On vacation, I always try to imagine what it would be like to live in the place I am visiting. What neighborhood would I live in? Would this cafe be my go-to writing spot? Would the traffic get to me? I also like to bring home little reminders of the places I’ve traveled, souvenirs, though that word has so many negative connotations that I prefer to say mementos, small reminders of where I’ve been.
The things I take home rarely last long. They aren’t keepsakes. I don’t collect snow globes or t-shirts. I’m much more likely to buy a bag of local coffee, a jar of jam from the market, a bar of handmade soap, or possible a piece of local art.
Sometimes I keep these treasures, other times I share them with friends, but I love collecting on my trips. Later, when I make a cup of tea from a market in some other city, give a friend a trinket and tell her about the place it came from, or take a bite of well-traveled candy, I re-experience a tiny piece of my travels, like a sensory snapshot. When I’m back home and feeling restless, these keepsakes recall wonder and surprise, infusing my routine with bits of mystery.