Here & there: Travel tradition

Beach view near the Treehouse Bungalows on the island of Koh Rong. Koh Rong, Cambodia, July 2013 | Photo by Kat Dayton, St. George News

FEATURE — This time of year is all about traditions. People trim trees, go caroling, sub for Santa, eat latkes and light menorahs. And usually, regardless of the activity, treats are involved. Personally, I’m a toffee girl.

We have several traditions in my home that help make Christmas, well, Christmas for me: reading seasonal books each night with my boys, indulging in a “favorites feast” on Christmas Eve where everyone picks a few of their favorite edibles for the table, waking up early Christmas morning to a single candle and the words of “O Come All Ye Faithful.”

Being knee-deep in Christmas traditions got me thinking about other traditions, specifically, travel traditions.

One of my favorite travel traditions is slightly unconventional: I leave my wedding ring behind at special locales. On purpose.

Am I crazy? Crazy like Maude, perhaps.

The 1971 film “Harold and Maude” is about a sweet and unlikely coupling between a young man and a much older woman. Harold professes his love to Maude one afternoon by the lake.

He presents her with a stamped coin inscribed, “Harold loves Maude.” Maude responds that she loves him too and promptly hurls the coin in the lake. Harold gasps. She replies, “so I’ll always know where it is.”

The moment before the wedding ring drop into the reflecting pool of Detalhe de Binnenhoff. The Haugue, Netherlands, May 2015 | Photo by Kat Dayton, St. George News
The moment before the wedding ring drops into the reflecting pool of Detalhe de Binnenhof. The Hague, Netherlands, May 2015 | Photo by Kat Dayton, St. George News

I was floating away from the island of Koh Rong in the Gulf of Thailand the first time I had the urge to throw my ring. The sun was tickling the transparent, turquoise water as the small, painted fishing boat carrying my little family puttered away from shore.

For the past three days we’d lived in a thatched bungalow without electricity, sea kayaked in strong currents, snorkeled among fish with colors like fuchsia and chartreuse and scampered down jagged jungle cliffs like Gollum from “The Lord of the Rings.”

Even with one of my boys painfully impaling his hand on a black sea urchin, it was magical. And I didn’t want to leave. Not without remembering it all. So I threw the thin, silver wedding band I wear when I travel into the water and watched it sink.

Since Koh Rong, Cambodia, I have left travel rings behind all around the globe — everywhere from the howler monkey-filled jungles of Costa Rica to the reflecting pool of The Hague’s Binnenhof and with the starfish of Panama.

So I always know right where they are. And I can think of them often.

My boys, horrified at first, now ask at each new locale if this is the place I’ll leave my ring behind. Because, after all, they want to remember it too.

Kat Dayton is a developing columnist with St. George News. Any opinions stated are her own and may not be representative of St. George News.

Email: [email protected] | [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.


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