One of our routines in Cape Town has been a weekly trip to the vineyards of Stellenbosch and Franschoek. We tried to ship a few cases of our favorite bottles but the import laws for personal consumption in The States make this a daunting task. We thought these wines would be the few souvenirs we collected on our trip.
As I was packing our two duffle bags for our Wednesday departure for Brazil, I was struck by how similar their contents are to when we left home on November 1, 2011. Despite the colorful markets and unique items we have seen around the world, our bags are generally devoid of souvenirs. We left with two bags stuffed with clothes and shoes and are returning home with the same. Some of the clothes are different, since the kids got a change over mid way through our trip when our families showered them with gifts in India. That worked out well since they’ve been growing at such a rapid rate. Sandeep and I bought a handful of clothes along the way, generally to replace something that was wearing out.
We have been pretty strict about wanting to complete our journey light, with the same luggage that accompanied us out of New York. That has meant that we have not accumulated much by way of material goods. We have restricted ourselves to two mementos from each country. The first is a Christmas ornament. Ever since Sandeep and I started dating, we have been collecting ornaments from every place we travel. These aren’t traditional round glass ornaments, but rather something we can hang on a tree that reminds us of where we have been. They range from a Thai hanging elephant to a wooden South African flag.
Our other collection is coins. We have gathered two coins from every country, one for each of the kids. We used these currencies every day, yet when the kids grow up they may not exist in their current form (the Euro as an example!). The kids also started an impromptu collection of stones and sea shells. We’re not sure how the kids will decipher the origins, but they feel very attached to their selections.
It would be wonderful to fill our new home with things that remind us of this journey but it’s impossible to materialize memories. How do you carry the experience of climbing a Himalayan mountain or eating at a hawker market? We can’t bottle the Greek sea air or travel with a Turkish hammam. We’re so happy to have our stories documented on this blog. Each post will take us closer to where we were. We’ll reminisce extra every Christmas as we look up at the tree. We may forget where each shell came from, but hopefully not the happiness we felt as we collected them.