This is the trip of a lifetime, it deserves to be cataloged, documented, and remembered.

I love to document – professionally and creatively

During the planning stages of this 3 month road trip, Kyle often times asked me what I was most excited for. Of course there were family, friends, cities, and National Parks on my list, something else that really, really excited me was the creative freedom and endless possibilities to share and preserve these memories

NOW – these are the ways I’ve been capturing and recording memories so far during the first 2 weeks of our trip!

1 | Daily Journal

This is the place where I jot down our daily itinerary and whatever highlights, thoughts, feelings, and memories I might want to refer to later. While I would love this to be a beautiful, Instagrammable bullet journal, for now, it really is just chicken scratch, imperfect, and sloppy, but it gets the job done

I have started to include different lists here and there to expand on and revisit throughout our trip e.g. list of favorites and list of essentials

Blue Possibility Journal by Artist’s Loft linked here

2 | Instagram
Sharing life day to day while on the road, from our most recent brewery stop to our current National Park. I’ve been sharing both in my stories and on my feed in my personal Instagram and have made occasional posts about my current ebook read on my Bookstagram account

3 | Tik Tok
I’m still very much trying to figure this platform out. I don’t know that short form video is for me, but I’m giving it a go. Haven’t gone viral yet, but it could happen

4 | Passport To Your National Parks®

A classic for any lover of the National Parks. A handy travel companion that is functional and educational with color-coded regional maps and space for cancellations and commemorative stamps. The website description says it all, “The Passport Classic Edition is an ideal, economical, and portable way to preserve your fondest memories of America’s national parks.”
Passport can be found here

5 | Meryn Made Blogs
I did a fair amount of sharing while preparing for this trip including updates to our itinerary (most recent linked here) as well as my Road Trip TBR (linked here) and my personal To Buy List (here)

My plan is to share updates on the blog every 1 to 2 weeks that are a quick, basic overview of our itinerary with a handful of pictures – primarily to share on Facebook. GART update 1 can be found here

LATER – ideas or products I want to explore to commemorate this epic road trip!

6 | Postcards
While we plan to send out postcards to friends and family throughout the trip, I am also collecting a ton of postcards for future projects. One of my ideas is to bind them with binder rings (see below). Given the ring system, we could add in our own photos and journaling cards to further personalize the keepsake!

I’ve made a point to collect both cheap gas station postcards as well as really nice, and honestly expensive, postcards that are like mini pieces of art that could one day make a epic gallery wall installation – see pinterest inspo below

7 | Photo Books
To commemorate a 10 day, European vacation, I made a customizable photo book from Mixbook – exact style linked here, see below. Tip: you can almost always find a 50% coupon somewhere on the internet

I’m highly considering starting on a very simple, photo only book near the end of our trip so that we have it to share with friends and family right when we get home

After our trip, I’ll start in on a more in depth and comprehensive photo book which I hope will be both beautiful and a keepsake for our memories, but also semi-educational with facts about each National Park we visited

8 | Still Novel Art Prints

I stumbled upon Still Novel on, where else, but Instagram and love the idea of combining both an image with text highlighting facts about one specific city or state

According to their website, Still Novel prints “celebrate the destination and the journey. Our 16×20 Signature Travel Print tells the story of a trip and details that made it memorable”

9 | National Park Explorer’s Map
I have Tik Tok to thank for exposing me to this product and the husband and wife duo that run this business! The National Park Explorer’s Map is a magnetic map to display tokens of the parks you’ve visited. I like this as an alterative to the mass marketed scratch off maps as this system allows flexibility as new parks as added or upgraded to National Park status

10 | Mixed Media Scrapbook

I am the proud owner of this vintage, 1980s America’s Wonderlands full color book that I bought second hand for less than $30. My edition definitely has some wear and tear, but I think that gives it charm. Initially when I bought it, I thought I would be taking it into each park and stamping the corresponding pages, similar to that of our National Park Passports. What I didn’t realize when I bought the book was that the pages were glossy, which had me worried about smudging, so I scrapped the stamping idea for fear of ruining the book

What I think I’ll do instead is add in our photos and memorabilia directly into the book with adhesive photo corners and journaling cards. I’ll display the book on our coffee table and hope curious minds will open to find a surprise!

