Whether it’s a road trip or a flight to another continent, of course one of the smart things to do when traveling with another person is to assess compatibility for that particular destination. What is the goal?

Fine dining? Ultra-casual eats? Not moving off a lounge chair? Sightseeing galore?

I live riveted to what I call treasure, so for me there will likely be some form of hunt happening when I plan a getaway. It can be solo or with another.

I’m not necessarily talking about conventional shopping, although sometimes that’s fun. I’m thinking of something more in line with one’s personal idea of treasure – antiques, dollar stores, roadside stands, flea markets, crystal stores, sea shells, open-air markets. You name it, we all have our own idea of it. For some, any of the above would be a slice of hell. For others, pure paradise as a way of leisurely passing time, getting to know a culture and/or adding to a collection.

As I sit here writing, the sheer silvery curtains on my windows remind me of a flea market in Rome and the Australian women I met on a bus en route. Sitting on top of my seven-foot bookshelves is a painting of a church and mountains in a village in Germany; it was purchased as a result of me answering my friend’s “What would you like to do tomorrow?” with “Go to a flea market.” Unlike the famous Porta Portese in Rome, the setup in Germany was private and tiny. Both offered their own kinds of charm.

The sculpted wooden mask with the tiny chip was priced low because of its perceived defect, but I already saw it in my home as I stared at it on the gallery shelf in San Francisco many years ago. The tiny painting of a café called Chez L’Artiste on my desk was secured from a grateful painter along the Seine during a stroll in Paris. The seashell with “Whether I’m here or there, I hear the waves and smell the air” written across the front surrounded by the sun and waves and a few “@woosh” references on it was created by a little girl selling her wares along a beach promenade at the Jersey Shore.

There is something within me, perhaps, that so loves to share my own art – my writing – that I surround myself with the treasures of others. I enjoy the cyclical nature of many of my treasures. Unquestionably the worn red iron oval frame embellished with angels from the aforementioned flea market in Rome has a story. Maybe a grand one. Now it surrounds the peephole on my apartment door and makes me smile.

A friend who just visited Istanbul bought a beautiful Turkish rug and another came home with unique evil eye jewelry. My metal candle holder that looks like a quill and inkwell are from a lovely shop in Georgetown. The resin butterfly done in earth tones that sits over my bathroom mirror says, ‘Hey, remember that tram ride up the mountain in Palm Springs that terrified you on your 50th birthday? You found me in the gift shop there.”

I can’t call my treasures souvenirs. It doesn’t do them justice. They mean too much.

I’m just really sure a hunt for more will call me in lands near and far.

By Nancy Colasurdo

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