I buy things when I travel. Clothes, shoes, purses, hats, jewelry. Wall hangings, paintings, and other forms of art. Books, small trinkets, and other mementos. And of course, I take pictures. However, my favorite items that I consciously make a point of collecting and saving are anything that will fit into my travel scrapbooks.
As I travel, I am constantly thinking that if a particular piece of paper is significant enough, then I keep it. Sometimes what I collect, even over the course of a few weeks, gets quite large and actually increases the weight of my backpack by a few pounds.
Tickets, for example, such as anything from my flights and other transportation, to museums and other admission tickets are some of the pieces of paper I keep. Brochures and informational pamphlets. Schedules and museum passes. Hotel stationery, and napkins with logos of restaurants find their way into my collection. I buy cards and postcards, especially if I am not allowed to take pictures inside a church or museum.
Maps and sometimes even receipts of things I buy are put into my scrapbooks. I make it a point to bring home some currency from my travels, in the form of bills or coins, usually the equivalent of a dollar or less to add to my scrapbooks. Business cards, itineraries, and copies of pages from my journals are added.
Some food wrappers of different candies, especially chocolates, after I clean them out, are taken home as well. My travel scrapbooks even contain copies of emails that I might have sent home to family and friends, and printings of posts I put on Facebook.
When all this paper is combined with my photos, I can have volumes of scrapbooks for one particular trip. Twenty-four days in Bhutan filled 4 scrapbooks. Fifteen days circumnavigating the Baltic Sea also took 4 volumes. For Cambodia, I filled only one scrapbook, because as of yet, I have not printed any of my photos. And a five-month trip to Europe resulted in 12 scrapbooks! The list goes on.
Most of the time, my scrapbooks are organized chronologically. Other times, by subject matter. I might even write in the margins of the pages the dates and places or activities of where the pieces of paper are from.
Basically anything flat has a potential for becoming part of my travel scrapbooks. I even have a piece of lace from Belgium, stamps from Bhutan, and flat pieces of wood that were scraps from a wood carver making shoes in the Netherlands.
I have an entire bookshelf filled in my living room of scrapbooks. However, not all of these are travel scrapbooks. I also keep scrapbooks of my life outside of travel. I can’t even begin to list what goes into those. Some even date back to before I was born, and a few scrapbooks contain all the blogs that I have ever written about my travels. What is more, this bookshelf featured in this blog is only one of the bookshelves in my home that contains scrapbooks.
Part of my transition into coming back home from a trip is to put my scrapbooks together. They are a great way to relive my travels, and also a great way to share my travels with others. Between all the pieces of papers and photos, my scrapbooks themselves tell stories of my travels.
The pages from my travel scrapbooks included in this blog are:
1. Camino de Santiago, Spain – Handwritten notes; postcard of the yellow arrow symbol of the Camino; a scallop shell (concha) trinket souvenir which is another symbol of the Camino, along with the packaging it came in; clovers that someone gave me on my walk; Euros.
2. Vietnam – A postcard I really liked that represented the country to me; “bracelets made by various people” that I purchased.
3. “I had a sweet tooth in Spello” – A chocolate bar wrapper (Venchi cioccolato puro) and a few small candy wrappers; my photos and a postcard of Chiesa di Santa Maria Maggiore, Spello, Italy.
4. Bhutan – Roasted peanut packets from Druk Air from my flight from Bangkok to Paro; a photo of the King and Queen of Bhutan, and the announcement of their wedding that I received on the flight; Royal Bhutan mountain spring water label from bottle; one Ngultrum, Bhutanese money.
5. Cambodia – Business cards from the only winery in Cambodia; a list of what I did on January 16; business card and soap wrapper from one of the hotels I stayed at; Angkor National Museum brochure.
6. Croatia to Italy – Various transportation tickets and boarding cards for trains and buses taken to get from one county to the other; my photos and a brochure for glass painting artwork with sunflowers in Gubbio, Italy.
7. Galapagos Islands – Receipt for some food; flight ticket from Quito to Galapagos; my tourist card and visitor pass receipt to Galapagos; Parque Nacional Galapagos brochure.