House & Home,  Travel

Try Collecting Stories and Sharing Them With Passion

Picture it. A room in your home you call the museum room.

(Yes, I know, I’ve been watching too many late-night reruns of The Golden Girls. Thank you, Sophia.)

In that room, various items from different tourist destinations, souvenirs if you must, sit on display. Although tastefully arranged, the artifacts completely cover the shelves and surfaces. You spent time and money at various tourist destinations picking out just the right memory, and you want to display them. In order to share them, you must invite people to your museum; however, the invite is usually after the conversation and the passion of the moment has passed. Bringing your friends to the museum becomes anti-climatic.

You also have volumes of pictures and postcards that you use to share your trips, and you have even saved the travel brochures. Paging through the volumes, however, doesn’t convey the passion you experienced during your trip. As you are sharing your story with friends, however, you find that their focus is on you and not your photographs.

The stories of what you saw, what you experienced, and who you talked with capture the attention of your friends because your voice conveys the passion of what you experienced.

And experiences are what you should be collecting.

Photos by R. Kojetin – Created with Canva

What a fitting quote to come across as I work through a month of decluttering and downsizing in order to live a simpler life.

That museum room was in my mother’s home. Most souvenirs, however, only have meaning to the person who purchased them. Although many of them are beautiful in their own right, I have no connection with the items. Her museum room has affected the choices I make in purchasing souvenirs. Each year since her passing, I have worked to collect fewer trinkets and take fewer pictures.

Gulf Shores March 2022

I took my birthday week and escaped to Gulf Shores, Alabama. I needed to walk in the sand and surf. I needed to take a break from everything at home.

March 2022 in Gulf Shores did not provide enough warmth for a good swim in the Gulf. I walk along the shore, feeling the sand beneath my feet and between my toes while the waves wash over my feet.

As I walked along the shoreline in March, I found myself talking to random people. I’d smiled at the silliness of the college students celebrating spring break. One morning, a college student called out to me, “You’re beautiful.”

I spun around and smiled. “Thank you,” I called back. I wondered if he knew that he had made my day with that one statement. I collected that memory.

I followed the gaze of a couple of girls looking toward the horizon. They were in awe. A pod of dolphins was surfacing out in the deeper water.

Although their excitement was due to just seeing the pod, the excitement stirred something different in me. It brought back the memory of Hubby’s and my dolphin-watching cruise last summer. I smiled at the memory and felt that my late husband was walking the beach with me. I collected that memory.

I collected shells that called to me instead of purchasing some at a souvenir shop. Not every shell sparked my interest.

I collected memories, feelings, and experiences.

Exploring Souvenir Shops

The rainiest day was cold as well. I decided to explore some of the souvenir shops that lined the main drag that followed the coastline. It struck me that several were the same chain stores that I had seen in St. Augustine and Panama City Beach.

To me, souvenir stores sell memories of a destination that the tourist didn’t care to experience. They remind me of tour packages that boast 7 countries in 7 days. The tourist collects items at each destination instead of having the time or taking time to experience the culture, immerse themselves in the atmosphere, and enjoy the experience. The items purchased are brought home, set somewhere for a while, moved to storage, and later sold or donated, or worse, tossed in the trash.

Collect Memories

Whether you are exploring something within the city where you live or you are on an extended journey, try immersing yourself in the experience so that the stories you tell of your excursion contain the same passion you felt as you first experienced it. People are always more interested in your stories than in the stuff you bought.

What about you?

What is your favorite souvenir to collect? Or do you collect memories? Please take a moment to share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.

Until next time . . .

Photo by R. Kojetin & Created with Canva

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