About three years ago I decided to start saving all of the key cards that I get when I check into a hotel room. Back in the day, I used to collect matches, but it is hard to find those anymore. I decided that the key cards would be perfect — and probably a bit safer in the long run. There are some really colorful cards out there. They usually have the hotel's name on the card and they tell a story of where I have traveled. I quickly realized that those cards piled up, so I needed something for storage. I found a clear shoebox and put them all inside.
A little while later, I was trying to figure out what to do with an assortment of other “things” I had picked up on my travels and realized my box would make a perfect keepsake box. I put all of those stickers I collect and never know what to do with on the outside and then started filling up the inside with more key cards, ticket stubs, lapel pins, little knick knacks I pick up for who knows what reason, airline tickets to unique places, and money I've collected from around the world.
One day, my grand-kids discovered the box. They love going through it and looking at the pictures on the cards, asking about the pins, looking at the money. They are still young, so I hope as they grow up it will inspire them to want to travel as much as I do. Right now, I probably get as much enjoyment out of going through the items every so often as they do. I wish I had kept those types of items earlier, but now I find myself holding onto every ticket stub (there are some really unique ones out there) and getting excited when I check into a hotel and am handed a really cool key card.
Taking something home from a trip doesn't have to be expensive and collecting the items can even become a family project. Each item is just a little reminder that can take you back to that place, to that moment, when you experienced something out of the ordinary — perhaps your own “wow” moment. After all, we travel to experience the unique and to carry the memories with us.