I recently returned to the wonderful world of scrapbooking, and while I immediately fell back in love with making pages, I was a little frustrated trying to figure out where those pages belonged. Fortunately, I stumbled across this blog series by Noell Hyman about finishing albums, which in turn led me to purchase her excellent audio course with Shimelle Laine about Story-Centered Albums, and I became massively excited and inspired about this whole idea of turning my scrapbooks into memoirs.
I mainly scrapbook hiking pages, because, well, that’s my obsession. I’ve kept my regular, event-based hiking pages in one album and my more introspective, life-lessonish hiking pages in another, but when I put them all together in one place, I realized that those albums tell a bigger story than just “look at all the pretty places I’ve seen!” – they tell a story of an Ingunn who was extremely depressed, but who found a new hobby that got her out of the house and made her healthier both physically and mentally. An Ingunn who was so scared of heights that she started crying on the way to Noble Knob because of the exposure (if you’ve ever been to Noble Knob, you’ll know how ridiculous that sounds). An Ingunn who faced that fear and overcame it to a certain degree (but then realized there was a limit to how far she was willing to push it). An Ingunn who gained so much confidence in the mountains, both hiking and backpacking on her own. An Ingunn who made friends on trail. An Ingunn who to this day uses hiking as a way to handle the difficult things in life. An Ingunn who now has a new little person to introduce to the outdoors.
The first volume of hiking pages is kind of a separate entity since it’s a post-bound 11×8.5 album. It already had an opening page, so I didn’t have to change anything there.
Here’s our very first hike, to Shi Shi Beach. I was a little worried that I was assigning way too much importance to this trip looking back on it, but my journaling back then was just as sappy and loving as it is now:
“Being outside in nature is proving to be far more beneficial than any anti-depressant or therapy session I have ever tried. I don’t know if it’s because of the fresh air, the exercise, the views, or the sunshine, but being out there just clears my mind, something I am rarely able to do otherwise. It makes me feel like I can be happy again…and now I know that I can.”
(It was also cool to look through this album and see that my style hasn’t really changed that much, so it’s not embarrassing to look through these pages anno 2007 – even though I used those ridiculous die-cut bears!)
In 2008, I switched to 8.5×11 three-ring binders, which means it’s way easier to move pages around (since I don’t scrapbook chronologically). That means I can now go back and add framework pages, like introductions to the albums. I decided to make my intro to Volume II about that very first trip to Shi Shi, where it all began. One of Ali Edwards’s Story Kits from the fall, Spark, fit perfectly.
On the other side of the page protector, I put an interview I did for the Wilderness Society, which is about that same trip and how it affected me.
This album covers personal victories, like my very first hike up the steep and unforgiving Mailbox Peak…
…our scramble up Besseggen in Norway (which wouldn’t even faze me now, but at the time I thought it was so, so scary)…
…and some of the trips where I ventured into the wilderness by myself. I should definitely write more about those!
I also made an opening page for Volume III – I’ve reached a point where I am less obsessive about my trips to the mountains but have even more fun when I do go.
I’m still pushing my limits, though.
There are still plenty of just-for-fun pages in these albums, they’re not full of me being all self-involved and navel-gazing, but it feels important to have those parts of my life documented. There are ups and downs in life, and the outdoors is where I work through those ups and downs.
The following two pages were also made with Ali’s Story Kits. If you’re interested in getting your authentic stories told, I cannot recommend them enough. The class content alone is worth the price. This month’s theme is Tough and next month’s is Wild, so it’s pretty much like they were made for hiking pages, yes?
Last but not least, my current pages show us adjusting to life with our wonderful little lady and introducing her to our favorite pastime. My hope is that she’ll gain as much confidence and joy from the outdoors as I have.
I have a whole list of page ideas: trips I don’t want to forget, trips that were in some way important to me, even if the destination wasn’t jaw-dropping, some of my pregnant hikes and all the expectations that came along with those, and our favorite hikes with Nora. This list is pretty long, so, hey, at least I know I’ll never run out of scrapbook material!
I love, love, love this project and the sense of direction it has given me in my scrapbooking. Even if I am the only person who ever looks through these albums, that’s fine – my story has been told, and it’s going to be an amazing collection of pages to look back on when I’m old and grey.