What’s Your ‘Thing’?

When I travel, I’ve always had a ‘thing’ I collect. I mean, outside of fabric. For several years it was photos of different public pay  phones. But, then everyone got cell phones and pay phones were harder and harder to come by. Recently, I’ve struck upon photos of mail boxes.

The thing I love about traveling is seeing how other people do the exact same thing as you. Payphones and mail boxes show something we see everyday, and how it’s been reinterpreted in other countries.

I had some great mailbox photos from Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Germany, Italy, and the Czech Republic. Well, most of *those* are on film / negatives someplace. LOL. At any rate, my plan was always to put them together into a poster. Won’t that be cool?

So, what’s the thing you do when you travel?


  1. I visit grocery stores. I can have as much fun in a foreign grocery store as I can in a museum! Weird fruit! Strange and often cute packaged snacks! Little treats that will make great gifts back home! Soda with cyrillic labels! Give me a cool little grocery store over a bus tour any day.

  2. Technically I am not “travelling” as I am currently living in Japan- but lately I have taken to taking pictures of the bathrooms. Sounds weird, but there are some really cool bathrooms here with electric toilets. And then there are the “squatty potties” as my son calls it. I also like going to groceries stores whenever I go somewhere new. The ones here provide some good sight seeing for sure!

  3. Like @O.C. and @Nancy I love supermarkets! I love to see how they are all different, the different packaging products have in different countries, etc. Last week I was in Japan, and they call peanut butter ‘peanut cream’… Doesn’t quite have the same ring to it!

  4. so glad I’m not the only one who takes photos of things that are *probably* not interesting to anyone else! Being a town planner I take photos of buildings and streetscapes, but my particular favourites are manhole covers!

  5. I did doors in Prague. Doors in Italy weren’t quite as interesting, but the street lights were pretty fun. Also, I try to snap pictures of woman I think are well dressed. Not the skinny young ones, but older, possibly heavier woman who manage to look good. I love visiting foreign grocery stores, but I don’t tend to take photos there.

    • Well, I’m usually traveling with the DH and he’s absolutely fascinated by the carvings in old churches, so we have quite the collection of photos of gargoyles et al. Another thing we always seem to do (I never thought about this but it ends up happening on every trip), is that no matter where we go – big city, country, whatever..we always seem to try to get to some sort of arboretum or nature center or something, so we also have a huge collection of photos of closeups of flowers and plants, some of which he’s put into this ‘collection frame’ and put up in our upstairs bath.

  6. I love foreign grocery stores, small local museums and kitchen stores. These were especially interesting in Malaysia and Thailand, but they are fun everywhere.

  7. When my husband and I take road trips, I always take pics of the city or state signs as we enter. Also, I have thing about the Guitar signs at the Hard Rock Cafes. All of my travel albums are filled with this pics to signify all the different places we went to.

  8. I collect refrigerator magnets (a habit inherited from my grandmother, spices/recipes and pottery (for kitchen use).

  9. I go to farmers’ markets, or outdoor markets. In fact, I have pretty much the exact pictures you have of Atwater Market – I took them a couple of weeks ago…

  10. We collect photos of windows and doors. DH arranges them into posters. He has some beautiful, some weathered, some rugged…but all with character. This spring he took photos of windows in Charleston, SC. Really fun way to look at a town! I love your mailboxes…fun to look at the different ways different countries approach life’s routines!

  11. We collect ornaments for the Christmas tree or a little something that can be used as an ornament. Then when we are decorating the tree, it is “Awww….remember….?”

  12. Oh, and also wanted to say: I took a great picture of a very old English mailbox just a few days ago. Don’t collect them, but this one was so special.

  13. I visit supermarkets and take pictures of staples.

    Who knew that P&G makes different soap for each market? In Chile, they can come on a metal rod that you mount on the wall. In Fiji, they sell laundry soap in a large bar that you rub your laundry when hand washing. Who knew?

  14. I take pictures of everything I eat and other people’s interesting meals if allowed.

    At first my friends laughed but after they saw the pictures the memories came back and they joined the bandwagon! LOL!

    I love your projects! Keep up the good work!

  15. When traveling, I collect tea. Although it’s only sourced from a handful of places in the world, the blending, packaging, presentation is different everywhere.
    While you’re in Montreal, I would *highly* recommend visiting Un Amour des Thés @ 5612 Monkland.
    Enjoy your trip!

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