Over the years, I have collected many souvenirs from my travels. After my first major trip about 7 years ago, I bought a travel box to house my collections. I put many things from my first adventure in Maui, Hawaii in that box. Things that I still have to this day. Lavender from a lavender farm tour I went on. Napkins from a delicious restaurant I ate in.
Looking through my little souvenir box, I see a lot of it is random paper items like receipts, maps and ticket stubs. Things that I had planned on using in some creative travel craft project that was never created. I’ve cleaned this box out a few times over the years, but it’s so difficult to throw any of it away. I know I don’t NEED a ticket stub for a train ride in Italy from 6 years ago, but I still want if for some reason that I don’t fully understand.
Among my collections are currency (mostly coins with a few small bills) left over from my trips. I have euros, pounds, pesos (Mexican and Colombian) and a few Ecuadorian coins. I’ve always loved foreign currency. The bills are always so colorful and decorative, unlike the bills we use here in the United States. Often, I feel like currency is reflective of the people it represents. In many of the places I’ve traveled, the people are colorful and full of life, just like their beautiful currency.
On a recent trip to Colombia, I decided I wasn’t going to buy or keep things to put into that box anymore (except currency, of course). No more shot glasses or keychains that will never be used or gifted. No more collecting postcards from every city and sight I visit. No more saving every scrap of paper handed to me. Instead, my boyfriend and I bought two beautiful art pieces to hang on our walls. To date, they are my favorite souvenirs. Things that are on display for the world to see instead of locked away in a box for me to occasionally reminisce over.
Every time I open this box, I have a rush of mixed emotions. Joy remembering all of the amazing experiences I had and the incredible people I met. But also sadness. Sadness that those experiences have come and gone. Sadness that I will never see some of those people again. Sadness that I’m sitting in my apartment looking through the past instead of currently being on an adventure. I often have feelings of being trapped after I look through my little travel box. Trapped back in a life that didn’t satisfy the last time. Or the time before that.
So now I’m trying to decide what to do with the contents of this box. Do I continue to lug around my past experiences, keeping them hidden away for just me? Or do I actually clean this box out? Get rid of the little faded scraps of paper. The 6 year old candy bar I never ate. The now crushed dried flowers.
What kind of souvenirs do you collect and where do you keep them? Do they bring you joy or sadness?