I like to keep a little something from wherever I visit. The key here is little. I don’t care for a bunch of stuff in the home or the van. For a couple of years now, I’ve been on the “throw one thing away a day,” kick. Since I’m still at it, you can imagine how much stuff I have to purge. Adding more to the pile is not the objective. And if I’m backpacking or flying abroad, I physically don’t have the space for extras. So while I have three collections, they are all of suuuuper tiny things that can all fit into a purse or shoebox.
Collecting Charms for a Charm Bracelet
I’ve had this thing for years. Yeah, I took a small break during the slider charm phase of the early 2000s (remember those), but I always held on to traditional charms. Everything from India, Japan, and Turkey to Georgia, California, and New York are represented here. I love this thing. I don’t have the charms soldered on (I’ve had to change bracelets a few times), but after suffering the heartache of losing an irreplaceable charm, they are now all attached with things that look like super tiny key rings. I use the tool below to attach them…no idea what it’s called.
Putting Together a Pin Collection
I legit dork out for pins. I don’t know where this came from – it’s a new bug, I guess. I don’t collect them from each place and given the option, charms beat pins every day of the week and twice on Sunday. These are usually purchased after the fact since I don’t often find great pins on site. Mostly, I wear them to amuse my students. To keep them organized, I have a 3-ring zippered binder. I hand-sew precut sheets of felt to page protectors. Ridiculously easy, right?
Travel Patches for a Backpack
Okay, this was something I started overseas and quickly ran out of space. Since then, patches have been added to an accidently self-gifted airline blanket. I love the patches, but as the backpack wears out (this thing is old), I’ll have to re-stitch them onto another one. Whatever – I’ll do it.
Yep, that’s what I go for. Finding these things can be a bit of a treasure hunt through small shops in a city. It also gives me something to do during my downtime – hand sewing a patch or opening up a charm ring takes a minute or twenty.
These are things that I can always look at as insta-memories. I don’t have to dig out souvenirs – the bracelet is on my arm. When I’m cold, I have a blanket of memories to warm me up. And the pins? There’s no way I’m going to give a lecture on the Flavian Dynasty* without wearing a pin of the Coliseum.
(*Pick any natural or biological disaster in Imperial Rome. 9 times out of 10, it happened during the time of the Flavians. OTOH, they built a cool circle for fights and stuff so it evens out.)
What do you collect while on the road? Comment below OR post a link to your collection on your blog!