Things Gained, Things Lost

conchologist n. A collector of seashells.

Over the course of my travels, I keep referring to the fact that my pack somehow gets larger and larger, which got me thinking about the not only the things I have gained throughout the course of trip so far. The tattoo on my back refers to a quote that says “You can’t gain anything without losing something first,” and I find that holds remarkably true even in the cases of material things. I’ve traded off one thing for another, even if the gain is physical and the loss is not. Travel is about gain and loss, of souvenirs, memories, and experiences, and I sure am glad that the latter two don’t add weight to my back.

Things Gained:
Seashells from Malaga
A rock from each place we visited
Collectable coins
Scarves from Barcelona
Sandals form Montpellier
A ring and an herb grinder from Nice
An Italian leather bag from Venice
A jar of honey from El Chorro
A blue glass bottle from Madrid
A bottle of lotion and shampoo from the hotel in Montpelier
A towel from the Malaga hostel
A shirt and some pants from Seville
A sweater from Malaga to withstand the cold
A bracelet, gummy bears, and fancy cheese from Genoa
Over 2000 photographs
A few pounds around my midsection
A taste for white wine with bread and olive oil
Lots of maps and tickets
Memories… Oh the memories
A new appreciation for each other

Things Lost:
Guidebook (This giant thick book was one of the first things I tossed out)
Standard of luxury
Fancy cheese from Genoa (hint: I ate it)
Half the towel from Malaga after taking scissors to it
An inch or so off the ends of my hair
Ignorance and naivety
Concern for small things
Half of Mom’s original amount of seashells
The feeling of needing to wear makeup
Assumptions and stereotypes about the places we visited, particularly France
Money… Sigh….

But the biggest thing I’ve lost is my mother as she leaves me to go home while ai will remain in Europe until the end of August. As of this point, my trip will take an entirely new tone now that she is no longer here with me and already I feel the void left by her absence. Though a loss, it is heavier than any singular item I bear. Yet just as we did together, I’ll suck it up, hoist my pack up on my back somehow, and carry on, picking up and losing even more things as I go.