The Souvenir Dilemma

The great wonderful and expanding community of world travellers, globe trotters and wanderlusters has the same dream… to travel with everything they need, in a light manner, which will allow them to then return with souvenirs. Or rather, to have one of those AWESOME bags Hermoine Granger has in films 7 and 8 – the Deathly Hallows – in which you can even carry a car and it is actually a purse. RESULT!

Caricatures from Paris

I love having something to remember my travels by aside from photos and memories. Tokens, almost, of the time I had abroad that remind me of some experience or story of that specific location. More so than that, as a very giving person, I love treating my loved ones to small things from these locations, to show them that I carried them with me everywhere. This could not be true-er as this amount of souvenirs adds up and soon I will have actually carried them with me… EVERYWHERE.

This is a true dilemma!

I have now gotten into the habit of collecting wall art, be it paintings, wall hangings, masks etc, things that go on walls make me very happy because they keep my very few surfaces clear and make my room feel less cold – completely psychological but it works. This can sometimes pose a huge problem in terms of transportation because no one wants ruin an oil painting in a suitcase of unfolded dirty clothes, half empty toiletries and electronics. However, the smaller pieces I have purchased have been very easy to pack and take home. It is a balance, and I think Paris shall be my last enormous painting as I had real trouble with that one.

Oil painting of Paris

My mother, for example, loves her fridge magnets! The fridge is replete of magnets from all over the globe which are small reminders of places where we have been. However, for her that is not enough. Let me explain, the fridge magnet is obligatory, a tradition almost, we always get one and if myself or my siblings visit somewhere, we need to bring one back for her. Still, my mother thirsts for a bit more. Handicrafts, traditional hand made artisan and typical/traditional ornaments of all shapes and sizes. We went to Turkey in 2014 and my mother returned with a chandelier! A beautiful chandelier, but she purchased an extra suit case to transport this sodding chandelier. We went to Cebu in the Philippines this year, and all I got were some masks for James which were very small, probably the length from the wrist to the tip of your fingers – female average adult hands – and made of thin wood. That was my added weight to my luggage which was fairly empty. My mother made me carry home – this is no joke at all! – a stone candelabra, which was not big in size but heavy, a bowl made of wood with a tripod leg thing and a wall hanging marracas style thing. It looks like a tribal necklace to me but I am not sure. She then had in her suitcase from Macau, where we had done a stop, 5 jewellery boxes! Which are not small, to distribute to her friends and other bits and bobs from home. A serial souvenir shopper.

Mom’s wooden Necklace from the Philippines
Mom’s many fridge magnets
Mom’s collection of tea pots from around the world and dad’s many international beverages

Some of my favourite souvenirs are really simple things like photos that I have taken, ticket stubs of things, wristbands, that sort of thing that I collate into my memory book/journal. My journals contain tickets to everything I have seen live, concerts, theatre, festivals etc, as well as plane tickets, ticket stubs for places abroad, photos and some writing. These are actually instrumental for me, because I can see how I have developed as a tourist/traveler, grown as a person, see my handwriting developing, how one trip is so different from the other and how my choice of where I visit changes all the time. I can also revisit in a few pages the places I loved the most.

I have friends that collect shot glasses from abroad, key rings, football club scarves, pens, t-shirts… all people have something different, and I have yet to meet someone who goes abroad and does not bring with them any memories, even if it is just a tube/metro ticket stub. One of my favourite bloggers, who I would like to introduce you all to, is the Author, Owner and Creator of who has gone around the world, and continues to do so, bringing back post cards from every where! Even towns within her own country, she collects them all. With the great motto ‘been there, seen that, got the post card’ she has created one of the best blogs to read based on the simplest souvenir! I love it! It costs next to know money and it can be kept in so many ways. I wonder if she displays them on her wall in some kind of collage, or if she has a scrapbook in which she keeps them all. Such a great and inspiring idea, there are so many ways to keep memories and I love that this one has inspired a whole travel blog/website.

Some of my paintings, photos and alternative art for St Tropez, Barcelona, Lisbon, Paris and Barcelona again

I love collecting eclectic things and having my house decorated with things from all over the world makes me extremely happy. I think it is great to be surrounded by inspiring objects that mark some big changes. I believe that all travel opportunities or cultural experiences can enrich your life and impact the way you see things.

What’s your choice souvenir? Are you a believer in light packing to purchase items? Or buying what you want and working it out later? Let me know!

Mom’s wooden hand carved bowl from Cebu
Chandelier from Turkey
Chandelier from Turkey without being lit
Cannes watercolours
Wall hangings from Turkey and China
My scrapbook

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