collect memories, not things… or both? 

The saying goes “collect memories not things” …. but sometimes when you’re living abroad it’s very difficult to not wind up doing both.

As I prepare to move back to America after living in Barcelona for 2 years, I am realizing how much random crap I’ve accumulated. But along with all this random crap comes some amazing and unforgettable memories. 

I have tons of clothes that remind me of certain places I’ve been, people I met and things I’ve done. A pair of boots I bought in Berlin because my shoes broke during a walking tour and the ground was covered in snow and I wouldn’t survive the day in my broken shoes. A purse I bought in Italy at one of the leather markets. A sweater I bought in Salamanca because the nights were colder than I expected. A red nail polish (that’s the perfect shade of red) given to me in the Amsterdam airport in a Christmas give away. 

I have a collection of airplane ticket , museum entrances, metro passes, maps, and other random papers collected throughout my travels .

I have a collection of souvenirs to remind me of the wonderful places I’ve been. 

And I have enough memories to last a lifetime. 

These memories I have are both physical and mental. But beyond everything I feel incredibly lucky to be returning home with them. 

Sometimes the memories you collect are things, and sometimes that’s okay.

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33 thoughts on “collect memories, not things… or both? 

  1. This is so true! I’m happy that you had a great time there, that you collected a lot of cool souvenirs that have precious memories attached to them, and that you made a lot of beautiful memories.
    Also, going off on a tangent, the bubbles in the picture you used are so pretty!

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  2. I still find it hard to get rid of the clothes that I bought abroad. While I definitely advocate for collecting memories over things, sometimes those memories are held in things as well 🙂

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  3. Try to bring them! I have moved many times, from city to city, country to country and continent to continent. I have a small box of mine, that is my entire life. A shoe box, and more then seldom do I get angry and sad that I didn’t bring more of my memories, because as you write, things ARE memories sometimes. All I can say, try to bring them 🙂

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  4. I’m for both. Souvenirs bring memories. For example, the pashmina scarves I bought in Turkey reminds me of the haggling I did at the Grand Bazaar. It was hilarious. A local told me to always haggle. So I did! I smile when I remember this.

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  5. It is amazing how quickly we can accumulate stuff when travelling! But as you say, your favourite things have the best memories attached so try to keep those over other little inconsequential items! And what a fun place to live for two years – love Barcelona!

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  6. Almost every thing I have comes with memories attached. – even my undies that were purchased in SoCal when I made an emergency trip south to help my brother and his wife after the birth of their first and only child. It really is quite efficient and pleasant to dress while memories waft over you.

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  7. I love this! Though I’ve never lived abroad, when my husband and I prepared to move from one state to another I found that there were many things that I held and were immediately transported back to a place or moment. The things we own that hold our memories for us are the best kinds of things to have I say.

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  8. Thanks for checking out my blog. I love this post. Whenever I go somewhere I also keep ticket stubs, brochures, and all my receipts. It helps me remember my trips. For souvenirs I usually get refrigerator magnets everywhere I go!

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  9. I know the feeling. Usually, whenever people ask me where I bought something I am glad to tell them, oh this is from Singapur, this is from Thailand, this is from Italy, this is from Canada and in those moments I realize how rich I am. 🙂

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