A guest post by My Darling Husband, you can read more of his travel tales on his blog.
After a month of souvenir assaults in Italy, Colleen and I managed to return home with just four new items; a t-shirt for Liam, glass bead earrings for Colleen, a book of our Venice tour (included in the tour cost) and a wonderful etching of Florence purchased from a local artisan. They all have special memories attached to them.
Colleen’s earrings match the necklace she bought in Venice during our first visit there in 2005, the etching evokes the splendour of Florence and the book helps us relive our Venetian tour experience. While the t-shirt will always remind Colleen of my beautiful use of the Italian language until I ran out of vocabulary before finishing the transaction.
But we have many more memories from our romantic month immersed in Italian culture and history, and no tolerance left for knick knacks to remind us. So we use the two most valuable tools available to capture our memories; a camera and a pen.
We took close to a thousand photographs in Italy, and as I sort through them they remind me of great meals, local customs and the small differences that made Italy memorable. The key is to not only photograph the famous sights but to capture the seemingly mundane, your meals, the local shop displays or anything that stirs your interest or imagination. Try to tell a story with your photo, the locals flocked to one gelateria every afternoon and I tried to capture the atmosphere with this photo on the right.
Keep a Journal
As you travel, record your thoughts and observations in a journal each day. Keep a small notebook and pen in your day bag or pocket to jot down notes then each evening transcribe and expand the detail in your main journal. There is no more powerful tool to remember your vacation, and by combining your words and images you will create a permanent record of your adventure. Then print it in a book like this one I made with Blurb:
Find Experiences not Shopping
Many travellers are shuffled from shopping experience to shopping experience by their tour guides or the local tourist industry, and many of their purchases never see the light of day after the trip. Use your hard earned vacation money to have memorable experiences, hire a personal guide, attend a local concert or sporting event and get to know some of the local people. I vividly remember an hour spent mingling with locals on their piazza, and you will find your best vacation memories in similar places and eliminate your souvenir clutter as well.
Item 329 of 365 less things
One of the many souvenirs from our days living in Seattle. Proof that freebies are hard to resist and and soon become sentimental clutter.
5 Things I am grateful for today
- Getting the cleaning out of the way quickly – Today was cleaning day and I had it all taken care of in less than three hours.
- My hubby writing today’s post – It was 8:30pm and I couldn’t come up with anything to write about and he stepped in and saved the day.
- Movies – We went to see the new Harry Potter movie today.
- Freedom – Not all people throughout the world live with this luxury and the rest of us often take it for granted. Thank you to those who have lost their lives or have served time fighting to ensure that freedom for us.
- Fun Memories – That T-shirt buying incident in Italy was hilarious. I nearly wet myself I laughed so much. It makes me chuckle now just thinking about it.