Left Behind: rediscovering trinkets of our travels


Last week I asked readers to share stories about things they’ve left behind on their travels. From the intentional to the not-so-intentional, their replies ran the gamut from post-it notes left carefully placed in a stranger’s path to entire suitcases forfeited to a hotel employee in China. We’ve all had to let go of things abroad, sometimes a little sooner than we would have liked. Below are some of my favorite stories from last week.

My green blankie. It was the smell of happiness and comfort when I was younger. We were packing up at the end of a cruise in the Caribbean and I just couldn’t find it. It was gone…but it wasn’t my fault. I’m pretty sure it got sucked into a black hole or a maid mistook it as a rag–granted it was pretty ratty. I had to learn how to sleep without the blankie scrunched up under my head. We managed to save a scrap that had fallen off and for the next few years that sufficed as a reminder of blankie until I outgrew it. –Natalie

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. –Courtney

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. –Sarah

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. –Cindy

Because when it comes down to it, C.S. Lewis said it best when he wrote, “There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”

6 thoughts on “Left Behind: rediscovering trinkets of our travels

  1. Such fun mini travel stories! I love the idea of leaving behind paper notes with quotations or original pieces of art! Makes me want to do the quote thing next time I travel somewhere 🙂
    Thanks for sharing these- have a good day, Rachel!

  2. Thanks for the feature, Rachel, and for helping us to consider the mark we leave on a place even after we’re gone! Keep up the great posts and the thoughtful travels!

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