Tag Archives: Collectibles

Serendipitous Finds


I love the serendipitous moments when you come in contact with an object(s) that’s meant to be yours!

While on vacation I stumbled across some beloved finds. The most notable were two books, one old and one new.

The first, was an early edition Niles’ Elementary Geography Book which includes a section on the history of and resources in the State of Minnesota (my home state). Admittedly, it has been well used and is in need of some expert care but it spoke to the traveler in me:-)

Here is what I found about my vintage collectible. According to the Esther Jerabek, her research on early geography textbooks, Some Sources for Northwest History;

1885 geography texts had become sufficiently specialized to include large sections devoted to the state in which they were to be used. Sanford Niles’ Elementary Geography is an early example of such a text. It contains eighty-eight pages about the world, including all of the United States outside Minnesota with an additional forty-six pages covering the state in considerable detail including many illustrations (retrieved online from The Minnesota Historical Society, 7/6/13).

Image by RCompass All Rights Reserved

RRose and Sue Whitney. Image by RCompass 

The second was a newer book titled, Junk Beautiful: Outdoor Edition my son suggested in an impromptu stop at a beautiful store called Get Fresh Vintage, Junkmarket’s Little Sister in Lanesboro, MN.  The store owner, Sue Whitney, was warm and welcoming. She offered advice on searching out and rescuing discarded items, “Find things you love and get creative! “And, to my unexpected surprise, she was also the author of the book I purchased plus two others titled, Decorating Junkmarket Style and Junk Beautiful: Room by Room Makeovers with Junkmarket Style.

It was only after our trip, I discovered that Sue had a remarkable career; a former columnist for Country Magazine, a nationally recognized speaker including appearances on The Today Show, editor, blogger, etc.  However, on this particular Sunday, she was a passionate, small town shop owner. Her displays were artfully arranged so much so, I would never think to call the items they held “junk.” It reminded me that a large part of our travel experiences are the people and the connections we make along the way. Thank you Sue for making our trip even more memorable! To learn more about Sue go to her website-Junkmarket Style.

Image by RCompass All Rights Reserved.

RRose inside Get Fresh Store. Image by RCompass.

Image by RCompass All Rights Reserved.

Side alley at Get Fresh Store. Image by RCompass 

Vintage Vs. Antique Collectibles

Image by RCompass

Image by RCompass All Rights Reserved.

While on vacation sometimes we search out rescued, recycled and/or reused pieces to add to our collections.  Do you know the difference between a vintage item and an antique? According to Mike Wolffe, American Pickers (2013) , a “vintage” item is approximately 20 years old while “antique” refers to something greater than 100 years old.

Alternative Collectibles: Found & Made


Sometimes the hunt for unique found items is an important part of the experience. So, while on your next trip consider these alternative items/collections!

Natural found items could include:

  • Rocks or shells found on walks.
  • Sand to be saved in small containers from each beach around the state, country or world.
  • Driftwood for a mantel display.
  • Leaves for each annual fall trip-pressed and assembled in an album.

Made items assembled with a common theme could include:

  • A photograph using the same location: city limit signs, franchise, pose, etc.
  • A journal or doodle pad with drawings, quotes from people met along the way or funny stories of mishaps.
  • Travel boxes, scrapbook, photo album, etc.
  • Homemade passport (made before or after a trip). Have business owners, clerks or tour guides to sign off inside.
  • Insert HERE any unique or creative way to display, reuse or re-purpose something found along the way;)

Tip: Think of connecting these collectibles to your bucket list, i.e. travel to the top 10 surfing beaches in the world and bring home sand from the beach. Or collect leaves during a fall foliage tour in New England. Hike/rock climb in national parks across the country or in your home state-search for unique rocks that signify to geomorphology of the area.

Collections: What’s in Your Basket?


Stores are often brimming with ideas on travel collectibles such as key chains, snow globes, bells, spoons, city catalogs, letter openers, postcards, etc. I remember traveling to the Czech Republic a few years ago and when I entered a tourist shop on the corner of a cobblestone street in Old Prague.  I ended up selecting 2 or 3 of the more common gift items. The clerk at the counter rolled his eyes. Apparently he thought I missed out on the more unique one-of-a- kind treasures tucked away in a corner. Although I was very happy with my letter opener, 3D postcard and chocolate gift-box; It got me thinking about collectibles.  Is there something more I should or could collect when I travel?

I am not sure there is a simple and quick answer to this question. But, I know that you should buy or save what you love!  Find it, make it, create with it…your options are limitless.

Tips for Travel Collectibles:

  • Try to make it reflective of who you are?
  • You will have to store your treasures-think of how and where?
  • How you will be able to transport the item from point A (your vacation spot) to point B (home).
  • A collection can be similar items at each location displayed as a group or  a singular unique piece(s) that are scattered throughout your home.
  • Try to think of creative ways to assembled a collection using bought and/or found items.

Gifted Travel Treasures: A Parisian Painting

Image by DarkRose42 some rights reserved

Image by DarkRose42 some rights reserved

As a sophomore in college; I wanted to study abroad in Toulouse which is located in southern France.  I had a passion for the french culture and language after studying five years both in high school and post secondary. For many reasons, some outside of my control, I never studied abroad. And as a result, I stopped my studies and refocused on a very different career path.

Years later I took a trip to Paris in July. Alongside the Sacre Coeur, I wandered through what I refer to as an artist’s quarter. It was a street exhibit area filled with stands brimming with art. I searched for an original drawing or painting to commemorate finally arriving in France. But, the time passed too quickly and I was late returning to the tour group. I never found my treasure that day.

The following Christmas my brother and his wife came to visit for the holidays. They handed me a small rolled canvas brought back from their recent trip to France and the same artist’s quarter. To my surprise, it was a one of a kind, impressionist style painting. The image was of couples around the early 1900’s (based on attire) walking along a lamp lit street. The Eiffel Tower was projected in the background-washed in a warm sunset.

Whether you are an avid or a novice traveler there is something enduring about acquiring tangible items to reflect our intangible experiences. RTreasures can be bought by and for ourselves. Or for others with the intent as simple as a thinking of you gift or something with extreme intrinsic value. Today, this small Parisian painting is still one of my most prized possessions! And it reminds me of my trip, that one choice can change the future, and how blessed I am to have family.

I invite you to share your stories in the comment section.