Monday, November 23, 2009


I am someone who gets a lot of pleasure out of being a traveller and not a tourist. When I go to another place on a full vacation or just a weekend trip, I like to really go into the neighborhoods and poke around to find the really interesting places that are out there. It’s all well and good to do the big bus tours or the package kind of things but I am so much more happier when I get to actually see the places that I’m going to.

There is one odd aspect of this enjoyment of a trip to another place that I’ve begun to notice over the past year. It kind of left me feeling a little silly when I first thought of it but my feelings have begun to change recently to a more positive point of reference. Unlike so many other people that spend their time buying all kinds of little nicknacks like fridge magnets or that neat paper weight you see in the hotel store, I go for something a little different. My choice of memento of a trip? T-shirts!

I have so many t-shirts from all of the places that I’ve been to over the years that I don’t know what to do with some of them. For example, I went to the New York City/New Jersey area in mid October a couple of years back and I went all over the city and much of the surrounding areas. What did I bring back? Three t-shirts including one from the Times Square Hard Rock Cafe, one from the Lombardi’s pizza restaurant, and one goofy touristy one made out to look like a Jim Beam bottle label. Yes, that was all of the souvenirs that I brought back with me from a weeklong trip.

At one point I thought that this made me a little silly when it came to my souvenir buying. While everyone else had been buying all of this stuff, I instead decided to choose to go down the singular path of the land of apparel. From my trip to the Minneapolis area, I have a University of Minnesota baseball jersey. From my last trip to Los Angeles, I have both a shirt from Canter’s Deli and a Jack Skellington “Bone Daddy” shirt from Disneyland. That is all I bought to bring home from all of these trips. You just tell people this and they kind of look at you a little cockeyed. These are people that mix up their souvenirs but that just doesn’t seem to be me.

Over the last couple of months, my mind has come back around about this and I now am starting to feel like this has been a good thing for me to do. Instead of having all kinds of little random clutter all over my desk to remind me about where I’ve been, what I have are souvenirs that I actually get some value out of. These are things that I wear and am seen out in public while having them on my body. What I bring back with me is something that I can use to show everyone that yes I am someone who has been to these places and I have brought back the spoils of my trip to show off to everyone around me. I know that might sound like a slightly more silly way to put it but it kind of makes me feel even better in the long run so there you go.

I have some other little travel eccentricities, like picking out the places that I want to visit by watching every show on the Food Network or the Travel Channel that I can find, but the t-shirt souvenir conundrum is one that seems to stick out the most. Either way, those weird tweaks brought me out to places like Lombardi’s Pizza in New York City and Voodoo Donuts in Portland where I had some amazing food and culture. To go along with that, I also brought back the t-shirts that help to show the kinds of places that I like to visit and what I do when I’m there. All of these things make me, the traveller, feel a lot better about showing off all of the places that I’ve been and even helps to maybe start a conversation about all of those places that we have both been. All this for just buying a cool looking t-shirt? A definite win-win in my book but that’s just me.


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