Yesterday I finally set up my nightstand after moving to LA a couple months ago – an antique travel trunk with little trinkets that I’ve collected over the years. As I went through my “memory” box selecting items to display I picked up things that I haven’t seen in years – an Australian boomerang, a Russian doll, a Peruvian llama, a French music box, magnets from Serbia and Italy. I held each item in my hand and one by one the memories came flooding back into my mind.
I am so glad that I bought these little keepsakes. Sometimes people say that they are a waste of money and space in your luggage – I strongly disagree. These items have stories and memories behind them.
I pick the music box back up and spin it. A little tune of “Champs-Élysées” rings out softly. It’s small and fits in the palm of my hand. I think back to the trip that really started it all. I had been out of the country before, but this was the first trip of my young adult life that I actually planned the details myself – making lists of what I wanted to do and see.
When my mom was in high school, her father took her on a trip to Paris. It was just the two of them. They had an amazing time bonding and traveling with each other – experiencing another culture and really being able to focus on their relationship. My mom said it was some of her favorite memories with her dad. Fast forward about 10 years to when my grandfather was 46 years young – he was diagnosed with colon cancer and passed away within 3 months of diagnosis. It was unexpected and very quick.
My mom has always been very thoughtful and decided that there was only one thing to do – to pass on this memory of her dad. My mom sat me down when I was 17 and explained her idea. She wanted to honor his memory by taking a one on one trip with each of her daughters – making memories of our own and experiencing a little bit more of the world. It was with this intention that my travel experiences truly began.
One of the “rules” of this trip was that I had to make all the plans – picking the countries I wanted to go to, researching flights, hotels, things to do. It really helped me gain the life skills needed to plan a bigger trip. I’m really grateful for my mom pushing me to go through the whole process. I learned about comparing different flights and train schedules, booking direct verses booking through third parties, and more. My mom even had me come up with a list of items for both of us to pack. Once all our plans were in order and bags packed, we were on our way to some great adventures!!
Phoenix > London > Paris > Biarritz > Paris > London > Phoenix
We also snuck in a day visiting San Sebastian while staying in Biarritz. In hindsight, it would have been better use of our time not to move around so much and not to backtrack as much. We also changed hotels within a city multiple times in order to change our experience. We could have seen more had we not had to repack and move every few days. I never said my planning was perfect! I definitely learned a lot of lessons from this trip!
I should have logged these memories as they happened. I realize now, going through pictures that I had forgotten so much that happened! I urge you to jot down things that happen to you on your trips to revisit later on. I am laughing at some of the things that I’m remembering only because of pictures recalling things that I had completely forgotten – and I can’t help but wonder what things I forgot and that don’t have pictures to remind me. Over the next few days, I will be posting short stories and lessons I’ve learned from this trip. Stay tuned for more! I hope you enjoy!
I challenge you to go through an old box of photos or items from one of your memory boxes… find one that reminds you of a really great story and share it below!
To read part 2 click Here!