So it’s nearly 2am the night before I’m due to fly out to Berlin. My brother Henry, who’s been at work all day, is sleeping before our 3.30am kick off but I’m too wired to nap, so I thought I’d schedule a travel-related post to keep the ol’ blog ticking over in my absence. What better to share than my weird little hoarding habit?
I’m not a real hoarder, not one of those I-best-keep-all-these-empty-yoghurt-pots-and-loo-roll-tubes-in-case-I-need-them-later kind of hoarder, but I do collect stuff. Whenever I go abroad, I take a travel diary and collect EVERYTHING in it: boarding passes, bus tickets, ticket stubs, leaflets, food wrappers, pressed flowers and leaves, business cards, beer mats, drink labels, bottle caps… honestly. I keep all of it. When I was about fourteen, my family went to New York. It was the biggest trip I’d ever been on, and my mother and I decided to collect all the 2-D stuff we could find and when we got back we made a big collage that hung on my wall. I have no idea what happened to it and I really regret not treasuring it. Perhaps that’s why I now collect ALL THE THINGS.
Anyway, I do still have boxes, notebooks and draws full of paper stuff, but I’m trying to be a bit less crazy and think a little more about aesthetics, so I decided to take it up a notch and start physically collecting one or two (or three or four) lovely things from each trip. They all lived in a weird dilly bag under my bed until I found this printer tray on eBay for £10. It’s still a work in progress: lots of empty squares and incomplete displays, but it feels like a new diary: whenever I get a new diary, I look at all the empty pages and wonder what’ll end up scribbled in those blank squares.
New York – Statue of Liberty figurine and Big Daddy sandwich pick from a diner in Manhattan. I found the sandwich pick in a jewellery box the other day; I went to New York when I finished my MA to hang out with some of my classmates who were in the city for various reasons. We ate lunch in Big Daddy’s, and I kept the pick because it made us laugh. .. we used to call one of our writing tutors Good or Bad Daddy depending on how the class went (behind his back, obvs). I miss those fuckers.
Krakow – Polish currency, a broken deer brooch and a lump of salt from the Wieliczka Salt Mine. I have a load of photos from the mine but honestly, even the best quality images don’t do it justice. You just have to go and see it for yourself.
Amsterdam – Collection of mini clogs from Amsterdam, a conker from the autumn my boyfriend and I moved in together and a mini globe (it’s a pencil sharpener). The clogs used to be a fridge magnet and two key rings, but they all broke because they cost like, a euro each.
Marrakesh – Moroccan currency and a shard of a beautiful bowl from the souks of Marrakesh which I managed to smash within about a month of owning… luckily, I bought two. The other I use to keep rock salt to hand in my “flavour draw”.
America – A dollar, a Space Needle figurine from Seattle and a mini Empire State Building from NYC.
Chips from Las Vegas (I came away with a more permanent souvenir from that trip – my first and only tattoo).
New Orleans – Plastic hand grenade garnishes from cocktails in New Orleans (and the badge to prove I damn well drank ’em), a Saints pendant and a fleur de lis scarf (both gifts from my NOLA girl Nisha).
So now you’re up to speed, I shall look forward to revealing the new Berlin box when I get back.