A Blinding Moment of Insight

“The time has come, my little friends, to talk of other things. Of shoes and ships and sealing wax, of cabbages and…” kids and traveling with them.

You’ve probably witnessed that uncontrollable urge children develop to purchase cheap looking, overpriced tourist trinkets while on vacation. As a matter of fact there’s no need to even leave town. Why a trip to the zoo will trigger the same behaviour, as will a visit to Wonderland, or an afternoon at Harbourfront, but I digress. Eiffel Tower keychains and I love Barcelona mugs are cute when you’re just starting out on your travels en famille, less so when you’ve been at it for years, and are craving a nicely designed set of matching mugs that don’t profess to love any city in particular.

My attempt to quash this evil habit, nip it in the bud, so to speak began with a blinding moment of insight: I proposed to my children the idea of starting a collection. My goal was to focus their energy and money on something more meaningful, and while I knew we couldn’t entirely eliminate visits to the many tourist traps along the way, we could certainly reduce the number. I think what sold them on the idea was the thrill of the hunt, and how each item they added would have its own story. My daughter now collects perfume bottles and pins, while my son has opted for…knives. Talk about a great idea backfiring. At times I have felt more like an arms dealer than a tourist, coming back from our vacations with knives tucked in my suitcase amongst my socks and undies. I’m sure it’s just a phase. I’m hoping it’s just a phase. I’m sure it will pass. Soon.

While collections are often abandoned, it’s worth stowing them away in the far reaches of your closet. My postcard collection started on a backpacking trip through Europe, and continued for years before it was shelved and ignored; probably because I could finally afford to buy something more interesting. I’m glad I kept it though, for all the memories it awakens of  incredible moments and hilarious adventures. I wish the same for my kids.

I’m leaving shortly on a long-awaited family vacation to Turkey and will not be posting for a few weeks. I will practice what I preach and return home with some wonderful memories, lots of arts and crafts ideas, a few pins and a few knives, but no I Love Istanbul mugs. Ciao!

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