The Journey Method: Using Landmarks to Remember Everything

The Journey Method is one of the best techniques to memorize large lists.

Large lists can be anything from ten items to tens of thousands.

This is the basis of the system professional memorizers use (yes, there is such a thing) to memorize uncanny amounts of information.

To illustrate the capabilities of this system, here are two world records that you can try to wrap your head around.

The world record for memorizing the correct order of a 52-card deck of playing cards is 20.44 seconds.

Journey Method 1

The world record for memorizing the correct order of a series of binary digits in 30 minutes (1’s and 0’s) is 5040.

Obviously these examples aren’t practical, you will never need to know thousands of binary digits.

But, it shows the power of this technique and introduces the question – can this system be applied to practical information?

The answer is yes.

With power comes hard work, though, and this technique is no different.

It’s not like the Peg System or the Link System where you can pick it up in a manner of minutes.

This system takes work to get right.

But if you put the time and effort into it, I assure you it will pay off.

Using the Journey Method

To use this technique, you need to create a journey with loci.

A journey is just like it sounds.

It’s a route you take somewhere in the world every day.

Think of a route you take every day.

It could be the route you take each morning for work from your bedroom to your car.

It could be the road you drive to work.

It could even be a route you create as you walk room to room in your house.

To illustrate a journey, I’m going to use a route through a fictional house.

Journey Method 2

As you walk this route in your mind, there are landmarks along the way.

They could be the sink in your bathroom, the dresser in your bedroom, the stove in your kitchen, Daisy’s car as you drive by her house on the way to work.

Journey Method 3

Each landmark, or loci, represents a place you will eventually visualize an image to remember later.

Each loci functions similar to how each peg in the Peg Method functions.

It’s important that you have this route memorized and see in your mind each of your loci.

If you do, there’s no possible way you can forget the order of your loci because it’s a journey you know by heart.

Begin by mentally walking to your first loci and imagine a compelling image for your first item.

It often helps to have your image interact with the loci itself (like interacting with a peg).

When you have finished, move on to the remaining items on your list placing them in their corresponding loci.

Say, for instance, you wanted to remember a series of animals.

You would place the animals along your route interacting with the loci you have defined.

Journey Method 4

To recall the list you simply have to walk through the journey in your mind and see the images you have placed in each location.

It’s as simple as that!

The biggest trick about this technique is that you need a journey you are familiar with.

If you run out of loci at your house you can always imagine flushing the toilet or walking out a door and ‘transporting’ to your grandmother’s house to give yourself an additional loci locations.

As long as you know the journey, you are set up to succeed.

You just finished Chapter 5. Congratulations! Now, you might be thinking several questions. Perhaps, are there rules in defining which objects can be used? Or, are there rules in defining the best and most memorable journey?

I purposefully left this chapter fairly vague, because in the next chapter we are doing a deep dive into how exactly to create the best and most memorable journeys.

If you are familiar with the concept of a Memory Palace, that is exactly what we will be talking about.

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