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Ahhh don’t we love the contributions of the French? Croissants, romantic accordion music, water lilies, the Statue of Liberty, expert flirtations, and stolen vocabulary.  The word “souvenir” means “to remember”, and if you’ve been to France, it certainly is memorable.

Shamelessly plugging my beloved Idyllwild haunt, Cafe Aroma, on my bike tour through Paris.

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So we collect things on our travels and we dub them “souvenirs.”  I’ve succumbed to the impulse to collect items from my travels since I was a teen vagabonding my way through Europe with a Eurail pass and a duffle bag.  Some predictable: spoons from each locale, shells, or local currency (hey, I’m happy that I still have some lire and drachma). And the not-so-obvious: boxer shorts from each locale (don’t ask!), photos of phone booths around the world, or other short-lived indulgences..

Phone booths in Bologna, Italy

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It would cost a mint to collect coins on this scale…

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The owners of a very posh goldsmiths selling jewelry and ancient coins allowed me to handle this beautiful Apollo coin, dated 2nd century BC.

 

But my favorite and most consistent method of gathering objects of fond recollection would be snapshots.  Here are a few from my most favorite memorable moments:

 

My Sailing Buddy, Fred, in San Diego Bay

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Sailling San Diego Bay

 

Paragliding in Italy…

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Ruben, my tandem paraglider guide, getting our (yes OUR) chute ready for a soar over the Italian Dolomites!

 

On horse-back in New Zealand

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You can see how taxing this all was for me and my mom ;)

 

Imagine souvenir shopping in this Greenwich Village establishment.

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Dizzying decisions!

 

Glacier hiking in New Zealand with my mom…

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(Sassing) and hiking Franz Josef glacier

 

Visiting friends I’ve met via social media, in this case, on the Jersey shore…

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Me and Esta, soaking up sunshine and friendship

 

Rolling along down a hill in New Zealand…

Zorbing in Rotorua, New Zealand

Zorbing in Rotorua, New Zealand

 

I still can’t believe I didn’t travel back in time for this festival in the Andaluz region of Spain.

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Pilgrimage at Rocio, Spain

 

Sometimes, we even document some of the more unpleasant memories…

 

Marmite Warning Package

 So many of our best memories, traveling and otherwise, are crafted by the people we meet along the way…

 

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Ford factory tour friends!

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Our sailing “family” in Croatia

 

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Blogville Groupies in Bologna

 

The cheery cherry man in Croatia

The cheery cherry man in Croatia

 

One of my favorite souvenir photos from my travels…horsing around.

 

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Happy cowgirl gang. From left: Debra Cincioni, me (Gina Stark) Liliana Baldassari, Chuck, Annie Fitzsimmons, Alyce Flynn, and Elizabeth Thorpe

 

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“Bucket Girls” sharing and caring on Ko Thao, Thailand

 

What are your unique and preferred methods of gathering mementos? And do you display them, or are they personal and stowed away?  Would love to hear. Happy travels!

A big THANK YOU to many who have made my travels possible in recent years: Blogville, Four Seasons Resorts, Right Path Adventures, Ford Motor Company, Walks of Italy and of course, the original wanderluster, my mom.

 

Photos by Gina Stark, unless I’m in them.

 

 

 

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