Memento: Nicola Anderson

No matter where we travel to, there are things we take with us—or things we bring home to remember a place. That’s the purpose of this series: to learn about the #LojelCollective's favorite items or keepsakes, and the stories behind them.

Shopping is usually the last thing I want to do. You’re more likely to find me outside exploring in the forest with my film camera in hand than you are to find me inside a mall. But when I travel, I love collecting clothing and accessories that are as unique as the places I visit.

A few of my essential travel items: a knitted orange hat, my film camera, a good book, my passport, my pink sarong, and a long-sleeve denim shirt.

photo by Nicola Anderson / @nicola.michelle

The pieces I find are neither expensive nor extravagant. Instead, I’m drawn to locally owned shops and quirky corner stores—I’ve even had some particularly good luck finding one-of-a-kind items at gas stations while driving through small towns.

Albany, Western Australia: Albany is an adventurer’s wonderland—there are fields of kangaroos, empty beaches for miles, and vast ocean views that extend beyond what your eyes can see.

photo by Nicola Anderson / @nicola.michelle

The sarong I picked up in Australia has served me well on all my travels.

photo by Nicola Anderson / @nicola.michelle

When I lived in Australia a few years ago, I bought a white Holden Commodore station wagon and took myself on many road trips. I spent some time in a town called Seventeen Seventy, where I fell in love with the local thrift shop; I bought a cardigan for $2.00 (which I wore tirelessly), a vintage leather purse, a perfectly worn-in 1980s jean jacket, and a multipurpose pink sarong (something I still carry with me to every beach I go to).

I found this sweater at a gas station on my way to the Grand Canyon. The colors and patterns of the canyon remind me of a watercolor painting—it looks even more vivid from the sky.

photo by Nicola Anderson / @nicola.michelle

Sedona, Arizona: Sedona’s red rocks are high on my list of favorite places in the world; I snapped this photo on my film camera on the drive into town.

photo by Nicola Anderson / @nicola.michelle

Road trips have led me to places I never would have otherwise encountered. When I drove across Canada to move back to Vancouver in 2016, I spotted a pylon-orange knit hat atop a shelf in a Northern Ontario rest-stop—I couldn’t pass it up. En route to the Grand Canyon, I stepped inside a gas station to pay for the tank I had just filled and noticed a cozy, fleece sweater adorned with the most magical Arizona-inspired print. Every time I wear it, people ask where they can buy the same sweater; I tell them to drive to the Grand Canyon.

Grand Canyon, Arizona: The best way to see the Grand Canyon is from a helicopter—the ride is equal parts terrifying and exhilarating. The Colorado River runs the entire span of the canyon, with its water changing between shades of green, blue, red, orange, and brown.

photo by Nicola Anderson / @nicola.michelle

Phoenix, Arizona: The Desert Botanical Garden is an amazing place to spend an afternoon—it contains an array of local cacti in more shapes, patterns, and sizes than you could imagine.

photo by Nicola Anderson / @nicola.michelle

Buying clothing items at local gas stations and thrift shops makes it less about owning material things and more about collecting adventures. Whenever I wear them, I’m reminded of the journeys and the stories they carry.

Nicola Anderson is a photographer, writer, yoga teacher, and musician based in Vancouver, B.C.

Written by: Nicola Anderson