The spectacular white tiger was at least 5 feet tall and towered over my 4-year-old son. Guess who got to carry it around for the entire trip? Imagine the fun we then had trying to get this Magic Kingdom souvenir onto the plane for the return journey! It lived in our garage for years.
It was a funny experience and a lasting memory, but it also reminds me how we tend to over collect things on holiday. We try to freeze a moment in time but end up filling our houses.
As we get older, however, we start to consider downsizing our lives in general. For me, as an older traveller, grabbing a postcard at the train station is all that I need. Besides, there are much better things to bring home with you than souvenirs. Here are 7 of the most important.
Related: 11 reasons why women should not be afraid of travelling solo.
The email address of at least one new friend
Making friends with strangers is one of the golden gifts of travel. Circumstantial relationships tend to dissolve as your children fly the nest, friends move away or relationships shift. Travel is a way to meet like-minded people. Bringing back at least one email address will continue the magic of a new friendship.
Related: How to make friends on holiday.
An attitude of gratitude
Travel stimulates an attitude of gratitude as we reflect on what we saw, learned and experienced. Seeing how others live is sobering and thought provoking. On a practical level, I am usually grateful that I didn’t lose my passport, credit card or item of clothing. That said, on my last train trip, I somehow managed to misplace 3 berets and an umbrella! At least I can be thankful that someone else is probably getting use from them.
Related: Solo travel tips for travelling alone.
One creative idea
Travel opens your mind and heart to new experiences. I suggest you always return with one creative idea that encourages you to try something new. This summer I participated in a cooking course in Lecce, Italy. When I returned home, the idea of improving my non-existent cooking skills and preparing authentic pasta gave me pleasure all over again! Travel opens the doors to creativity. Why not let your next trip open the door to a new passion or skill?
An appreciation of home
I love the feeling of entering my apartment after I’ve been on a long trip. Surrounded by my books, art and familiar things, I get a greater appreciation for all that I am blessed with at home. An appreciation of the beautiful juxtaposition of the freedom to travel that I have just enjoyed, stabilised by the return to my home base, is something I always bring back. Travel makes the world feel like home, but, there is nothing like your own bed!
Lots and lots of memories
Travel makes wow moments. It creates stories, filled with adjectives and verbs! Come home with at least one memory of getting lost, having a delicious meal, crying for a missed opportunity or laughing at a new joke. Return with a memory about stepping outside of your comfort zone — or finding a new comfort zone. And, of course, don’t forget to come away with the memory of at least one amazing sunset.
A sense of accomplishment at your adventurous spirit
Travelling is an act of boldness. We can embrace our new confidence and travel to places like the Amazon rainforest or to take an Australian adventure solo. Travel helps us to express our adventurous spirit. The sense of accomplishment at where we travelled can fuel further a lifestyle of reinvention and discovery.
Related: Discover a range of escorted tours across the globe with Saga.
A better knowledge of who you are
Travel has always given me deeper understanding of myself. It has helped me to define my style and fashion preferences. More importantly, it has enabled me to acknowledge my weaknesses and strengths. Travel helps you to identify who you are — your talents, strengths, limitations and boundaries.
Exploration is a wonderful teacher and, even though it can make you feel vulnerable at times, it offers a powerful opportunity to shine a light on your true self.
Souvenirs feel like lasting mementos. In most cases, they are just ‘things’. The memories, friendships and insights that we take away with us from a trip last a lifetime. Best of all, they don’t take up space in your wardrobe. Instead, they fit perfectly in your heart!
Saga holidays have a range of holidays and cruises available across the globe. Find out more today.
Image supplied by Margaret Manning