Teddy bears and travel go hand in hand.
What is a girl who obsesses over ultra-light packing doing with stuffed animals in her pack? Unnecessary waste? Space stealer? Not in the least! I’ve never been one of those too-cool-for-school travelers – I’m still goofy me, happy to bring along my best friends as I travel. So what if they’re made of cotton and polyfill? I’m thrilled to have my pals along for the ride and, as you'll see, I’m not alone!
Read on for a look at what fuzzy companions other travelers bring along for the adventure, starting with me and my 2 bunny buddies!
Meet my two travel buddies. “Purple Bunny” (the small one) is actually a key chain, and I’ve attached a flashlight, nail file, and bottle opener to him – all of life’s necessities. Originally, the little white bag he holds between his paws contained lavender scented beads that have long gone flat. Before a big trip, I douse him with some lavender oil – I think he appreciates being spruced up a bit. Originally from the gift shop at the International Study Centre in Herstmonceux, East Sussex, Purple Bunny was procured just before my first solo trip through Europe has been with mefor every single trip I take, from weekend camping to 4 months in Africa.
“Big Bunny” has a slightly more limited travel life. I only bring him out for the big trips! Incredibly soft and stuffable, he’s a bit too small and flat to be a pillow but has proven infinitely useful for absorbing tears and making hostel beds, guest houses, and hotel rooms feel more like home! Big Bunny is originally from a gift shop on Cape Clear Island, the southern-most part of Ireland, and was a rare impulse purchase, along with a few other choice items that and together they help me remember my months traveling through Ireland.
Edited to add a new travel companion!
This is me with Snorey Rawry. Snorey Rawry is the newest addition to my travel plushy collection and he came from India. He loves napping (hence the name), long walks on the beach, and riding on airplanes. He is the perfect travel companion and never complains.
He likes to sit in the front seat of the car with me and look out for wildlife. He is an expert wildlife spotter (being a tiger of course). His absolute favorite pastime, however, is pouncing. He is a world championship pouncer.
When in Thailand, a Korean traveler gave us the most unreasonable gift in the world- this huge IKEA stuffed dog which can't fit into anyone's backpack.
So, we've been traveling with him for over a year now and find he is the all-time best pillow for bus rides. Funny, we all adore him (and fight over him) and yet, he still doesn't have a name. :-)
Zhazha is a Monrovian Pink Bear who used to be a
Editor's note: That was the entire description that came through in the email. I like that. It lends an air of mystery. What was Zhazha before? I'd like to think the bear was (and is) a spy.
Update: WE WERE RIGHT! Lauren was kind enough to send us a revised post:
She is a spy who used to manage a Chendol stand in Malaysia and is traveling halfway around the world to meet her older brother Tutu bear who lives in Montreal, Canada with me. Zhazha knows 7 languages including Pidgin Latin and was a former Powder Monkey in a Somalia Pirate ship before jumping to the sea after mutiny stuck against her captain. She has a more interesting life than me actually.
Virginie (Vivi) Zurbuchen
Sending you a picture I took in Beijing in 2011.
Tchip was made by my mom 20 years ago, to replace a lost toy. It's been with me ever since.
Cheryl and Lisa
Priscilla, the purple octopus, has been traveling with her friends Cheryl and Lisa at www.WhatBoundariesTravel.com since 2007! One the night before the adventure began, Priscilla was rescued from a crane machine at the local arcade.
So far, she's been to over 50 countries, 5 continents, and stuffed into more backpacks than she could ever count. But she still continues to smile and look forward to that breath of fresh air when she's brought out to a new place for adventure. Her exploits around the world are currently being worked into a children's book series.
When I was about to head out to Ireland for a study abroad trip in 2008, my boyfriend wanted to do something special and just a little bit different for the time I would be away. So, he made me a teddy bear. Yup, hand sewn and stuffed with care.
It started falling apart before I even left, but I loved carrying it around with me. A few months later I did another study abroad excursion to Australia, and my lovingly constructed bear joined me. Needless to say, the bear and boy have both been keepers over the years, especially as travel buddies.
Flower the Penguin is our trusty travel companion. Flower has been all over Hawaii and is filled with the Aloha Spirit. We adopted Flower at the Maui Hyatt. We loved seeing the penguins at the Maui Hyatt and now we take a little piece of that resort with us where ever we go! She usually hangs out on the dashboard of our rental car while we are exploring the islands.
My sheep (sheepie) has been to Italy, Cyprus, Atlanta, Israel (where I currently live), and DC. I like to put him in my computer bag and have him pop out like this. He is a well-traveled sheep!
My boyfriend gave him to me as a gift when we started dating, and we are both big fans of the Nikki brand here in Israel. I also take him with me when I go on local travel expeditions too!
