I’ve been collecting pins since I was a kid—I was a diehard Mariner’s fan back in the day and a few of my first pins are from watching them play in the early 2000s. I don’t recall at what point in time I decided that I was truly going to make a collection out of them, it was pretty organic. Our family went to Switzerland when I was in 4th grade for an extended period of time and got to travel the continent a little. I returned home from that trip with no less than a Pluto mug, an Eeyore stuffed animal, a bottle of glass mini dice, a fake Swiss army knife, a real Swiss army knife, a mini bronze Eiffel tower, a stuffed St. Bernard dog, a few pins from different countries, and more postcards than I knew what to do with. God bless my parents.
I can’t say for sure when I decided to 100% stick to pins, but I do know that I never bought another stuffed animal (and to that extent I truly cherish the two I have from my first trip to Europe).
I collect pins from places I go, things I do, and people I love. It doesn’t need to be a pin I personally purchased—I love having friends bring me back pins because they are people I love and it’s great to have memories of trips they’ve taken! I may never make it to Jamaica myself but you can bet I love my reggae “Be happy” pin from my old roommate.
It’s ingrained in my head to go to the checkout stand of any souvenir shop I see: new cities, museums, stadiums, etc. Many of my pins come from my dad or from other people’s travels, which I love. Even though I didn’t go on the trip, they are a part of my life and it’s great to have a memory of a new place they went! If a friend asks if I want a souvenir from a trip they are taking, I don’t feel bad asking for a pin (it would probably be a different story if I collected say, beer steins).
I also like looking at pins because you can see what a city considers iconic about itself. For example, in Munich there are lions on most of their pins, which doesn’t immediately make sense. Come to find out, via walking tours and guide books, one of the founders of the city was Henry the Lion. (Side note: One of Munich’s famously delicious breweries, Lowenbrau, also has a lion on its logo, though it is said to depict Daniel in the lions’ den)
I currently have almost 300 pins, and they are documented in an Excel spreadsheet with a one-sentence description of its story.
“Travel as much as you can, as far as you can, as long as you can. Life’s not meant to be lived in one place.”
Current Pin Board, August 2017