I suppose we all keep mementos of special occasions…the corsage from your senior prom, the invitation to your grandchild’s 1st birthday party, things like that. We probably all also purchase some sort of souvenir each time we travel to a new destination. Some people buy and collect miniature spoons, others buy shot glasses, still other buy a T-shirt, and those are just the inexpensive things we (all) tend to come home with…don’t get me started on the bigger ticket items, haha.
My routine is to buy a $3-$5 “tacky souvenir” whenever we go somewhere new. They are just the little cheap-o representations of a major landmark that I buy from a souvenir stand in whatever destination we happen to be visiting. And they’re not all necessarily tacky, at least not to me. Some are resin, some are porcelain or ceramic, some are made from cast metals. Every single time I look at the shelf where my tacky souvenir collection sits, I smile and remember. Now that I think of it, I might even have a handful more tucked away in a box because they hang on the wall, and at some point we painted, so they had to come down. Hmmm…retrieval expedition coming soon!!
Travel truly is my therapy, and I carry the physical representation of that therapy home with me so it’s always accessible. My tacky souvenir collection is displayed year-round, except for a few weeks around Christmas when it is temporarily replaced by my “Noel corner” (all things Noel).
The tacky souvenir shelf sits within reach of all the grandkids, in the hallway just outside their nursery. They stop sometimes to pick them up and study them, and they’ll always ask me what each one is and where it’s from. As if they have a grasp on world geography and other countries thousands of miles from their house, haha. But I will say that the older two are starting to get an idea, and I love that they know the Eiffel Tower is in Paris without me telling them. While these souvenirs aren’t indestructible, I don’t worry that little hands will drop or damage them. Somehow, the kiddos understand these are special to me and they do try to handle with care. I hope we get an opportunity in the future to take those little people to one or two of the destinations represented so they can choose start their own tacky souvenir collection.
Of course, we always take a zillion pictures on our vacations, and come home with a head and heart full of new memories made. All that’s a given and so, so valuable. But these tacky souvenirs are tangible; I can just walk into my hallway and transport myself back to Matera or Paris or Northern Ireland just by picking them up like the little ones do. A little bit of therapy goes a long way when it’s months and months until the next trip.