I’ve always had a thing for mementos. When I was growing up, the hardest thing for me about keeping my room clean and updating it as I matured was always having to force myself to throw away little trinkets I had kept as reminders of special events or memories. I remember I had whole shelves of trophies, medals, and awards (yes, I actually used to be athletic), even the little ribbons you got at field day. I had ticket stubs, figurines, you name it. I’ve always loved having something physical to signify an experience. So, when I started to travel more, especially when I was travelling for cheap, I started to think about ways to represent each trip, something that I could find everywhere I go and would be cheap. And thus, my postcard obsession was born.
I know many people collect a certain item from everywhere they go- a snow globe, a bottle of sand, or a particularly-posed photo, so I know my idea is nowhere near unique. But I love it anyway. My collection covers every new place I go as well as just important days to remember. So whether I’m seeing the Eiffel Tower for the first time or spending a day in historic Philadelphia with my family, I buy a postcard.
I usually search through quite a bit of them to get just the right one. I look for one that both includes the name of the place as well as an image of something that directly relates to what I did while there. Then, on the back of the postcard, I date it and write about my trip. I include any funny stories, crazy happenings, or where we got a really amazing meal. This had led to some pretty scribbly note-taking on sweltering trains in Italy and bumpy flights to Amsterdam.
Then, when I return home, I store them all in a little bin, in no particular order, so that I can dump them all out whenever I want and go through all my stories.
How do you commemorate your trips and special memories?