Do you have a travel mascot?
This is Mr Ted. Whenever I take a trip somewhere, he comes along. I’m not really sure how it started. He began life in a Birthdays store and was bought in my past life as a ‘craven’ – someone who goes to meet their favourite celebs at TV shows, concerts etc, Mr Ted would come with me and have his photo taken with any celebrities I met.
He had his own geocities website back in the day – yes, he’s been around that long!
I don’t remember at what point he went from having photos with confused-looking celebrities to having photos in front of famous landmarks and beautiful scenery. I have a few pictures of him at the local park, zoo and theme park back in the early ’00s and I guess at some point this merged into him coming along with me on day trips and holidays. He came with me on my first trip to New York in 2005 and has been with me again on all 9 of my consequent trips to that city!
As a Key Stage 1 teacher, I soon realised Mr Ted was an invaluable teaching tool, especially during geography topics. The more places I visited, the more photos I had and I’d make slide shows of some of his adventures to teach the children about Australia, the USA and Europe. I even took photos of him in Birmingham to teach the children about their local environment and of London during our Fire of London topic!
This became my go to excuse when I’d get strange looks from other travellers as I dragged him out of my backpack and held him up in front of my camera – “I’m a teacher and it’s to help the children with their Around the World topic!” I’d claim. When really, they’d never see most of the photos, they’d be for me – a different take on the usual photos of scenery and landmarks.
As social media grew, I started an Instagram page for my mascot. Mr Ted’s Adventures currently has over 1000 followers, many of them other travel addicts with mascots they take everywhere! Here I backposted the thousands of photos I had of Mr Ted in various locations around the World as well as posting more up to date snaps from our current trips.
On the group tours I often do when travelling solo, it can sometimes take a few days before I feel comfortable pulling Mr Ted out for a photo. I can feel a bit ridiculous sometimes standing there with a bear in my hand! But most of the time, the reaction is positive and people seem to think it’s a good idea.
Once another group member even revealed she also had a travel mascot but had been too nervous to bring it out of her bag until she’d seen me with mine!
So that’s Mr Ted, my well travelled bear. You can say hi to him and follow his adventures on his instagram page, @mr_teds_adventures here.
If you’ve got a travel mascot to accompany you on your adventures, let me know. Maybe they can be Mr Ted’s new friends!!