20 June 2013

We Can't Leave Until I Have My Shot Glass!

This isn't a post about alcoholism, although I’m sure it would be a lot more fun if I were describing a drunken rampage down the Amazon, or waking up in the tropics of Madagascar with only an empty tequila bottle to my name, but give me a few years and I might cover those stories as well.

Within the past week I visited the famous Golden Pavilion in Kyoto, Japan and completed one of my Japanese aims which was to find a shot glass with ‘Japan’ written on it. For every country I go to I collect a shot glass and add it to my collection. Some people collect postcards, some collect key rings, I collect shot glasses. This all started off when I was 17, visiting Amsterdam. As I was the young age of 17, my friend and I didn't get served for any….well you know what I mean... therefore we spent a lot of our time trailing round the sex museums, clothes stores and souvenir shops. I found a shot glass for €1 which seemed like a bargain so I bought it. My second shot glass was in Disneyland Paris. As a Disney loser I went crazy in the downtown Disney souvenir shop and bought most things my hands could grab. This of course added up to over €100, so I put a lot of things back and headed for the SALE section, and wa la Disney shot glass found on sale for €1, hardly surprising as no child is searching for that truly perfect shot glass with Mickey Mouse’s face on.

I got home to realise I had two shot glasses, and quickly thought a collection could be formed. My next few trips were quite innocent, I went to Barcelona and Les Arcs in France, and bought two further shot glasses to add to my collection. My rules were quite strict; they had to be double shot glasses and they had to say the country name, not the city. This got difficult when I was in Vietnam as I couldn't find a single shot glass. Then in Cambodia, I could only find a single, not double, shot glass, therefore my rules were already falling apart. The big challenge was interrailing through Europe. It wasn't at all difficult to get the glasses in the countries I went to, it was just difficult carrying ten shot glasses around in a backpack without them clinking around, and thus causing unusual attention to myself.

So there you have it. I can’t reinforce how important I feel it is to collect something from each country you visit, especially if you’re an avid backpacker who wants to tick every country off their list. Maybe it won’t be a shot glass as you’re probably more cultural and less of a drunkard than I am. Maybe it might be the simple postcard or key ring, but I believe it’s quite nice to look back on a collection of something you've obtained from your travels, and then be able to see just how much of the globe you've covered and the memories you've collected on the way.

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