Clothing Stories: My Granddad Survives in Traveling Mementoes

Holding on to pieces of clothing can be a beautiful thing, but if you don’t practice some level of restraint it can take over your life.  One of the biggest culprits in nostalgic garbage hoarding is travel memorabilia.

No matter how hard you try and convince me I still think it looks ridiculous.

Different countries definitely have specific items that make for beautiful keepsakes. However there is a plethora of bad ashtrays, t-shirts, and snow globes out there. Yellowing water is nothing to feel sentimental over.


The top photo indicates HOW MUCH YOU LOVE BALI! SO MUCH!!! The bottom two photos are  the fading stages of the snow globe. 

Sit back and remove the fact that this is a piece from a beloved destination. Would you still like the piece if you found it in your own city?

Below is an example: On the left you have your standard kitschy t-shirt that screams “I GOT THIS IN ANOTHER COUNTRY AND AM WEARING MY MEMORIES!” It also most likely says: “I had an overpriced kangaroo steak by the opera house and insisted on asking for shrimps off the barby while drinking Fosters with all other tourists, before going back to my youth hostel and making out with some German dude with a sunburn.” On your right you have a scarf with a traditional Aboriginal motif on it. This motif was created by an Australian and the aesthetic was so appealing that it was picked up by Hermes for their 2009 collection. It still captures a traditional unique aesthetic without slapping people in the face with a garish visual that makes you look like a douche bag. Voila!



My grandfather’s mementos: a way to get to know a jet setting aviator.

My grandfather, Joseph Kohut, is the most seasoned traveler I have ever been acquainted with. Unfortunately, he died the year that I was born but the memories of his travels are still in the family. He was a navigator that was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross during WWII. After the war he worked with an airline that flew up north before finally setting up his own air surveying company. Before the advent of satellite imaging my grandfather’s company was one of many around the world that would take overhead photos for map making purposes. His company didn’t just focus on Canada. They were sent to go take photos all around the world.

My grandmother would often go along with him on trips. They became a couple of regular worldwide jet setters.  Many items given as gifts to my mother and grandmother survive from those days. He became really good at buying the right gifts with the sentimental value and unique character of the place visited. One of the most cherished of these gifts was a charm bracelet. Each charm came from a different destination and it serves as an overall reminder of the interesting places that he visited. It is also a reminder that he was thinking of his loved ones where ever he went.


Unfortunately with advancing technology came the extinction of the air surveying industry. My grandfather was essentially forced into early retirement. But travel was always in his blood. In 1984 he passed away. I was only six months old, but from his travel journals, photographs and from the thoughtful mementos he left behind I really feel like I’ve had a bit of a chance to get to know him.


Looking stylish hugging a koala


In Paris

So think of how you want to remember your trip. Don’t tempt me. If I hear that you’ve purchased another bad tourist mug, this might just happen.



About olexpruchnicky

The biggest problem in my life is trying to decide on one particular area, one particular part of life to focus on, to totally immerse myself in. So I've decided not to fight it, and like a whole lot of everything. I become interested when there is creativity, innovation, a bit of controversy, and a deep passion. A little bit of the random crazy and more than anything something that will raise or furrow my brow. Lines on my forehead... worth it. I work in politics, visual arts, music, and photography.

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