does to me. It should after all, since I am the one that is keeping track.

I started the book tracking only the places that I have been, but it has since morphed into the places my husband has been since we’ve been together. My hope is that I keep it up and add the places the boys go someday- because my dream is that they too will catch the travel bug and want to wander the world.

So while some families might have a bible that passes on from generation to generation recording the births and deaths of each member- we have a book of travel. Sure it’s not the most comprehensive list in the world! But so far, it’s covered everywhere that we’ve visited. And I love that.

How do you keep track?

Linking up with the ever-fabulous SJ in Croatia. If you don’t know her- you need to! Check out Chasing The Donkey and these other fine folks at the Sunday Traveler.

{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

1 A Southern Gypsy January 19, 2014 at 8:59 am

I also have this book and love just looking through it! I love what you said about traveling not being a contest–it’s not about how many places you’ve been, but about you traveled while there. Thanks for linking up to the #SundayTraveler!


2 farrah January 19, 2014 at 9:40 am

Thank you for hosting! I wonder how many travel bloggers have this book. My guess is quite a few and there are strong opinions on what is and what isn’t covered 🙂


3 Kelly January 19, 2014 at 9:37 am

Oh my goodness, I love this book! My friend and I got so obsessed with it that we did a driving tour around Wales for five days and ticked off every thing in Wales.

So many places, so little time!


4 farrah January 19, 2014 at 9:40 am

Wales is on our list! 🙂


5 Christie Tate January 19, 2014 at 1:25 pm

I am not a big traveler because I’m scared. But I love Rome and plan to live vicariously through you.


6 farrah January 19, 2014 at 2:02 pm

Well that counts! Didn’t you go there solo?


7 Mrs. Chasing the Donkey January 19, 2014 at 1:41 pm

It’s not a contest? Phew, cause sometimes it feels like it. I love how you point blank refuse to accept that. Another reason I like you dear Farrah. Thanks for linking up with us, and I am 100% the boys will be bugging you to take them to Dineyworld Paris soon enough… and then it’ll be to see the Pyramids in Egypt or soemthing cool like that soon after. Safe Travels for tomorrow!


8 farrah January 19, 2014 at 2:03 pm

LOL! You know- the ones that perpetuate that travel is a contest are the same ones that probably think this book is full of malarky and they are the types to avoid these places BECAUSE they are in that book. So yeah- not people I am worried about knowing or keeping up with 🙂 Additionally, maybe they would need to lose a limb to be equal to those that travel with small children? xox


9 farrah January 19, 2014 at 2:12 pm

On second thought- maybe it is kind of a contest. One you have with yourself or the world. Like can I conquer it?


10 Julia January 19, 2014 at 1:51 pm

This reminded me that I gave my husband a copy of this book when we were dating. I have no idea where it is, but now I need to go look for it.


11 farrah January 19, 2014 at 2:04 pm

Do it! I bet you will surprise yourself with how many places you’ve seen.


12 A Brit and A Southerner January 19, 2014 at 2:05 pm

We too have that same book! Heather showed this to me early in our relationship and I knew then we had plenty in common 🙂

The publishers of this book must have made a killing because it really is a great way to keep track of various places around the world.

For a while we really didn’t even think about keeping track of where we went. However, that was when we decided to start our website to do that very thing – keep track of our memories and share them with other folks around the world!

Great post!


13 farrah January 19, 2014 at 4:02 pm

Thank you! And yes- they must have made a mint on this. I wonder what edition they’re on by now and how much they change?

And yes- the website is a fantastic way! I’m just one of those very right brained people who needs to physically feel and write stuff down 🙂


14 Ann January 19, 2014 at 2:46 pm

I have this book, too! I do the same thing of marking initials for the specific places we’ve been, but I just put it directly on the entry. I rarely remember to look at it before we go, only looking at it a few times a year to see where we’ve been. It’s a book I like to give to traveling friends when they get engaged. There’s a version for places to travel with kids that I gave to my old travel agency boss when she got pregnant.


15 farrah January 19, 2014 at 4:03 pm

Ok, first- thank you for that idea. Perfect new parent gift! I didn’t know that they made one for kids!
And duh. Why didn’t I just write it in the entry? Maybe I will go back and change it. I doubt my little flags will last forever. I too forget about this book for six months or so- and have a bunch of places to update. I have such a feeling of accomplishment when I do that- funny, eh? Priorities!


16 Leighann January 19, 2014 at 2:56 pm

love the look of that book, such as inspiration!


17 farrah January 19, 2014 at 4:04 pm

Thanks Leighann! Harkens back to my teen girl years I think when I had to write everything, copy everything down 🙂


18 Jessica | A Passion and A Passport January 19, 2014 at 6:54 pm

LOVE this idea! Just got the same book from a co-worker for Secret Santa (guess they know me pretty well), and I’m about to flag it up with post-its! Wish I had this book all along to make dates correct and such! But oh well, better late than never! 🙂 *Found you in the SundayTraveler linkup!


19 farrah January 20, 2014 at 10:43 am

Thanks! I’m really curious as to the additions/deletions in the new editions- but goodness I’m not going to start over now! Have fun!


20 Ace January 19, 2014 at 7:13 pm

What a sweet story. I’m sure the boys will love to travel. They’re just too curious not to. =)
Have a great time in Rome!


21 farrah January 20, 2014 at 10:43 am

Ha- you got that right! See you when we get back!


22 frankaboutcroatia January 20, 2014 at 10:52 am

We are another two with the same book :-). Lovely idea to keep all of your trips and to pass your travel book to your kids. Thanks for linking up to the #SundayTraveler.


23 Samantha @mytanfeet January 20, 2014 at 4:32 pm

I’ve been looking for a good travel book to read and I’ll have to go get this one! Can’t wait to read it, hopefully I’ll be able to start crossing some places off the list !


24 Jess January 20, 2014 at 8:01 pm

I have that book too! I keep wondering if they have an app version with a checklist – I admit, I’m addicted to checking things off. I also love getting maps shading in places I’ve been – I started doing that in elementary school, when my notebooks had maps of the US in back, and somehow it’s still satisfying.


25 Travis January 22, 2014 at 3:59 pm

Great post! We’ve done the same thing with a book containing all of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and it is definitely a great way of keeping track – especially considering our blogging really only goes back a couple years! Safe travels!


26 Lunaguava January 23, 2014 at 1:12 pm

Love the idea. I also don’t see it as a contest. Just a lovely way to keep track of memories – sort of the same reason I have a travel blog… Congrats and safe travels!


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