Everywhere I go, I take some of it back with me


Liza McCarthy

A Market full of handmade souvenirs from the island locals.

I tend to keep every place, experience, and notable circumstance with me in one way or another. 

Part of the reason I love to travel and experience new things is to accumulate irreplaceable memories. As much as I truly wish I could relive the entire experience over and over again, I know that all good things must come to an end. So, most memories I keep come in a smaller sense.

I know that a small, metal keychain in the shape of a palm tree absolutely does not do the experiences I had in Turks and Caicos justice, but every time I look at it, the memories are clearly symbolized. 

One could say I have a plethora of t-shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies, and long sleeve shirts—and yes, I probably have more than I need. However, most of them are souvenirs, and the places embroidered on the soft fabric hold meaning to me; I didn’t simply grab it off the rack at American Eagle. 

Whether the lettering on the shirt says, “Hope College,” or “FHC tennis,” they all represent some part of my life that is significant to me. My “University of Michigan” hoodie is in support of my favorite team, my “West Michigan Whitecaps” crewneck is a representation of the many nights I spent under the ballpark lights and of when I worked there this past summer, and my “Oswald’s Bear Ranch” t-shirt is in honor of the time I got to pose next to a baby bear for a picture up North. 

Another little collection I owe to my many experiences is my extensive sticker collection. I wrote to many colleges for fun during my sophomore year, and that resulted in a huge sticker accumulation. Most of them currently inhabit the corkboard above my desk in my room. 

I love taking little bits of the places I experience back home with me.”

Among the Universities that are scattered throughout the board, stickers from the most random places and brands hang next to them. An Eno sticker symbolizes my love of spending hours in my hammock, swinging to the sound of the rustling trees around me. Another one is from Grand Haven, where my family and I spent some time this summer digging our toes in the sand and feeling the chill of Lake Michigan—beaches of any kind could be considered one of my favorite places.

When I was younger, I don’t think I ever left a vacation without a new stuffed animal in tow. My family used to take yearly trips to The Great Wolf Lodge, and therefore, I have a few bears and wolves that have the GWL logo imprinted upon their paw. The same goes for the giraffe I have that made its way home from the Binder Park Zoo with me several years ago.

I love taking little bits of the places I experience back home with me. The desire to return to those places are certainly not satisfied by an article of clothing or a sticker, but they do a perfectly good job of keeping the memories fresh in my mind as I look back on all the places I’ve gone and all the things I’ve gotten the opportunity to experience.