Bringing Your Journeys Home

by Carrie Meier

I’m a sucker for well placed, impeccably gaudy, gift shop magnets. If they’re featured on a robust vintage Frigidaire in a quirky (but comfortable) mid-century modern apartment, my heart will swoon. However, even the finest curated collection can turn to clutter. So, how does one pay proper homage to travels in a design sense? I’ve got some ideas to enrich your memories AND your space, so you can stop wasting time dusting trinkets!

Simply put, aim to integrate your artifacts into your decor and create dual function. How? First, delve into the details, what I call the “in between” moments, using your senses as a guide.  

First, smell. Scenario: you’re driving through fields of wildflowers on hour 13 in the car. Before melting further into cruise control, stop, pick some of those incredible flowers, and make sachets when you get home. The aroma greeting you upon each drawer opening (dual function!) will be a perfect reminder of that magical “in between” moment of your trip.

Next, sight. Scenario: you spend an afternoon hiking and your child is a collector (who can imagine this one?!). Take time to explore their endearing finds, connecting you to them and them to the moment. Keep ONE thing you both agree is enchanting (a feather or pinecone). When you return home, mount it in a shadow box and hang it up. Every time you pass it, you’ll be reminded of the wonder your child experienced in finding it, the sweet moment you shared, and all the feels that came along with it.  

Touch. Ahh, that sunset you spent on the pebble beach. Gather some of those soul-soothing stones and place them in your home as door stops or paperweights. Again, by creating functional mementos, it’s a win-win.  

Sound; my favorite. When the hubs and I traveled to Arizona, we day-tripped to the hippy mountainside town of Jerome. You absolutely MUST GO. Residents are a huggable, tie-dyed time capsule. The time we spent mixing with locals at Paul & Jerry’s Saloon was historical! The bartender was a magical creature, jingling with every move, her homemade bangle bracelets the culprits. Although I admittedly bought a classic t-shirt, I also purchased a windchime. It’s a beautiful addition to our home and an endearing reminder of our drink-dealing Earth-Mama and “the folk”. 

Finally, taste. This is less about decor and more about paying homage without extra “stuff”, so stick with me. Loading the couch full of peeps, showing them hours of film/photo footage is exhausting. Instead, as you travel, collect a napkin from your favorite (or most memorable) food stops. At the inevitable fill-you-in-on-our-trip dinner party, place one of the napkins at each setting. Guests will see where you dined and inquire as to why this stop was so memorable. Everyone will certainly be enchanted with your stories when served with a side of bread and wine! Plus, no trinkets to dust!

If you still want to grab a collector’s magnet or shot glass, do it! How you remember your journey is your own. But, if you need a break from the clutter, remember integration and dual function. Honor the “in between moments” and you won’t just transform how you remember your trek; you might elevate how you experience it in the moment. The moments that, in my opinion, are the most worthy of your heart and your home.