Travel Touchstones: Why We Collect
When I was a kid, my parents started a postcard collection for me. Every State Park, every zoo, and every school field trip was captured in an inexpensive card that I put in a photo album like a cherished family memory. Somewhere in my multiple moves, I lost that photo album, but about 14 years ago I started a grown-up version of that childhood collection: Starbucks mugs.
My husband, Brent Richardson, and I were on a Wonder Voyage trip to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. The devastation was immense. Shawn Small challenged us to find something that would remind us of the place. My husband found a shift key within the rubbish. That shift key truly transformed his life.
That’s where my Starbucks mug collection originated… kind of.
After a full day of service, Brent and I were going to grab coffee for the trip back to the airport, but the shop closed in the early afternoon. I was shocked that the store would still be opened at all. He reminded me that Starbucks is about as consistent as you can get. They are absolutely everywhere. I am not a frequent traveler, but my husband is. He told me he’d grab me a Starbucks mug the next time he went to New Orleans. Several years later, he did return to the Big Easy, and he bought me that mug.
Since then, he has made it a priority to hit a Starbucks in every place he goes. Our collection is currently at 90 mugs from around the globe. He built some racks to display them in our living room. He never duplicates a location no matter how many times he returns, so the collection is truly diverse. It’s almost like this homebody gets to travel with him. Almost.
The Touchstone Series
My mugs got me thinking about what other people may collect to remember their journeys. Over the next few months, we will see touchstones from nativity scenes and crosses to boxes, magnets, and patches. Each collection somehow connects the traveler with his or her adventures. We can’t give you another stamp on your passport just yet, but we hope these stories and collections will be a balm for the travel-hungry soul.