I travel with Cow. Some friends sent her to me when I was working in France in 2010. In addition to France, Cow went with me on many adventures while I lived in Texas (sometimes I think living in Texas should count as an international experience) and on trips to Namibia and Thailand.
We’re currently in Nairobi, Kenya for the summer, where we crossed the equator and are looking forward to safaris to Amboseli and the Masai Mara. In October, Cow and I move to Tanzania, which I’m sure will be full of adventure.
This is a collage of some of our adventures: Paris; Grand Palace Bangkok; Cheetah Conservation Fund, Namibia; Giverney, France; London; Yoakum,TX.
PJ and I have been together since I was 2, so it's been 30 years. Back in the day, he was full of stuffing, he had a nose, and he wore the cutest tiny red sweater. He’s really let himself go over the years, though, and I can’t even convince him to get dressed anymore. Anyway, he still makes a great pillow for long trips in airplanes or cars, and he makes every new place feel like home.
Keili Rae Gunden
Fleecie, pictured here on the right at the Giza Pyramids in Egypt with occasional travel mate, the cow, is an integral part of the travelling team at WheresSharon.com.
Fleecie has been everywhere with Sharon, since she picked her up at LA airport on her first big trip overseas in 2000. Since then, they have travelled to over 70 countries together. She even has her own photo album.
Bell & Alex
We'd like to introduce our friends Bananas and Wally who travel with us on all our trips. Bananas in a bear in monkey suit and Wally is our wombat. They love to have their picture taken in exciting places, below they are chillin in Singapore, though they did find it a wee bit hot there compared to their regular home in Dublin!
They are quite cheeky and like to ensure they are never packed in a suitcase but are traveling in our hand luggage, they are also good savers and have their own piggy bank for traveling ;)
My first international trip was a 3 week study abroad in Scotland in 2004. The group took along a stuffed lion, the college's mascot. We named him McHaggis and he traveled all around Scotland with us.
During the last week of our trip, Mr. McHaggis went on a wild adventure one day when we accidentally left him on the bus. At the end of the day, we spotted the bus and my friend ran across the street to save him, accidentally leaving her belongings on the other bus!
This photo is of Mr. McHaggis in St. Andrews, Scotland with a golfer, myself and my friends.
Our now 6 1/2-year-old son likes to collect the stuffed animal versions of sports mascots. Just this month I brought him home a Raptor from Toronto and he joined me on a trip to St. Louis where he came home with the Cardinals mascot, Fred Bird.
Last year, we traveled to France, England and Scotland and Colby's favorite, the Memphis Grizzles mascot, Griz, came along. We even took his passport photo that "must" stay on my iPhone.
In this photo Colby and Griz are taking a little break inside Edinburgh Castle.
These are my faithful travelling companions Grover and Puppers. Grover is very mature for his age, highly intelligent and sounds like Barry White. Puppers is all sass, trouble and mischief.
They've travelled the world with me but have since developed a fear of flying when they were once considered to be too heavy and were forced to be "checked in". Due to this traumatizing event, they now consider themselves Road Warriors. Favourite form of travel is via cruise ship, as seen here on the deck of the Crown Princess cruise in port at Cozumel Mexico.
Little Blue, the pukeko on the left came from NZ - he also squeaks if you press him correctly. Wenlock, the London2012 Olympic mascot came from a friend after I visited home last summer. The small penguin (Chips) is old and all that remains from a cull I had from many penguin stuffed toys I received from an ex and he only remained because he was travel size! And Big Blue, the big penguin I got at Christmas last year in New Zealand from a friend!
This is my traveling bear, Chili and she has traveled the world. She is one of a set of bears. My other friends have similar looking ones named Chowder, Chopsticks and Chocolate (all Cs, all to do with food). We have them so when we're not together, we still have the bears. This photo was taken in Maui, Hawaii.
To any normal person, this appears a normal butterfly corkscrew. But this corkscrew is so much more to me: his name is Ferdinand and he has traveled all over Europe, the Caribbean and the United States.
During my first trip to Europe, I visited France, a veritable wine drinker's fantasy land. Unfortunately, I forgot Ferdinand and we had some unfortunate run-ins with cheap, hastily purchased corkscrews. Never again! Ferdinand is my special friend who is like a stuffed animal, except better because he offers the warm, fuzzy embrace of a glass of red wine after a long day of sightseeing. Plus he has arms, so you can make him dance!
During my next trip to Europe, Ferdinand will be along for the ride.
As always, I welcome and encourage your comments. Time to confess! Do you travel with a stuffed animal or special toy?
If you enjoyed this article, you'll also like:
5 Random, Awesome Travel Memories
Why I Love #MyCanada Stuck at the Airport? Here's What Top Travel Bloggers Do.
Travel Memories Are Made: When I Find Coffee