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3 (Small) Things to Collect While Traveling or Living on the Road

Traveling light doesn't have to mean putting aside your hoarding tendencies. Here are three small collections I take on the road.

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

My Travel 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.

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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?

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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.

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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!

7 comments on “3 (Small) Things to Collect While Traveling or Living on the Road

  1. I remember when I left home in 1988 and lived in a pub where all the temporary female staff had charm bracelets to attach charms as souvenirs of their backpacking adventures.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love charm bracelets too and collect charms frim my travels, just added something Makasian and a dragon from Singapore, great for mrmoies

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m still a fan of collecting magnets for the kitchen fridge whilst travelling and I too have a camp blanket whereas, I collect location patches to sew on. I don’t keep the blanket in the campervan although might do so as the weather is turning colder now.

    Nice collection, I hadn’t considered the charm bracelet idea. Where do you pick the charms up from as I don’t recell seeing many outside of a Pandora shop and would love to start looking.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I, too, love your charm bracelet. I bet it is very musical when you wear it. I don’t really collect anything, but on occasion I will by a refrigerator magnet, think those are fun.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: How to Get A National Park Passport (or a State Passport) and SHOULD You Even Get One? – It's Her Van

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