Creating travel memories

When I returned from my first big trip away from home on my own, at age 11 (ok, it was a supervised school trip, but I flew for the first time and started my first ever written travel diary), our teacher, gave us a project to complete. It was a scrapbook, which would tell people who would be completing the same trip in the future, a story of what you could do in London – pretty much my first published offline blog post I reckon.

We were encouraged to keep things from our trip to London, including ticket stubs, and information. To my scrapbook, I added photos and told a story of our five days in the capital city, and even won a prize, for one of the best in the class.

Perhaps unknowingly this was one of many ways I got into storytelling, blogging and travelling, and to this day, I still collect and keep many things from my travels, which I use to reminisce.

I currently have several boxes, in various places full of things I have collected from my travels. One such thing is my luggage tags from the flights that I have taken. This wasn’t something I set out to keep from the outset, but I really do love airports and flying, and when I was on my first trip to Australia and New Zealand in 2011, the airline check-in agent told me she could chuck away my luggage tag from my inbound flight to Sydney, so she could put on my new one to Auckland. I stopped her, announcing there and then, that I was collecting them; and that is where it began.

I looked in my little box lately and realised that a lot of my tags were fading, and so decided that I wanted to create something to preserve these memories. I decided I wanted to frame it.

Here is what I came up with, and how I did it

The luggage tag framed puzzle

The idea was quite simple. I started off with a blank jigsaw puzzle, which I purchased in the eclectic shop Tiger (also known as T G R or Flying Tiger in New York, USA), although you can probably purchase these in many places. This puzzle cost £1 and has 20 pieces.


I then used one puzzle piece per tag, drawing the shape of the piece around there letters of the luggage tag I wanted to use. I bought PVA glue (£1 in any basic shop) and used that to secure the tag in place. You can also use Pritt stick glue to secure the tag to the puzzle piece, then glue over with PVA. It was a delicate process at times, and it was difficult to know which piece I wanted where.

Sitting in the sun creating travel memories. This required chips and dip as well as good music.
Sitting in the sun creating travel memories. This required chips and dip as well as good music.

Once I had all the tags stuck on, I cut round them with a scalpel knife (a Stanley knife will also work), to remove the edges, so the pieces would fit together.


Then came the difficult part. Having not numbered the pieces, it was tricky knowing how the puzzle fitted back together, as unlike a traditional puzzle, the pieces will not create one fluid image, but a collection of images.


In the end, I decided to overlap the pieces, before putting it in the frame. I used the backing that the puzzle came in to keep it in shape, although you could glue the pieces directly onto a page, then frame it.

The luggage tag framed puzzle (colour)
The luggage tag framed puzzle (colour)

This is possibly the most creative thing I have done in a while, but I love how it brightens up my room, and how I have turned something from my travels into a piece of art.

Have you ever used something you have collected when traveling, as a piece of art? What do you do with things you collect from traveling?

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