Ten Objects That I Have Gotten On My Trips That Are Meaningful To Me

Ten Objects That I Have Gotten On My Trips that Are Meaningful To Me

“Sometimes, when you get something new, you trick yourself into believing it has the power to change absolutely everything about you.” Siobhan Vivian,

There are exercises in spiritual classes where you are asked to bring in objects that represent the most meaningful aspects of your life. What are meaningful objects anyway? What ascribes meaning to a thing? I picked some items from my travels that are meaningful to me, objects that bring me joy and happy memories. They are things that I will always keep.

Gold Pearl Necklace From Kobe, Japan

It was my first time in Japan visiting one of my oldest friends. Her family was in the pearl business and I wanted to get some pearls. When we were in Kobe I met her sister and brother and their families. We spent a lot of time picking the right pearl and I learned a lot about what makes a pearl valuable. Afterward we all went to Starbucks for coffee so I could get my Kobe Starbucks mug. It reminds me of my first trip to Japan, learning chopsticks, meeting family, eating the  freshest, weirdest raw fish and liking it, onsens, temples and falling love with Japan.

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Mate Cup From Buenos Aires, Argentina

Argentinians are the largest drinkers of yerba maté in the world and the cups are beautiful. I bought my cups in Tigre a suburb of Buenos Aires and it reminds me of that perfect Sunday. The day started with navigating the rivers of the Delta Del Paraná in Tigre, empanadas at a local family restaurant, shopping at the flea market in San Telmo and tango dancing. Some days are like that.IMG_7008

Drawing From One Of My Friend’s Books Written In Sydney, Australia

This drawing on my kitchen wall reminds me of so many things – how fast strangers can become friends, the importance of good children’s books, joy, and how great Sydney Australia is. I jumped at the chance to go there again next year.

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Green Bracelets From Yangon, Myanmar

They cost a dollar at Scott Market in Yangon Myanmar.  Myanmar was the strangest place  that I have ever been. Women painted thanaka on their faces, men wore longyis, and every other person is a monk or a soldier. It was my first time in Southeast Asia as well and a few years before Myanmar was really open. The whole culture felt very different. I look at the bracelets and think yes I was really there.

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Photo From Hoi An, Viet Nam

I loved Vietnam – the stories, history, food, scenery,  beaches, triangle hats, and the water buffalo. Hoi An is a photographer’s city and I bought many black and white photos there. My favorite is this photo of an old woman. Her whole story is in her face. Hoi An a place I will go back to.

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Protective Hanging Ceramic Ball From Istanbul, Turkey

I love good luck charms. The Nazar Boncuzu (evil eye) is a talisman to ward off evil spirits in Turkey. Large ceramic balls hang in shops with evil eyes tied to them. I wanted to buy one but I thought the ceramic would break. A new friend gave me one as a gift and I got it home safely. It hangs prominently in my kitchen and reminds me of a new friend and of the day I spent in the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul – best shopping ever. I can smell the coffee, taste the meze and hear the shopkeepers offering apple tea, compliments and marriage proposals.

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Panama Hat From Panama City, Panama

I was completely unprepared for the sense of awe I felt as the third gate opened and we entered the canal. There were people from all over the world on the boat and for that moment we all felt the same way. Many were wearing their newly bought Panama hats which are made in Ecuador and shipped from Panama. I wore mine home on the plane and ‘Im surprised at how well they are made.  It still looks new. Though there are many copies, I know I have a real Panama Hat from Panama.

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Photo That I Took And Framed From Martha’s Vineyard, USA

The Bite is a clam shack up the road from Menemsha Harbor in Martha’s Vineyard. It has been there forever and very popular with the seafood crowd as you can see from this photo I took behind the shack. My daughter went to summer camp on the east coast of the United States when she was much younger and this was from a trip we did after. Sometimes your own photos are the best meaningful objects.

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Wood Carving From Havana, Cuba

I was in Cuba 17 years ago – a very different Cuba than it is now. My daughter danced in the Cuban Ballet Festival. They were the first American kids to perform in Cuba in twenty years. . Cuba produces some of the best ballet dancers in the world. The wood carvings that they sell in market at Plaza Del Armas are ballet dancers.  It was an incredible trip filled with amazing, talented people.

