Though some people are content to allow memories to serve as the sole reminder of trips, many more are seduced by the lure of tangible souvenirs to help bring a little feeling of escape back home to everyday life. Too often though, when those souvenirs come home, they languish in drawers or closets, or clutter up shelves with no discernible purpose. Careful forethought however can help you bring home travel reminders that will amp up your decor rather than give you more reasons to Cure!
I travel a lot for work and pleasure, and long ago decided that I needed to focus my souvenir purchases to help create meaningful collections. I started my globetrotting career at age 24 and so my first travel collection was young and quirky- I loved displaying individual pictures, and so on each trip, sought out the most absurdly tacky tourist-oriented picture frame I could find to house my favorite photo from the trip. These frames form a bizarrely enjoyable collection that I confess still makes me laugh; though I no longer add to this collection, it does still make an appearance when I'm living overseas.
The picture frames taught me that if one souvenir is fun, multiples can form a interesting collection. Multiples also help give an item context it might otherwise lack, and can make it easier to work souvenirs into your home decor. Though hauling them on board my flight as carryon was a hassle, the eight Turkish lamps I brought home from Istanbul add a glorious pop of color to my living room windows- a dramatic impact that one or two lamps could never match.
I also have a tendency to collect art when I'm traveling, generally because unframed pictures from street artists are inexpensive and easy to transport. I love collecting art from the places I visit because there is usually a great story involved, and because every time I see the pieces, I recapture a bit of the adventure that led to its purchase. Every piece in the picture above has a wonderful memory attached, making even the least expensive a priceless work of art in my mind.
Textiles are another great focus for a travel collection again because they are generally easy to transport and can be relatively inexpensive. Living in the Middle East gave me the opportunity to build a great collection of carpets, and taught me that even the biggest textile can generally be folded by an expert to fit inside a suitcase! The kimono I brought home from Japan is the big orange focal point of my living room, and I absolutely love it.
In the end, it doesn't really matter what you collect when you are traveling- what matters is that the collection is meaningful to you, and that you have the space and inclination to display it. If you've got a drawer or a box full of travel memorabilia, dig it out and take a look at it with a new eye to see if there is a way to work it into your existing home decor.
Do you already have a travel collection on display in your home? If so, tell us all about it in the comments below.