Most people like to have some tangible reminder of our journeys. I do, too. However, am always trying to reduce the amount of stuff I accumulate that will sit on my counters or shelves. Although I have towering walls, my home is small and it takes very little stuff to clutter up my space. When my surfaces get cluttered, my brain gets cluttered. My souvenirs tend to be my photographs, stuff I can hang on my walls, jewellery, or ornaments that can be stashed in boxes for 11 months of the year.
I really enjoy photography. I'm not anywhere near the quality of many pros but I have some really spectacular photos. When I moved into this place, the 10m (33ft) high walls were intimidating so I decided to select a couple black & white images to print onto canvas for one of my tall walls. I was thrilled with the result and gradually added more canvases here and in my bedroom, too. I will add more with more travels. I have had digital photo frames but I've been disappointed that they haven't been as long-lasting as I would like and I really don't like them on walls.
It's pretty cliché but I have also picked up fridge magnets. Until retirement, they all lived in my school office and provided many distractions and conversation starters for my students over the years. They lasted on my fridge less than 3 months before the clutter drove me crazy. I bought four metal blank signs from IKEA and hung them in my den/music room.
I've bought other things to hang on my walls. I fell in love with the folk art and sloths in Costa Rica and really wanted something that I would appreciate in my home. This piece did it. Another piece I adore is the tapestry I bought from Sartanya, my Amayan hostess on Isla Los Uros. She worked on this while I was staying there and finished it the morning that I was leaving.
Amongst my favourite souvenirs are Christmas decorations. These are absolutely perfect for me because I am cheerfully reminded of my travels as I hang each on my Christmas tree. I've found some lovely ones over the years. I love it when visitors notice the travel theme and we share stories. The best part of collecting Christmas decorations is that you put them away for most of the year and don't have to dust them!
I also really like to buy fun jewellery. I don't buy exclusive high-end jewellery but I will look at better-than-tourist quality pieces. I really don't wear a lot of jewellery so it's kinda silly but I am attracted to shiny things.
I think it's fun to choose a keepsake from every destination. Some people I've met along the way collect spoons, pins, sand, shot glasses, T-shirts/hoodies, or flags. There are hordes of pin, badge, and/or magnet collectors. Some friends have beautiful display cases, crowded fridge fronts, or a cupboard stuffed with spices. Some create beautiful albums and journals. I have cluttered walls and magnificent Christmas tree decorations. Do you collect anything in particular or do you wait for inspiration to hit? How do you display your keepsakes? I'm always curious how others do it.
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