I know what you're thinking. Looks like a normal sea-shell to me.
Well LOOK AGAIN.
Someone I love went the the Dominican Republic and all they brought me back was THE BEST GIFT EVER.
No stupid T-shirt that I would never wear, no silly coffee mug that I'd hardly find meaningful. But what is the significance of a sea-shell? Can I tell you? Pretty, pretty please?
I'm sure you've heard the saying, "Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints." Hmmm, well I know many people (including me) who go to the most exotic places and bring back sand, sea-shells, and whatever natural memorabilia they can - as long as it isn't taken away at customs. Maybe we all have the same sentiment, "There are SO many sea-shells, how is the sea ever going to miss just this one?" And seeing as there are more grains of sand than probably every other thing created in this world, surely the sand won't be missed. And the truth is, it probably won't. But it's the whole concept of entitlement that bothers me. The 'I-can-take-what-isn't-mine-because-no-one-will-miss-it' idea just doesn't sit well. So why on earth is this sea-shell the best travel gift I have ever received? Doesn't that go against my very core values? Not exactly. Why?
Because it comes with a promise.
You see, the shell isn't exactly mine. When it was given to me, I was told that I MUST take it back to the beach where it came from. I am only a temporary owner of this shell. Connecticut isn't it's real home. But it will stay with me here - and everywhere I go - until the day I can return it to that beach. And if for some reason I can't return it, I will entrust it with someone I know who can.
So I'm pretty sure you've guessed it, this means I HAVE to go the Republica Dominicana!! Yeah Bay-bee!! Can't say I've been given a better trip gift than that! But that's not the only reason I love it. I love it because it was so thoughtful of the giver to give me such a gift. And to trust me to take it back. Maybe you're thinking, "come one Jenny, it's just a SEA-SHELL! Don't get your heart all twisted up in knots over THAT." But I think of it more than just a sea-shell. It has all sorts of symbolism tied up in it. Emotional, physical, spiritual. And it meant a lot to me when I got it.
Plus, I don't think this is the type of gift that I would give to just anyone, you know? Like I would really have to know that they wanted to be where I had been. And would maybe even want to go where I want to go. There aren't many people I would trust with that kind of gift.
So I don't know where my life will take me and how long I'll get to hold on to this beautiful little shell. I have no idea if and when I'll make it to the DR, but I'm super excited for the chance!
Man... how do you top a gift like that?