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Shell From Eleuthera, Bahamas

This shell has been in my blog before. It has sat on my kitchen table for over  twenty years. I found it on the beach in the Bahamas when my kids were little. I carried it back on the plane with my very young, happy family. It is a treasured memory.

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The simplest objects can be meaningful and bring back wonderful travel memories and that is what makes them valuable to me.

Fly safe,

JAZ

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What Do You Carry For Good Luck When You Travel?

“You know what luck is? Luck is believing you’re lucky…to hold front position in this rat-race you’ve got to believe you’re lucky.” –  Tennesse Williams said by Stanley Kowalski in Street Car Named Desire

I am a believer in good luck charms when you travel. I never get on a plane without one. There’s a fine line between a bit of harmless (and possibly helpful) superstitious behavior for luck, and developing an obsessive and crippling dependence on some elaborate routine.

My good luck charms vary. For years I had a lucky flannel shirt that I wore on the plane. I convinced myself, it kept me safe from plane crashes, hijackings, robberies and getting caught bringing too much in at customs. I’m sure anything could have happened without it. Now it is all about some talisman or amulet to keep me safe while I travel. It changes but I wear the same one for a whole trip.

A talisman basically brings you good luck, as opposed to an amulet, which is designed to protect you from evil. For me it is an object designed to attract positive things – such as good luck, interesting people, unexpected adventures – and to protect you from negative things while you travel.

When I was briefly into Kabbalah, I wore a red string around my left wrist. It is used to ward off bad luck caused by the evil eye. It was knotted seven times and blessed. I figured if it was good enough for Ashton Kutcher and Madonna, it would keep me protected as well.

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After that I still liked red for luck. When it comes to red in China, you can never wear too much. Red symbolizes good fortune,happiness and joy. A circle always symbolizes wholeness or unity so I sometimes wear red bracelets when i travel.

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In Japan. I learned about Omamori which are used in both Shinto and Buddhist beliefs. They are rectangular pouches and gain their power from words written on paper or wood and sealed inside a cloth bag and can be purchased a temple. . Each omomori has a different purpose so make sure you get the right one. The words could be the name of the shrine, or a section from a sūtra, or some other powerful word. Never open the cloth to see what is inside! It is disrespectful and the omamori will lose its power. Omamori draw some of their power from the concept of the power of enclosed places. The covering of the omamori encloses the sacred words and so puts them in a separate realm where they can be effective, much as Shinto shrines are set within a separate space marked by torii gates. I usually attach one to a carry on bag  if I’m not wearing a bracelet.

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Having spent a lot of time in Mediterranean countries, I’m a fan of the evil eye charm. You will see them all over Greece, Turkey and the Middle East. It is based on quotes from all the ancient religious texts that” the gaze of someone who harbors feelings of envy or jealousy can bring misfortune upon the one who is seen — the one who “gets the evil eye.”Iit is used  as a safeguard against misfortune –  worn or hanging in their house, businesses or on their babies. I’ve had them on necklaces, bracelets earrings, ankle bracelets and sometimes just on a string.

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There are many others you can use. Ancient Egypt is a good place to go for charms. The Ankh and the Scarab are protection from Evil.

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Religion is another great source for superstitions. St Christopher is the patron saint to all people who travel. A St Christopher medal was once compulsory for any Catholic traveler. The Star of David, Hamsa (hand), the Holy Cross, Celtic Cross, Guardian Angels, beads blessed from a Buddhist Temple, written words, from the Quran, Bible or Torah can also be used.

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Folk tales and Myths have many as well. Four Leaf Clovers, Phoenix, Horns, Fish and Dragons are a few. I always buy the local good luck when I travel.

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Good luck charms feed the human need to look beyond ourselves for solutions to our difficulties, while still encouraging us to do our best. They are more like a boosters than a total solution. When things are tough, it feels good to hold a charm in your hand and hope for things to get better. They seem to be working for me. So go ahead, carry that lucky coin, wear those lucky socks or underwear because you can never have too much good luck.

 

Fly safe,

JAZ