That thing from overseas

I’m finding it hard to focus on much at the moment…out trip to NY is fast approaching and becoming more real as each day passes. Rob and I email each other places to eat and go and do and sometimes just text messages about it with the countdown whilst it’s best not to mention it too loudly with the kids around (they are being well looked after by family and friends while we are gone for 12 days) IT’S GETTING REALLY EXCITED.

I’ve started thinking about what I am going to take (not much) and allowing myself to think a LITTLE about some of the things I might just buy when I am there.

You can see what I got last time I visited with Mrs Woog almost 5 years ago here. Needless to say I went completely overboard and bought WAY too many things. But it has got me thinking about some of the treasures I have bought from OS travels over the years and how special those things are.

I think anything that you have wrapped and repacked into your suitcase time and time again and without breaking always makes something more special don’t you think? I love that whenever you look at the item, or put them on, or use you are instantly transported back to where you bought it, the day or night, the weather, who you were with…these travel purchases are loaded with so many memories you can’t help but treasure them.

Here’s some of the things that I bought when we did our big trip to the UK and Croatia almost 3 years ago now!

I had a look around this morning and found a few things I have bought whilst OS that I absolutely treasure and will never part with for those very reasons…they are memories, not just things. Perhaps this is what they mean when they tell you to keep something that gives you joy? Never read that book but I imagine that’s what it’s on about.

Here’s some of mine to share with you…

A gift for Rob on his 30th birthday when we were celebrating it in the west of Ireland with some family friends. The most magical night filled with laughter and good food and family and friends who had travelled from all over the world. Rob was presented with this gorgeous compass so he always finds his way back there. So precious.

Much to Rob’s dismay, this plate I bought in a tiny store off this round square (can that even be a thing a round square?!) in Lucca. Yes it’s on my wall and yes it makes Rob think I am turning into a Granny but I love it. I remember the coffee we had beforehand with Rob’s Step mum, the shopping the girls did, the gelato we had as a bribery afterwards.

I think that Mum bought this back here in Australia but she lugged them over to Paris when we celebrated Christmas in Paris in 2008 and gave one to my sister and I on Christmas Day. I will never forget that apartment, little Daisy who was almost 2 (right about Maggie’s age now) and the Christmas we celebrated together. The freezing Christmas morning and the gorgeous long walk we all took after lunch while Mum looked after Daise at home.

This scarf I bought on the Isle of Skye while we waited for the ferry to take us back. It was FREEZING and blowing a gale and I remember the exact morning every time I wear it.

And every time I put this apron on from Tuscany that I bought 2 years ago I remember the shop and the amazing food and cooking we did while we were there.

How lucky am I?! Very! I have got much better at just getting one or two things per trip now…no room with kids and travel otherwise.

I can’t wait to see what one or two special things I will buy on this next trip. The memories that will come with them and the special place a mere “thing” will soon have in my heart.

What’s your best OS “thing” purchase?
Do you remember all the places/memories/things about the day/place as well?


  1. Not a purchase as such but we came home with a baby in my belly from our USA honeymoon… who is now our beautiful 18mth old daughter Georgia ?
    I look at photos of the trip and just think how lucky we are ? ?

  2. I so understand this! We have some beautiful mementoes from our travels. A glass dog from Venice on the mantlepiece, sunglasses from Athens (after leaving a pair in the bathroom at The Acropolis), a milk jug from Bath… the list goes on. My husband and I were talking about this just last night as I pulled out some moisturiser from France – the smell took us both back five years to southern France on our honeymoon. Bliss.
    Buy up overseas – what magical memories those treasures carry!

  3. I love buying a Christmas decoration from places we have visited! They are not an everyday reminder as such, but certainly bring back special memories when decorating the tree each year!

    • We also buy Christmas decorations, fuzzy kiwis, Alaskan float planes, beaded African dolls…one day we hope to have a travel tree only.

    • That’s a LOVELY idea! Wish I had started that years ago!

      • Very similar tradition here, though overseas travel has been on pause since the addition of number two and three (children)
        So my mum kindly buys me them from her travels too!

        But my Paris ornament – a snow globe with the Eiffel Tower in it – always takes me back … The first one to kick it all off and now always placed near the very top ?

  4. Never been over seas. But I do like hearing other people’s stories

  5. I carried home a snow dome from New York over 15 years ago now… I bought it at Saks on 5th Ave and it was most most expensive travel momento I’d ever purchase
    It has the all the iconic NY buildings in it with the train running around the base and it plays “New York,NewYork, it’s a wonderful town…” along with the most poignant reminders of the Twin Towers..I’ve moved it over 3 states and it sits proudly in my lounge room..I absolutely adore it
    I’m all for buying momentos that make your heart sing….

  6. A Harrods Christmas bear. Very special as my daughter went back in the freezing cold to buy it for me.

  7. I bought a little coin purse in St Mark’s Square when I was 11, someone stole it out of my school bag in Yr 7. I bought another one when I was there over three years ago, it broke so I need to go back to buy a good quality one. I also bought a purse from the Eiffel Tower gift shop after we had a family dinner at the tower, great memories every day. I’m looking forward to your trip while I’m enjoying mine in Vietnam. Safe travels xx

  8. Linda Jenkins says

    I usually buy accessories so that I have a lovely memory of where I was when I bought them. I am also a sucker for stationery items too! I did buy some pillowcases from the Rachel Ashwell Shabby chic store when I was in Santa Monica in January so maybe linens will be my next thing?

    • Sounds like a good thing to be! I bought a new napkins and tablecloth in Italy too – lovely way to remember and easy to throw in the suitcase!

  9. I love that beth!
    those keep sakes are always loaded with memories! and takes one back for deja vu moments of deliciousness!
    much love m:)X

  10. We just had a month overseas at Christmas and I was determined not to buy anything just for the sake of it but on stopping at Tokyo for a few days on the way home we got lost and I bought the most divine miniature timber antique tea set. I wish I could post it to show you. I look at it and think how fabulous we all travelled together – two teenagers, a 26 year old and hubby and I and grateful we got to spend it as a family.

  11. So excited for you. We went last year to NYC without the kids and I bought a mug (so cliche) but I love it. We bought bracelets and rosaries from the shop next to St Patricks Cathedral. I’m kicking myself for not doing the carriage ride in Central Park. I love keepsakes. Can’t wait to see what you end up getting. Have a glorious time!

  12. Jacq Lives Here says

    I have an expensive purchase habit, but I will often buy a silk scarf (usually of the Hermes variety) each time I go overseas… every time I wear it, I remember where I picked it up!

    Otherwise my favourite memento is the wooden staff I used when I walked the Camino… it’s just a cheap pine/ number, but all of the varnish wore off the top from holding it, and now it hangs on my wall and reminds me daily of the best trip I’ve ever done 🙂

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