Travel nursing allows you to experience new sights and adventures. Sadly, it’s all too easy to forget those experiences unless you’re a master at scrapbooking or Facebooking. And even if you are an expert, opportunities to go back through scrapbooks and photo albums, even when they’re online, are often few and far between.
So why not come up with a more inspiring, practical and unique way to relish in the memories of your travels? Try making a quilt of your experiences – a treasure you can pack with you and keep by your side when you’re away from home. It can serve as a reminder of where you’ve been and offer inspiration for where you’ve yet to go.
Here are a few ideas we’ve gathered from those that have perfected the travel quilt:
Collecting souvenir patches is a great way to remember your travels. And the practice is not so cliché as it might seem. Gathering the same souvenir patches from place to place sounds like it would be easy; but as most travelers who collect patches, for backpacks and scrapbooks, know all too well, it’s not always as easy as it seems.
Think about it: When is the last time you saw a patch in a gift shop? Granted, you might not have been looking for one; but next time you’re in a hotel gift shop, take an inventory. For certain destinations, patches are tricky to find. You’ll likely have to go out of your way to track down a prized patch – and that search will make the patch, and the travel memory, even more meaningful down the road.
Once you’ve gathered these prized patches, resist the temptation to toss them into a bag or crate for future display. Sew those suckers onto your travel quilt without delay. If you pack and carry your quilt with you, sew those patches on as you go. Every hotel has sewing kits available at the front desk. Sew on your patch or patches on before you check out.
Patches also can be used on T-shirt quilts. They can be placed on their own blocks or they can be added to T-shirt blocks. You can have a quilt made only with patches or you can intermix patch blocks with T-shirt blocks. Get creative!
If you’re not into patches, or just don’t feel like incorporating the quest for patches in your travel routine, stick to the traditional souvenir T-shirt quilt. This can be just as rewarding, and offers a great opportunity to put some of those free T-shirts your likely to score, as you get out to experience the local culture, to use.
Souvenir T-shirts from local pubs, restaurants and attractions are ideal for patchwork quilts. And they make for easy material ways to remember where you’ve been. There are many different styles of T-shirt quilts: puzzle, traditional, traditional style with sashing, crazy quilt style and more.
A Piece of Your Suitcase
But don’t be limited to just patches and T-shirts. While those may be the more traditional quilting items used, you may have other articles of clothing or materials you want to add to your quilt.
That old cloth duffle bag or suitcase that has been your travel companion since the late ‘90s might be ready to be retired. But before you toss it in the trash, snip a piece or two from its lining or outer covering and add it to your quilt! Or use other cloth or clothing items, like a piece from your favorite travel jeans or yoga pants before you toss them onto the Goodwill pile. Sweatshirts, tank tops and even socks also make good quilting materials.
Here’s a great rule of thumb when it comes to quilting material: If it can be washed in a washing machine, it can probably be used on your travel quilt.
And don’t be discouraged if you’re not the sewing and stitching type. Collect those patches and clothing or cloth pieces and send them off to have a quilt custom made. Pinterest and Google offer plenty of advice about how to make your own quilt or send it off to an individual or company that can put it together for you.
So get started on your travel nursing quilt today! Collect one shirt or piece of fabric from each assignment. As your collection grows, so does the fabric for your travel quilt. One day you can look back and see all of your travels and snuggle up under a quilt of memories.
Are you ready to create your 2018 travel quilt? Check out all our travel nursing opportunities here to pick your next destination and start collecting!