Vignette: "Three Wise" Collections.

I don't collect too many things. I've spent the past few weeks doing major purges of physical, mental and emotional things... But one of the few things I do collect and love to find when I travel?

The Three Wise (Monkeys).

I started collecting them about seven years ago, when I went to Phoenix for my 30th birthday celebration. I picked up the set on the far left in this picture. They are hand-carved, and I found them in a children's store near the resort I was staying at.

The ones in the middle I picked up in Iquitos, Peru this year. They're also hand-carved and are probably the most special set in my collection.

The red ones on the far right are from Hong Kong. I picked them up in a small market when traveling there three years ago.

What motivated me to start collecting these on my travel? I think it was the idea of the "protection" the three offer your home. It may be an old wives' tale or ancient folklore of some kind, but when you face them towards your door (or any opening in your house), they're supposed to keep the evil out.

I love that.

This set are in my bedroom, and are the most expensive pair I own. They're porcelain. And they were purchased in Toronto at a store near my old home. I thought about purchasing them for months before I finally caved and did it.

This gold-colored set I bought when I was Old Town San Diego almost four years ago. I was away at Bikram yoga teacher training, and my friends and I were bumming around the place to get away from the "yoga bubble" for a few hours. I found these in one of the touristy shops there.

These are a favorite too. SKELETONS!!! I bought them when visiting an apple farm last Fall. They were part of the Halloween decorations in the store. I picked them up and saw them individually priced... How could I not grab them? They sit perched on my entry-way mirror.

These came from Bruges, about five years ago. They were on a table in a flea market. I think I paid two euro for them.

These are from Bali, Indonesia. I don't recall what I paid for them, but it was very cheap. The tarnished color coming in turquoise makes them very fun to look at. These sit on my coffee table... And get a lot of comments when people visit. They're usually the first set people notice.

I have another set I collected in South Africa earlier this year, but I took them to the beach place in Encinitas. They're guarding my space there.

What do you collect when you travel?