Travel collections

I’ve never been a big fan of the idea of adults collecting stuff. To me, large collections of random things like cat ornaments or biscuit tins are utterly pointless: they gather dust, make a house look really untidy and they’re mostly redundant, not being used for their intended purpose. Collections often make their collector seem, at best, a little bit odd.

So now I feel like a hypocrite. I hold my hands up – I’ve inadvertently (in the beginning, at least) developed my own collection.

Of mugs.

Starbucks ‘You Are Here’ mugs, to be precise.

It all began when I went to San Francisco for the start of a California road trip. Myself and Paul happened to be in Starbucks and we spotted the city mug featuring the iconic, almost Art-Deco image of the Golden Gate Bridge shrouded in fog. We both loved the mug and went back to buy it before we left San Fran. But then, on our trip down the coast to LA, we saw a couple more mugs and considered how nice it would be to have a set of 4 similar mugs, but with different US locations. And we reconciled the ‘sad factor’ with the fact that they’d remind us of our trip.

But then we went to London for Pride. And Oslo for a city break. And then Singapore. All of a sudden we had six. And we were developing reasons to buy them.

So I’m coming to terms with the fact that I now have a collection. And, actually, I love going to the cupboard and seeing all the mugs there. They’re well-designed and they do bring back memories. More importantly, they definitely all get used – the mug of choice for each day’s coffee depends entirely on the mood and the weather. On very cold days, it’s usually Oslo or Copenhagen; on Christmassy days it’s Prague (because we bought it during a Christmas market trip).

But we’ve had to develop rules about buying them: me and Paul MUST be together in the same city for a mug to count as “buy-worthy”. We’ve both felt pain on separate trips at various points: I recall the inner turmoil in Dubai, Salzburg and even Cambridge, as I had to accept defeat and reluctantly return those lovely mugs to the shelf.

As sad and as ‘inauthentic’ as it makes me feel, Starbucks have got me – I’m forever destined to traipse around a new city in search of that extra mug for our…gulp…collection! Who knows where it’ll end?

But if you need to borrow a mug, we have plenty…

Tell me about your fridge magnets (or other travel collections)

And all this got me to wondering about other people’s travel collections. What significant, or insignificant, object do you always bring back from your travels? A fridge magnet? A shell from the beach? Or something more extravagant? I’d be interested to know.

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