I was going through some things and found a collection of tickets, receipts, programs, and guides for some of the places I went to the first time I was in London, back in 2014. It’s not like I had forgotten that I’d gone to St Martin in the Fields, or visited the West End to see The Phantom of the Opera live for the first time, but finding these little slips of paper brought it all back and made me smile.
As something of a minimalist, I don’t tend to buy a lot of souvenirs. I only take a backpack and my camera bag with me when I travel, so there isn’t much space for the things I might consider buying- a book here, or a pair of earrings there- so in lieu of big things to remind me of my travels, I keep tickets and receipts, and then print my photographs and hang them on the walls. For me, they serve to remind me of where I’ve been far better than a mug, a stuffed animal, or some piece of clothing that would be tucked away in the closet.
I’m headed to Ireland this summer, to Galway, the Aran Islands, and the Cliffs of Moher. It’s going to be quite different from my previous overseas trips, both of those to the UK- to London itself, and then to Scotland last year. It was a toss up between Ireland and Iceland, but I’ve been wanting to go to Ireland longer than I’ve wanted to go to Iceland.
I’m excited for this trip, but it’s not the same heart-thumping excitement I felt while waiting to go to London and Scotland. Perhaps this yearly journey is becoming routine, somehow, or I’m focused on the travel details more than what I’ll do while I’m there. Figuring out the departure times and layovers for fourteen hours of air travel can take the shine right off any trip, no matter how intriguing the destination.
But the dreariness of sitting in an airplane for ten hours at a stretch will wear off quickly enough, and I’ll be looking forward to the ferry from Galway to the Aran Islands, the paths along the Cliffs of Moher, and sitting down to a proper pint in a proper Irish pub.