On a recent trip to Paris, I did everything I wanted to do except one thing. I didn't get a chance to scour the flea market for the vintage linens I love to collect. The days were too packed with museums, monuments and sightseeing and I was there with my 17-year-old daughter who has no interest in spending hours shopping for "junk.".
However, a few nights after my return, I did the next best thing. I logged onto Etsy and selected the "Vintage" shops. Immediately, items listed by sellers from all over the world filled my screen. One particular vendor, located in a small town in France, quickly caught my interest and sure enough, I made a purchase. Soon a package from France arrived in my mailbox and I unwrapped the beautiful old monogrammed linen bolster I'd ordered. It was exactly what I would have chosen if I'd found it in a flea market stall and even with international shipping, the price was comparable to what I would have paid in Paris.
Etsy gets a lot of attention for its endless selection of handmade and handcrafted items, but more and more the vintage side of the online marketplace is making the news. There are sellers who specialize in new items made from vintage materials. (the latest issue of Country Living Magazine features an iPod charger crafted out of repurposed vintage books) and it's worth noting that there are quite a few Spokane sellers listed on Etsy.
It's a cliche to talk about how small the world seems to be these days. But it's not always a negative thing. I loved every minute of another visit to Paris. And the quiet moments I spent shopping another corner of France from the comfort of my favorite chair in my own living room, were just as much fun.
Cheryl-Anne Millsap is a travel writer and antiques lover based in Spokane, Washington. Her audio essays can be heard on Spokane Public Radio and on public radio stations across the country. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org