Saturday, May 21, 2011

My obsession with travel and dirt


ACEO, Bahamas



Yes, you read it right.  I used to have an obsession with dirt.  It isn’t as odd as it sounds…so let me explain.

When I was little I wanted to travel.  Anywhere that was at least a state away from my own was where I longed to be.  I sent away to pretty much all fifty Chambers of Commerce and in return I received colorful travel brochures.  I put them in a box and stashed it under my bed. Occasionally I would take them out and scan the pages making a mental list of those places that I just had to see.

My parents had other ideas, and four kids who sometimes made travel to anywhere further than the corner grocery store rather difficult.  They tried, though.  Once a year or so they would pile us kids in the back seat of the family station wagon.  They’d listen to us quibble and fight over who touched whom, and which one of us got the window seat.  Occasionally my dad would threaten to stop the car.  He never did.

Eventually without the aid of a DVD player, video games or cell phones we managed to reach our destination, which were sometimes several states away.  That is when I started collecting dirt. 

Whenever we would cross a state line, I made dad stop the car and I would fill up an empty pill bottle with dirt.  My intention was to create a map of the United States and in each state section add it’s actual dirt, thereby creating a genuine topographical map. 

As I grew older I amassed quite a collection (in my eyes anyway) of perhaps 15 states, but I was far from completing my goal.  I grew up and life, as it sometimes has a tendency to do, got in the way.  Marriage, family and kids became the biggest priority.

Sadly, I gave up collecting dirt and I just tossed the empty pill and aspirin bottles into the trash instead of my room.

Today, innocently smuggling dirt from various states, is generally frowned upon when traveling by air. Times are different now.  Can you imagine trying to take a pill bottle full of dirt through TSA?  I can see me trying to explain that right now:

“But its just dirt.” I innocently explain.

“Follow me maam.”  He answers.

So to conclude, although I have visited many, many states…and countries since that long ago little girl dreamed of travel and collecting dirt, I now just keep the dirt in my mental map.  Once in a while, when no one is looking, I visit the storage area of my basement and take out those old, battered, bottles, open the caps, and remember.

17 comments:

Nelly said...

I am so with you, I have a need to see places different from my own surroundings. I love that you collected dirt. I think it is such a sweet thing to do. You sketch of the Bahamas is lovely, did you take any sand?

maddyrose said...

I used to love to travel and see new places. I have been lucky enough to see most of the US and have lived in several states from coast to coast. I even managed to live abroad. Now that I'm getting up there in years I don't do much traveling and have only memories of other places. Wish I'd thought of collecting dirt.

maddyrose said...

Me again. I forgot to mention that I love the light house. Forgetting happens a lot. =^)

Lee Pierce said...

Love hearing about your collection! I pick up rocks. "Dear, can you find a spot to pull over on this winding road for me to get a rock for my collection?" "Give me a minute to wade in this river so I can get that pink rock..." So many people buy little souvenirs - I collect rocks most everywhere I go and shells at the beach. :D

Looks like Hopetown Harbour Light! Nice one ;^)

laurie said...

aww,, thats so sweet,, thats why I'm so glad I found your blog,,

LadyCat said...

This is such a charming story. And I think your idea of making a map with the dirt is very creative.
Love your lighthouse : )

Carol Blackburn said...

Wonderful story, Crystal. I have a dirty story too. My hubby and his brother went to stock car races in Virginia (I think) and while my brother-in-law spend time in the gift shop buying mugs, hats, and tee shirts for his wife and daughters my hubby picked up a piece of red clay and carefully wrapped it in a paper towel. My brother-in-law was agast that that was all I was getting. My hubby assured me I would "love" it. After all I had told him not to spend money on any of those souveniers I wouldn't use. He put the red clay in a little glass bowl and gave it to me. It sits here on the compter desk today right next to the lava rock he got me from New Mexico......and, I love them both.
Your map idea was interesting. I bet it would have been awesome.
:)

craftattack said...

I can very much feel with you on this one!

maddyrose said...

Dear sweet Crystal, I have left you an award on my blog.

Magic Love Crow said...

Crystal, I think this is excellent! I like to pick up rocks when I go to different places. But, like you said, these days, it would be hard to take dirt on a plane! LOL! Have a great day!

Gerri Herbst said...

Just love your story of Dirt. LOL. Love yr painting too!

Liz Revit said...

A little dirt will do you some good. Hee! Hee!

Leovi said...

Preciosa pintura con ese bonito faro. Tú historia sobre la suciedad es interesante, yo suelo recoger una piedra pequeña de los paises que visito. Por desgracia tengo muy pocas piedras.

Craftymoose Crafts said...

I enjoy your stories and your art! To this day wherever I travel, I always bring home a special stone to remember my journey!

Heather said...

What a great story. I just started to have the wonder lust. I use to be ok with just staying in my own town. Now I have a need inside me that just has to go somewhere, anywhere that shows me something different. Love this post!

jamberry_song said...

Awww. It was a great idea in theory. I was like that about rocks, but never as methodical as it sounds like you were. Love the painting, too! Lighthouses are some of my favorite things to visit. I always dream about what it would be like to live in one. It turned out lovely. :)

Jehanne's doodles said...

I great pic. Very Caribbean :)
Yes that was my first thought on your dirt collecting hobby - customs :) I can also emphasize with your parents and traveling. This is something we are thinking about except the potential bickering.

Related Posts with Thumbnails