Since so many people take vacations in this last month or so before school starts back up for kids, I thought this would be a good time to cover travel and souvenirs. Many minimalists will claim they eschew material goods to allow them the financial freedom to travel. Some minimalists adopted the lifestyle in order to travel–Their entire life fits in their suitcase.
I think we can all agree that the standard souvenirs–snow globes, pens, coffee mugs, t-shirts, shot glasses, etc.–are useless and a little tacky. We don’t need some trinket with the name of the city on it (or, really, any material item) to remember we went there.
Pens used to be my go-so souvenir. I had a floating statue of liberty pen from when I went to New York with the school band in high school and a pen from the Spy Museum from when we went to Washington, D.C. Recently, those got chucked out. I have far too many high quality pens to keep those cheap plastic ones.
That doesn’t mean I never get souvenirs and it doesn’t mean you never should, either. I just get a different kind of souvenir.
This butterfly that hangs in my car was a souvenir from our trip to Key West. We visited the Butterfly Conservatory and, as I’ve mentioned before, butterflies are a very important symbol to me. I saw this butterfly and thought it would look beautiful hanging from my rearview window. It’s unique and I get lots of compliments on it. Plus, everytime I get in my car, I think of that wonderful vacation, which was the first one my husband and I ever went on together.
The fluorite obelisk that sits on my desk with some of the other crystals in my collection was actually a souvenir from our trip to Savannah, Georgia last summer. Before meeting some friends in Hilton Head, South Carolina, my husband and I spent a few days by ourselves in Savannah. We did a trolley tour around the city and walked around the city for awhile, checking out the local sights. I stopped in this crystal shop and intended only to look. This obelisk caught my eye, but I stepped out of the store empty handed as we continued to look around. I decided to go back and get it after I had taken some time to consider the purchase. (And this was a good 6 months before I’d ever heard the word “minimalist”!) I already had quite a few crystals at that point, but decided to get the obelisk because the colors and its quality stood out to me. I took this photo outside so the interesting swirls of greens and purples would be obvious. What’s not as obvious from the photo are the flashes and other beautiful features that are hard to capture with a camera.
The manatee necklace in the center is one I have had since I was a child. The earrings, found by chance in an adorable shop on a vacation to St. Augustine, look like they go with it. It’s not obvious at all that these were not all part of the same set, purchased at the same time. When I saw them as we were browsing local shops, I knew I had to have them and they ended up being my souvenir from that trip.
So that brings me to our upcoming trip to Los Angeles: Will I purchase any souvenirs? That’s an easy question. As we’ve planned our trip around a convention that will involve many of my favorite comedians, I am planning to add to my autograph collection in lieu of other, more conventional souvenirs. It will be easy to resist other trinkets with a plan already in place, since adding to my autographs will add much more value for me than any other souvenir I can think of. That’s not to say I must have a souvenir from every trip I go on: If our trip to L.A. did not involve this convention that features some of my favorite comedians and meet-and-greet opportunities, I would probably not get a souvenir of any kind–certainly not a tacky t-shirt or a mug I’ll use once, then let collect dust.