When we told family and friends we were going to New Mexico for a family holiday, most people asked, “Why?” Some travel destinations are simply more obvious than others. Going to Orlando with a couple of kiddos in tow? You must be going to Disney World! By now, I’m fairly accustomed to people questioning my travel destinations (e.g. leaving temperate Southern California for a steamy summer in Louisiana—isn’t it usually the other way around?) but those long drives on two way highways (when the little one was napping) gave me time to ponder, Why do I travel? I had a long list of reasons why I wanted to visit New Mexico but ultimately I think I travel out of curiosity. And now that I have a family, I choose destinations that serve all our interests (for this trip, that meant train rides and lots of outdoor activities for Anak and war and history museums and erm, buffets for The Hubs) while still satisfying my itch for knowledge. I wanted to experience the landscapes immortalized in Georgia O’Keeffe’s paintings. I wanted to taste the chilies as they can only be grown in this region. And of course, I wanted to see some adobe houses because even when I travel, home is always on my mind. Here are a few little tidbits that reminded me of all things home related.
Have you ever wondered why ladders often accompany adobe style homes? Asides from connecting different floors, the ladders served as a unique defensive tactic as the traditional buildings had no windows or doors. A ladder was the only way to enter a home. Foes in your area? Bring your ladder in and hunker down. I was really digging all the religious decorations and contemplated starting a collection of crosses myself. I couldn’t help but snatch up a photo of the Moravian star pendant I’ve been drooling over for years. Got a couple of tourists to stop and look up at what I was photographing, too ; ] I was set on buying one of these until I flipped it over and saw the price. I forget now but I remember it being waaay out of my price range. So I snapped up a lovely little photo to remember it instead. I liked the idea of having a bell on the door and nailing in a few other decorative embellishments. Adds personality! The blue you’ll see on many doors, gates and window may seem like a reflection of the color of the sky or the use of turquiose but I found some folklore to this practice. It is said that the Spanish settlers first began this practice as part of their belief to ward off evil spirits. The practice continues on today. I created this little color palette based on a photo I took that I feel encapsulates New Mexico perfectly. It sure is bold, isn’t it?
And of course, I couldn’t help myself from picking up a few keepsakes—I’m sure you’ll spot them in some upcoming home styling photos once I find a place for them! I bought these two place mat sized rugs for $7 a pair. While the rugs were imitation, I splurged on the handmade authentic Kewa mini pot for $20. I’m a big cheapo and tend to shy away from the high price tag of original pieces but the story behind this piece was simply compelling. And specific to the pueblo where this pot came from, you’ll see a break in the black paint on the rim of the mouth to symbolize a spirit path’s beginning and end. I also picked up this print for $10 from the Georgia O’Keeffe museum in Santa Fe. I’ve been looking for just the right frame to get this bad boy on a wall. I’d love to have fresh poppies in my home but since they’re largely unavailable, a painting is almost the next best thing. And as I usually do, I picked up a handful of postcards from all over the place. Postcards are easy to travel with and make great instant art once framed.
Hope you enjoyed my little overview of New Mexico through the eyes of a self-proclaimed home design aficionado and that you picked up a little piece of trivia or two.
What do you tend to pick up as keepsakes on your travels? Do you have a favorite travel keepsake you display or use in your home?