Desktop Travel

A few weeks ago, I wrote that my computer had died and needed to be replaced. Although I wasn’t happy about the inconvenience or expense, I have discovered a silver lining (and, don’t we all need a few extra silver linings these days).

Sometime early last year, I took on the challenge of culling and organizing my digital photos. It took me several weeks to go through them all, delete duplicates and disappointments, and finally create eight distinct topic folders under which my images could be filed. Full disclosure that one of the eight folders was titled “Miscellaneous” but… whatever. I was awfully proud of myself when I finished and have been careful to keep everything mostly organized since then.


When setting up my new computer, old files were transferred from my two back-up hard drives to my desktop. Although this was done by a “professional,” the way the transfer was made pretty much set me back to square one. Suddenly, my new computer was full of all the duplicates and disappointments I had previously gotten rid of and there were multiples of everything, including several copies of the eight organized folders.

Someone less anal and terrified of losing anything probably would have just kept one complete set of the eight folders and deleted everything else. Not me. I had to go through everything once again to be sure what I was keeping and deleting was what I wanted to keep and delete.

I have finally finished the job and the images in my Pictures folder are all organized in their correct folders. No duplicates and very few disappointments (not every photo is a winner but some of the less-than-perfect ones can still be quite loveable).

I knew the task would be time-consuming; what I didn’t expect was how uplifting it would be. I got to travel again to Cuba, Canada, and Mexico, enjoy a cross-country road trip with my girlfriend, visit the Pacific Northwest and Atlantic Northeast, tour San Francisco and Key West, and get my kicks on Route 66.  

I also was able to travel back in time and enjoy dinner parties with friends and family, summer gatherings on our deck, and celebrations – large and small – with absolutely no social distancing, masks, or BYOEverything.

It was glorious.

If you are like me and have a lot of pictures filed away on your computer, I encourage you to do some time travel of your own. Just because flights have been canceled, travel delayed, and planned get-togethers put on hold, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a trip down memory lane.

It might be a good time to organize your photos and make sure everything is backed up, too.

Author: Janis @

My blog is about travel, relationships, photography, and whatever else pops into my head (even, sometimes, issues surrounding retirement and aging).

146 thoughts on “Desktop Travel”

  1. I’m glad you were able to enjoy the journey, Janis. Hopefully, we’ll be out making new memories before too much longer. I completely understand the inability to just delete folders. That’s terrifying for me too!

  2. Janis, it must feel so great to have all your photos organized. Every couple of years, I take a stab at organizing mine. I use labelled and dated folders. This is also when I edit the images. However, I always get distracted after a few hours, and therefore I have brief random periods of time for which all my photos are edited, sorted, and labelled, but the vast majority are a mess. Rob is much more organized than I in this regard. He has scanned and archived old photos and all his new ones as he takes them. He also has a well organized digital music library and digital film library.


    1. I’m trying really hard not to let everything slide back to chaos again, although it’s hard. Having my main folders labeled makes it easier because most pictures will fall into one of those categories (and, if all else fails, there’s always “miscellaneous”). Rob is extremely organized; I remember him talking about his digital music library. Also, while visiting, I took some pictures of his beautiful – and well-organized – display of fishing lures.

  3. What a great way to travel again! Husband has many of our photos organized in the cloud but I have plenty stored in photo boxes that I could organize. You have inspired me!

  4. Janis, I went through this a few months back and found it liberating. Now, I can actually find photos that I need without going through dozens of files. I’m sure you enjoyed the trip down memory lane. That’s why we take them in the first place!

    1. There are dozens of articles online about ways to organize photos. What I found – and I’m sure you found too – was find a system that works for you. It is very satisfying to finally be able to find my photos with very little effort (although I still have way too many 🙂 ).

  5. What a great idea! Photo time traveling when you can’t travel travel. I will be going through all my trip photos and doing just that!

  6. I’m so happy to discover your blog, Janis. I’m getting ready to transfer my files over to a new computer and I know from experience that bad things can happen. Like you, I had all of my carefully culled photos reappear (thousands!) the last time I changed computers, and I’m not anxious to repeat the experience.

    On a happier note, I agree with you that photos are a wonderful way to time travel. I have an entire summer and fall’s worth of travels to write about from last year, and photos take me right back to those adventures. 🙂

    1. Yikes… good luck with your transfer! I was heartbroken when I realized that I’d have to start over again and get my photos organized. Hopefully, now that you’ve been through it and know what can happen, you’ll do whatever you need to do (beyond crossing your fingers) to make sure your photos transfer correctly.

      Are you one of those super-organized people who create photo books after each trip? I keep thinking that I’ll do that and then… life happens.

      Thank you for the comment and the follow!

  7. I really enjoyed this post and I can relate to it all. I love it when I’m looking through old photos for something and I stumble upon something I had completely forgotten about. I have a hard time deleting old photos just for that reason.

    1. Old photos are like old friends. Even the slightly wonky or out-of-focus ones are full of wonderful memories. I keep telling myself that I need to have tougher skin and delete more readily… but I can’t. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  8. This seems to be a good idea. Memory lane is always fun.
    I’m sure I have a lot back 2015-ish , if only if my brother didn’t corrupt our external drive 😞
    Silver lining part, there might be some in my old laptop.

  9. Love this idea, and very impressive that you finished the job! I’m looking forward to traveling back in time this weekend. 🙂

  10. It sure is one among the best ideas we can come across during this pandemic. Photos does speak a lot. And it sure is amazing, the way it brings back all the memories and stories in an instant.

  11. Yes, sometimes being forced to revisit pictures is actually a good thing. For the moment it’s a nice distraction anyway until we can travel again…my feet are very itchy!!!

  12. I did some culling myself a couple of weeks ago. I am far from done, but I’ll get there. At this point in time I’m mostly organizing my pics into less folders, but I am deleting as I go. Always lovely to go through travel pictures and relive some of the magic. 🙂

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: