My standard self-invented rule is to never wear a T-shirt unless I have visited that place, but, of course, there’s always an exception. Mine is if a friend visits a site (museum, city, tourist favorite) and buys me a T-shirt as a memento of her wonderful trip, I will thank her for her generosity and wear the respective T-shirt. I am thinking of a recent gift — a beautifully rendered drawing of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. How I would love to have gone there with my friend, but she chose her husband as her roommate instead of me.
Unlike writing a journal, or taking endless photos to remind us of our travels, buying a T-shirt (usually for less than $25), and wearing its attractive drawing and/or description of the area gives us an instant recall of the trip, and it probably spurs some nostalgia about the wonderful time we had. We are transported back across foreign lands to Australia, maybe an exotic adventure in South America and a few memorable vacations in Europe.
But, working for T-shirts is very different from traveling for them, and it can be just as enjoyable. On the one hand, we pay lots of money to get to the destination that is selling the T-shirts; on the other hand, when we work for the T-shirts, the shirts are always free and given to us with great thanks.
During the past 14 years that I’ve lived in Sarasota, I have volunteered at a variety of events. They might all sound different, and have different goals, but their hosting organizations’ gesture of giving us these T-shirts is a universal one. We are wearing their “company” names — Arts Festival, Reading Festival, Mote Marine Save the Turtles, Crystal Classic, and, my most recent gift: three beauties from the Sarasota Visitors Center. We are the center’s free advertisement, its information center, its personal representatives.
And, if you love volunteering as much as I do, I bet you would enjoy wearing a beautiful new T-shirt, too.
Plus, the T-shirts make excellent beach cover-ups.