In this blog post series, I interview world travelers about objects that came home in their bags and what those objects mean to them. This week’s post features Annie, a woman of the world, roller derby aficionado, and public health advocate.
Jen: Annie, you’ve worked and traveled all over the world. Can you tell me about an object that came home with you on one of your many trips?
Annie: Oh, wow. I’m a collector of… lots of stuff, so my bag always comes home MUCH heavier than when I first departed…but one of my favorite souvenirs didn’t add much weight to my suitcase at all. It’s a photo strip from a Berlin U-bahn (train) station photo booth; just four blurry little pictures of my sister and I wearing enormous hats and too much lipstick. The photo (which occupies a special place on my refrigerator) was taken in 2007, but the memory of that trip is still so fresh in my mind.
Jen: Photos can make such fantastic souvenirs. Why is this photo booth image particularly significant to you?
Annie: Most of my journeys are heavily planned in advance, but this one was different. I was grieving a rough break-up, and my sister invited me to tag along on a trip to Germany…the next week. I thought she was crazy, but she knew that nothing helps me shake the blues like meeting myself in a new place. As usual (OK, well at least 90% of the time), she was right. From the moment I stepped out of the Berlin airport, I knew this city would be good for me. I love these four little pictures because they contain my first genuine smile in months…and because we are straight up rocking those enormous hats.
Jen: “Meeting myself in a new place,” what a great turn of phrase. What was it about Berlin that allowed you to do this?
Annie: The street food (bear with me). Berlin is an incredibly diverse city, and the street food reflects this. From nudelgeflügelpfanne to currywurst to spanakopita to pomegranate-orange juice, each delicious mouthful reminded me of Berlin’s impressive evolution. In short, the city gave me hope.