I often try to find little ways to make the ordinary extraordinary. When I travel, I like to find those fun little hidden gems that the locals like, or find an interesting event and build a day or trip around it, stop for the weird roadside attractions and always eat and drink the local fare. Many times this is what makes a trip or event the most memorable. Sometimes however, I bring the fun with me.
Last year I did something that I had been threatening to do for about two decades. I stole a garden gnome and took it on vacation. Since I am admitting to an illegal act, I will continue to write this under my pseudonym to protect my identity. I do not wish to promote petty theft but it was GLORIOUS.
First I had to find a gnome. I scoured neighborhoods for a couple of weeks, but it is hard to find a gnome when you are looking for one. I finally found one in a front yard in Edina. I snuck over in the middle of the night and liberated him. I named him Bernard and took him to Duluth to see the Tall Ships.
North to Duluth we went. While we were there, we went to some local breweries. We hiked, ate some wonderful food, went site seeing and saw the tall ships. I took Bernard with me everywhere I went. I put him in a backpack which worked great and when I would pull him out to take his photo most people would stop to ask me what I was doing and when I explained they would laugh and several even wanted their photo taken with him.
Gnomes make wonderful travel companions. Almost everything is new to them. They are very easy-going, let me drive, are always willing to get their photo taken and are truly excellent listeners. The only thing that gets a little old is that you have to carry them so much.
This has become a thing for me now. I took another gnome on vacation with me this year. Leopold DiCaprignome Labine went to summer camp and had an amazing adventure. This time he happened to belong to someone I knew, but the experience was largely the same. Again, I snuck over in the middle of the night and invited Leopold on an adventure of his very own. Leo tried all the events that were offered to the kids, sang at campfire, went swimming, boating, dancing, played basketball and did arts & crafts. He got his photo taken at every step along the way and all the kids loved him.
Bernard and I had a lovely trip together as did Leopold and when it was all over, they were returned home with a copy of their photo album and story about their adventure. I have a copy too of each of their albums, and hope to add a new one each year. I hope that Bernard’s family enjoyed his adventure as much as I did. I know that Leo’s family did. I had a great time with each of them, but there is no place like gnome.