Sketch or Paint to Make Your Holiday Memories Last Longer!

Anyone who has observed bloggers in action on holiday will notice that we often have our heads in our phones. We’re always editing Instagram photos, Tweeting pictures of tasty dinners and answering our emails in every little bit of downtime we get.

But often I find myself gazing up from my phone and realising that I have no idea what happened in the last 20 minutes, which is a shame really because I often feel like I’m not always truly “present”.  I’m gazing at the view, not through my eyes, but through an iPhone screen or the lens of my DSLR camera.

Due to social media and smart phones, I can’t help but feel like my attention span is becoming shorter. In every spare moment I’m capturing photo or video, or scrolling through my phone mindlessly looking at my Instagram feed, and I can’t help but feel like it’s sort of a shame.

This isn’t just limited to bloggers either – most holidaymakers these days are dozens of photographs on their phones, tablets, or cameras to create snapshots of their trips.

Yet, scientists now believe experiencing ‘wow’ moments through a digital lens can actually make those moments less memorable. New research suggests that if you want your holiday memories to last longer, you should actually stop taking photos or videos and draw a picture instead.

How senses affect our memories

When we take a photo only one sense – sight – is stimulated. Video triggers two senses – sight and hearing.

Drawing, on the other hand, activates up to three senses, including sight, touch, sound as well as proprioception (or position sense), enabling the brain to solidify the memory.

So, if you pack a sketchbook and some colouring pencils next time you go away, you can actually ensure your memories will be locked into your mind much more than if you simply press the shutter button on a camera.

The Study

Leading experimental psychologist and renowned Oxford University sensory expert Professor Charles Spence, in collaboration with British artist Philippa Stanton – who possesses the rare neurological condition of synaesthesia – visited the TUI Sensatori Resort Negril to explore how sketching can help engage all five senses and help retain those ‘wow’ holiday memories for longer. Philippa’s condition allows her to see and experience colours, textures and shapes when listening, tasting of smelling.

Professor Charles Spence, said: “Much of the pleasure from holidays comes from the remembering. Yet, new research reveals that the average Brit’s holiday memories fade after less than two weeks.

“Three quarters of holidaymakers are convinced they have shorter attention spans because of smartphones and the internet. Despite this, there’s a growing tendency to want to digitally document life experiences, whether that’s sightseeing or what we’re eating.”

The project was supported by a study of 2000 adults which discovered that more than half of the population suffers from ‘Digital Holiday Amnesia’– relying on smartphones or other devices to ‘store memories’ for them, leading our own memories to falter.

Eight in 10 Brits say they wish they could remember holidays from their past better than they can do at the moment. It also revealed that three quarters are better able to remember things by writing them down – which could have the same effect as drawing them.

The study found that twice as many people will take a picture of a landmark or famous sight on holiday, than simply try and take a mental snapshot to remember it in their mind.

TUI are therefore introducing Sketch to Etch kits to TUI Sensatori resorts this summer so that holidaymakers can fuel and engage with all of their senses when they are on holiday. Sketch to Etch kits will be trialed in the new TUI Sensatori Resort Atlantica Rhodes, which is opening this summer.

Personally I think it’s a great idea. I used to love painting on vacation when I was a kid but obviously it’s not always practical to pack a sketchbook and colouring pencils or paints when you have strict baggage allowances. Knowing these things are available at the hotel when you get there is a really nice touch.

How to make holiday memories last longer

TUI Sensatori 3

Give your senses a work out

Next time you have a special moment, try to engage all your senses. What does the air smell like? What sounds can you hear? What tastes do you associate with that place? The more you are mindful and appreciate the multitude of rich sensory experiences, the more those memories will be etched in your mind.

Sketch to help etch holiday memories for longer

The more we process and think about what we are experiencing, the stronger the memories we lay down. The things we create are more meaningful to us, such as cooking a meal or putting together a piece of furniture. Likewise, sketching or painting while on holiday will help us to feel more meaning and positivity.

Put the phones and the cameras away 

Once in a while, have a digital detox and put the phones and cameras away. I try to leave my phone in my bag at dinner and really listen to what my friends are saying. When I experience a really beautiful, I take one or two photos and then I reserve some time to just soak it all in and engage my mind.

Personally I have been trying to practice mindfulness in my daily life, remembering to meditate in my spare time and to appreciate the smaller things. Sometimes I’ll just stop and look around me and try to really savour the special moments that I have with friends.

Not long ago I went to Majorca with TUI and hired a car to drive around the island. I did take photos and video but I also spent time just enjoying the beautiful scenery, tasting the local foods and enjoying great conversation with my travel companion Emily. While it was only a 3-day trip, I remember so much of it because I allowed myself to really relax and experience the destination as fully as possible.

TUI Sensatori provides the ultimate luxury holiday experience where all of their five-star resorts are carefully and purposely designed to fuel the senses. If you have ever wondered how connected your senses are and whether you might have Synaesthesia, you can take Professor Charles’s quiz here:

Victoria Brewood

Hi I'm Victoria, a British girl from Manchester. After graduating from university I decided there was more to life than the hours between 9 and 5, so I packed my journalism degree into my suitcase to travel the world and find a way to make money at the same time. I now call London home, although I still travel whenever I can. I hope to inspire you to be your own boss, live life and see the world.

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