Until next time, Meryn


A quick recap on what One Little Word is by creator, Allie Edward: “a word to focus on, to live with, to investigate, to write about, to craft with, and to reflect upon as I go about my daily life. These words have each become a part of my life in one way or another—a process I document via simple creative monthly prompts from January to December.”

To read my OLW introduction, click here, and to re-visit my mid-year update, click here

End-Year Update

meryn made blog

Status: GOAL MET
I crushed this goal, if I do say so myself. Since it’s inception at the end of March, I’ve posted 50 blogposts in total in 2020, which just boggles my mind. My plan was to write about art, creativity, inspiration, physical therapy, and health and wellness. But, plot twist, what I’ve posted the most about is books and reading – so unexpected!

Happy Planner daily fitness planner
Happy Planner daily journal

Sitting undistributed and unopened for months, I blew off the dust and cracked open my fitness planner to see that I haven’t written in it since August 30th. That’s not to say I gave up on fitness in the second half of the year – quite the opposite, actually. As the summer days turned to fall and the cooler weather set in, I found myself wanting to run outside more, compared to exercising at home in our living room. Running became a very real form of therapy for me in October when COVID was running rampant in my nursing homes, taking the lives of so many. As a result, I stopped writing and reflecting in my fitness journal completely. I did continue to track my weight and measurements in my excel spreadsheet and the FitBit app through October 1st. But after I ran my quarantine half marathon on Halloween, I took the first 3 weeks of November off all exercise.

In a similar way, I kept up with weekly decorative planning in my happy planner through September, but fell off in October when COVID struck at work and never got back to creative daily planning. I continued to utilize my planner for planning, obviously, but it was pen and highlighter only.

Card/invitation ring book
Beer stickers pocket pages
Travel stickers pocket pages

Yeah, I just never got around to any of these, but at least have an idea of the barriers limiting my progress, I think.

In regards to the card/invitation ring book, the hold up in my head is that I think everything that I need to complete this project is scattered all over the place, in various boxes both here in our apartment and back home. Which really shouldn’t be a barrier, I just haven’t prioritized this project.

I feel the same about the beer and sticker pocket pages as I did during the mid-year update – I just don’t want to invest time, energy, and money into a project when I can’t be certain myself or anyone else will actually look at it. Kyle and I did go through some of the beer stickers and turned them into magnets for our small beer fridge in our wet bar, so some of the (duplicate) stickers are on display.

One Line a Day (OLAD) journal

Status: GOAL MET
I definitely met this goal and my OLAD is one of my favorite things I worked on this year. I started this journal thinking it would be so interesting to track the first 5 years of this new decade. Little did I know on January 1st, 2020, that this year would be simultaneously the best and worst, most transformative year of my life. And I have daily entries highlighting it all, for better or for worse!

I will say that I didn’t keep up with my daily entries like I would have hoped. In the last quarter of the year, there were times when I got 10-14 days behind and had to go back through my daily planner, camera photo roll, Instagram, and Twitter to fill in the one line prompt, but we made it work.

Letterfolk passport update
2018 South Dakota/Wyoming road trip Mixbook
2019 Denver, Colorado trip vacation Mixbook
2020 Breckenridge ski vacation Mixbook

Yeah, literally no progress made on creating photobooks of the last few vacations I’ve taken. While I love the idea of having these memories and pictures in a physical, bound book, I rarely look at the one I made in 2018 for my trip to Europe. Maybe when Kyle and I have our own home and a proper place to store and display these books, I’ll feel more inclined and inspired to revisit this project.

Also never cracked open any of my Letterfolk passports, which could be due in part to little to no traveling this year. Honestly I never thought of them at all this year, out of sight out of mind I suppose.

Until tomorrow, Meryn