Some people purchase t-shirts from the places they visit. Or they buy pens. Or magnets. Sometimes people buy whatever catches their fancy and have no theme to their souvenirs. Typically, though, there are one or two items that must be purchased or collected everywhere one goes.
For me, I collect money and coffee mugs. Both of these happened more by chance than by design. I have always been interested in foreign currency—though I am not remotely knowledgeable about it—and I enjoy coffee and the occasional cup of tea, so these were natural collections.
Well, semi-natural, semi-intentional. I didn’t plan to collect mugs until I was visiting my second or third country.
When I first traveled abroad, to study in Japan, my host family gave me a Starbucks mug featuring famous local images. When I was in Nepal, I saw some inexpensive and unique mugs that I bought. I don’t know where any of these are at the moment, sadly. They may be stashed away in the attic.
It was either during the trip to Nepal or right after it when I moved to Japan to teach that I decided to make a conscious effort to collect mugs. I tend not to buy “touristy” items, such as “I ❤ New York” shirts or mugs that boast the town’s name and nothing more. I like unique items—funny sayings, images that appeal to me, and especially hand-crafted ceramics. I want something interesting to remind me of my trip, not shelves full of city and country names.
So, below, you can see my virtual shelves of good coffee mugs (that I can find right now) and where they came from. You can keep track of my running list of mugs on my mug collection page.
Since I mentioned money, here are some of the currencies I’ve gathered over the years from the places I have traveled. I have other monies that were gifts from people I know, including the time I got to poke through a coin collection at a Japanese middle school I taught at and take some that had duplicates. For a full list of money I have collected, see my money collection page.