Thursday, September 6, 2012

What do you do to memorialize your trips?

Big R and I absolutely love to travel. Long before we even found out we were moving to Germany, we were jetsetters and tried to travel and see the world - or at least the small part of it we could afford. From talking with other people that also enjoy traveling, I've noted that so many of them collect things from their travels to memorialize them. Do you do this as well? My sister and her husband collect magnets, which I thought was such a cute idea. And our friends, Meg and Robert, send post cards to their families each time they take a trip somewhere. Some people enjoy picking up little souvenirs - the cornier the better. When I went backpacking in Europe for a month with my best friend after college, she was certain to collect shot glasses from a Hard Rock Hotel from every city we visited because her brother-in-law collected them. It was kind of fun because it ensured an adventure at every stop.

It might seem a little strange, but Big R and I have never really collected things from our trips. More than anything else, I think our pictures hold our memories. Big R is so good with his camera, that it seems he is always searching for that perfect photograph, and I have to say, he often gets pretty close to perfection! It has been fun to see how much his skills (and cameras) have improved over the years as well. We have promised that in addition to recording our memories in this blog, we will also create some photo books to hold our favorites that we can easily share with friends at dinner parties or pull out and look at over the years to remember all the places we have been.

I used to collect all of my tickets - bus tickets, plane tickets, train tickets, theater tickets, museum tickets - and create a scrapbook from them with the pictures I took with my camera. This practice has sadly gone by the wayside. I still can't seem to throw many of those things away, so we now have a basket where I keep these items along with our guide books, brochures and maps that we bring home from each location.

I did start to notice that we do tend to pick up something nice from nearly most of the places we visit. Our tastes have exceeded corny souvenirs though, and now we try to bring back something we can use or admire.

We entered adulthood and bought our first oil painting in Rome, and I was finally able to get the canvas stretched so we could hang it on our living room wall. We bought the expensive piece for next to nothing, and we were almost giddy about our sophisticated purchase (yes, occasionally Big R can be a dork right along with me - haha).

Our new oil painting of Tuscany purchased while we were in Rome
In Prague, Big R bought me a handmade canvas bag from a vendor at the Easter Market. The man was making the items at the weaving wheel next to the booth as we shopped. I fell in love with it right away, and was happy to bring it home.

Handmade satchel from the Easter Market in Prague
When we went to Fussen, we came back with our cuckoo clock. As corny as it is, I really love that clock (although, I'll confess, we have the cuckoo function of the clock turned off most of the time). I really never thought we'd buy one, but I'm now glad that we did. It'll mean a lot to us later in our lives to remember the time we spent here in Germany (especially when our lederhosen and dirndls no longer fit us!).

Our traditional German cuckoo clock purchased in Fussen
Our trip to Sweden sent us home with many different things, mostly as gifts for Big R's family so they could feel connected to their relatives. Big R was sure though to bring back one of the traditional Dalecarlian or Dala horse statues for our collection. The Dala horse is a wooden statuette of a horse that was traditionally used as a toy for children. It's now more commonly known as a symbol of Dala and Sweden. Big R grew up seeing these in his grandmother's house, so our new item was purchased with quite a bit of pride.

Traditional Swedish Dalecarian horse, which is now often the symbol of Sweden
And one of my favorite purchases from our adventures is our latest from Mallorca. I absolutely fell in love with the mosaics and the pottery from the region. One store in particular, I felt we could have purchased nearly everything we saw. As much as I really like Polish pottery and I'm hopeful we'll be able to return to the States with a nice collection, there is something about the Spanish style pottery that really draws me in. Despite having very little space in our bags to bring anything home, Big R encouraged me to buy a pitcher and glassware set that I couldn't take my eyes off of. If we had had more room, I fear we would have left with an entire plate and bowl set as well!

Beautiful pottery we purchased in Port de Soller in Mallorca
So, I suppose in a way, we do have a small tradition of collecting precious items from places we visit. We can't really afford to get something nice from everywhere that we go, especially since we've been blessed with the opportunity to see so much while we are stationed here in Germany. I do think I'd like to develop a small tradition, something we can do on every trip, as long as it keeps things fun and doesn't result in the unnecessary collection of random trinkets in the house.

Do you have a tradition you enjoy doing to memorialize your adventures and trips abroad? I would love to hear about them :)



1 comment:

  1. I usually buy earrings and Christmas ornaments, especially Angels.