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In 1999, as Erin and I traveled the globe on our way home from our Peace Corps service, we used a credit card to buy souvenirs and locally made products, filling our large orange REI duffel bags along the way.

In New Zealand, we bought wool sweaters, a rimu cutting board, and a leather wallet. In Thailand we bought a beautiful mango-wood vase. In Norway, on a visit to an IKEA store, a steel insulated vacuum flask (inspired by the kayak guide in New Zealand who served us tea from his thermos). And in Geneva, Switzerland, we purchased Tissot wrist watches and a Henckels eight-inch chef’s knife.

The mango vase is in our dining room, I still wear my wool sweater on very cold days, and the cutting board (although it is beginning to split) and chef’s knife are still in use — I used them last night to prepare the delicious spiced chickpea stew with coconut and turmeric for a friend who is soon to head to Alaska for the summer. The leather wallet wore out a long time ago, as did the seal on the flask. And my watch was stolen in the house burglary the day of the Triangle Bloggers Bash.

Now, fifteen years later, I’ve replaced the watch with another Tissot. It’s a joy to look down at my wrist and see this beautiful piece of time keeping, and it brings back good memories of younger days globetrotting with Erin.



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