Collections that are acquired from places where you travel are somewhat different than mementos that are organically related to the culture of your destination.
You have a memento when you purchase a golf ball from the Augusta National or a shot glass from the bartender at the Irish bar you visited every day on your vacation. You can probably get a golf ball or a shot glass from any airport in the world. There’s nothing wrong with such collections, but an assembly of similar souvenirs are different than mementos.
Here is yesterday’s blog on mementos: http://marionaldridge.wordpress.com/2013/09/12/mementos/
Those of us with a touch of (or a lot of) OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) like to collect things, and we all have family and friends who collect certain items. When I am in a random place (say, San Francisco or Savannah) and I find myself passing time in a gift shop or an antique mall, having a specific article to look for gives me an objective. I’m a guy and a little bit of time in boutique type shops goes a long way. Wandering in a store and/or window-shopping is not my thing. Go in, make my purchase, and leave. That is my preferred pattern.
My wife Sally likes bluebirds. My best friend Fuzzy, before he died, was a big Clemson Tiger fan. So, wherever I found myself in a place that might have cutesy type collectibles, I would ask if they had any bluebirds or tigers. Sometimes they did. Neither Sally nor Fuzzy, as far as I know, ever bought a bluebird or a tiger for themselves. Now, because of my travel gifts to her, Sally has a collection of bluebirds, ranging from salt and pepper shakers to some very nice porcelains. After Fuzzy died, his family made sure I ended up with what I call “The World’s Largest Collection of Cheap Tigers.”
Along the way, not to compete with Fuzzy, I had begun collecting mugs and cups with pictures of tigers on them. I have over fifty, which may not be the world’s largest collection, but they are fun to use during football season. Also, when we were in Scotland the first time, Sally and I bought some glass paperweights. That has become a modest collection for us. (None of this is worth stealing, by the way, so if any criminally minded people read this blog, this ain’t the house you want to rob—unless you want a lot of really gaudy, small, tacky, cheap tigers.)
So, our collections are not site-specific mementos, with a few exceptions. Still, it is fun to buy for something meaningful for family, friends, and myself when I am out and about.
I don’t usually ask for specific feedback on these web posts, but I am curious what kind of collections you have… Thimbles? Golf balls? Postcards?