Answer: A gajillian.
Followups: Why do I feel I need something by which to remember my trip? Why aren’t the memories enough? Whoa, easy. This is not a psychology blog. (Is it? Guys?) I dunno, blame it on our materialistic culture, our obsession with stuff, whatever you wish. The fact of the matter is, many of us cart home crap from our travels.
While it’d be amazing if we could all travel for the experience and not the mementos (I'M INCLUDING SELFIES HERE, PEOPLE. I’m as guilty as the next guy…sigh.) the fact of the matter is we’re probably always gonna come home with a li’l something extra in the old Samsonite. So if we continue to insist on doing so, maybe we better play by some strategic rules. So slowly put down the shot glasses and let’s think about this. What can we bring home that’s a nice memento and also doesn’t junk up our home?
- Jewelry: One of my favorite rings is from a hipstery arts and crafts shop in Jackson, Wyoming, another from a local jeweler in Forth Worth, Texas. A necklace I routinely wear to work came from a small vendor on a cobblestoned street in Dubrovnik, and is a fantastic example of the local style of metalwork. I only recently got the bright idea to look for souvenirs that don’t simply collect dust on my bookshelves and dresser, and this one has proved a real winner.
- Food: Look, I know this doesn’t last forever, but it has the dual bonuses of kinda extending your trip by a wee bit and not cluttering your home. Tasty and tidy? That’s an Alix Dream. I’ve dragged home Key Lime candies from Key West, honey from Ljubljana, dijon from, well, Dijon. Oh, and I can’t forget the rum cake from Bermuda. (Philly friends: Bermuda is a quick two-hour flight away. Why we’re not taking weekend jaunts to feast on these cakes is beyond my comprehension.) Food products also make a sweet souvenir for your loved ones for the same reasons: tidy and tasty.
- Art: Whether it’s an antique postcard from the area or a little piece from a artistic street vendor, artwork is typically easy to pack (that is, if we aren’t including, like, giant sculptures in the equation) and can neatly be displayed in your home or in your office….and will get the found memory juices flowing every time you give it a looksee. Plus, you won’t have the awkward encounter when you realize your friend has the same abstract Ikea canvas as you. Score!
- Clothes/Accessories: I’ve been known to look for a jaunty scarf in Paris, a pair of babouches in Marrakech, a tailored dress in London. While these pieces aren’t necessarily as durable as the aforementioned jewelry, they still get used frequently, are fun conversation starters, and kinda perform the basic function of keeping me #nevernude.
What am I missing? What souvenirs do you love to bring home?