Letting Go: forgotten trinkets of our travels

We’ve all accidentally left things behind on our travels: that nice new pair of sunglasses that are sitting on the desk in the hotel you just checked out of, the cellphone you left in the bathroom of that sketchy restaurant, the credit card you must have dropped at some point during your walk. It happens to the best of us, but more and more I’m finding myself becoming quite intentional with what I choose to leave behind.

When I was eight, my mom had to run all the way back down the aisles of the terminal in the airport to rescue Mickey Mouse from the seat on the airplane where I accidentally left him. I’ve never been able to live that one down and now Mickey is the first thing I check for before I disembark the plane, to avoid the temper tantrum that ensued on that day when I was eight.

That's me after I carried all those shirts up the mountain (look how happy!!). They wouldn't make it into the bag the next day.

That’s me after I carried all those shirts up the mountain (look how happy!!). They wouldn’t make it into the bag the next day.

But just a few weeks ago I purposefully left behind four pairs of my favorite shirts, a pair of jeans and a packet of snacks in the Himalayas rather than continue to carry them on my back the rest of the way up the mountain. I clipped one of my favorite sparkly pink hair clips into a little girl’s hair in Haiti when she pointed at it on my bag about a month before that.

Recently, travel has made me reevaluate the importance of things. When you’re hiking with everything you own on your back for a week, suddenly those nice shirts aren’t so important, they actually become a burden. And when you see a little girl’s face light up when she notices your hair accessory, you realize it really didn’t mean as much to you as it will to her anyway.

So, in the spirit of letting things go and leaving things behind…I want to hear from you! What have you left behind (intentionally or unintentionally) and why?

I want to create a little post of the lost and forgotten trinkets from our collective travels. There are a few ways for you to take part:

  1. Comment below–quick and easy.
  2. Email your story (and maybe a picture) to thepennilesstraveler(at)yahoo.com.
  3. Write your own post about the things you’ve left behind and leave a link in the comments below.

6 thoughts on “Letting Go: forgotten trinkets of our travels

  1. I love it! Another kindred spirit who likes to leave things. I have this habit of leaving post-its and papers in public places wherever I go. Sometimes they have quotes or bible verses, sometimes they have original art, sometimes they have a simple question that I want people to muse to themselves. I’ve found that leaving something behind is a way to connect yourself to dozens, hundreds, and even thousands of people – and maybe even inspire them or touch their heart.

    • What a sweet thought! I just love that. On top of my obsession for the color-coded order and the satisfying stickiness of post-it notes it’s just a really kind thing to do. I’ll have to give that one a try sometime.

  2. When we were in China to adopt my oldest daughter, we didn’t realize the in-country flight would only allow one bag per passenger, not two. We had to condense four bags into two on a tiny hotel room floor and left behind two nice wheelie bags with lots of goodies – clothes, toiletries, and more — with a big “Xi Xi” (thank you) note for the housekeeper. I hope it all went to good use, and I’m sure we were happier on the rest of the trip with a lighter load, since we added a child 🙂

    • I’m sure someone was very happy to find those nice bags filled with goodies! And since you gained a person, I’m sure it didn’t seem so bad to leave behind those things.

      Thanks for sharing! That’s an excellent story! =)

  3. I accidentally left my very expensive hair straighteners in the bathroom of the riad in Marrakech! That was a costly error but when I was in Cuba I deliberately left loads of beauty products and makeup for the housekeeper as she was so sweet and would arrange all my products into big arch shapes and “test” out my perfume. A lot of things can’t be imported into Cuba at the moment so hope she enjoyed my FrizzEase serum! There are also other trips I have taken where I have brought along things to give; such as pens and notes books in Fiji, but I like Courtney’s reply above about leaving a little something behind and connecting with a place… maybe a quote on the underside of a table.

    • It always feels better to leave things deliberately that’s for sure. That was so sweet of you to leave your beauty products for the housekeeper in Cuba–I’m sure she was tickled pink!

      And bringing gifts is always a fun way to give back–I did that when I went to Haiti and Nepal this summer, the kids loved the little trinkets we brought along.

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