What do you love to bring back from your trips? 9 travel bloggers spill the beans.
We LOVE to bring back keepsakes from our travel, but since buying our house we have to be more selective, otherwise we could easily just fill the place with clutter and it would end up looking like a museum... One of our most popular Instagram posts opened a brilliant discussion about people's favourite things (apart from photographs) that they have brought back from a trip.
Below we have collaborated with 9 other awesome travel bloggers to share their amazing keepsakes.
Emma and David
After climbing all the way to the summit of Mt Inari, we had to bring home our own little torii gate. Halfway down as we walked back from the top, these mini gates were on sale as votive offerings next to a shrine. You could either leave them there or take them home, and ours is now pride of place on our mantlepiece.
It reminds us of the most incredible morning we had walking through the endless tunnels of orange arches at this must see destination just outside Kyoto, Japan.
Tori and David
Our favourite place in the world is Kenya. And whenever we visit, one of the most fun activities -aside from safari, of course-is visiting the local markets and admiring the amazing craftsmanship. In particular, our favourite souvenirs are beaded accessories. Using vibrantly coloured beads, the Kenyans have perfected the art of intricate beadwork; be it jewellery, belts, pet collars, or even handbags.
The beaded souvenirs you see here were actually purchased from a Maa Trust conservancy, an organisation that aims to support conservation through the sustainable development of communities in the Maasai Mara. They empower local women and give them an alternative source of income through their beadwork. Despite a severe lack of education for female children in previous years, the conservancy’s bead-workers are now affording and investing in clean drinking water for their homes, solar power, alternative fuel to firewood, and education for their children. It’s amazing to know that these souvenirs are as beautiful as they are meaningful and impactful.
It’s always nice to bring souvenirs back from the places you’ve travelled to, it’s a great way to keep memories from an adventures we’ve had. Obviously we are always buying magnets for a fridge... but then at some point we realised, that there is no better gift from a trip than (literally) a spirit of the place itself! It started with a simple bottle of wine from wineries that we visited in Italy or New Zealand. Then it evolved to local spirits - something a bit more unique than just wine. We already have in our little collection an 8848 vodka from the Himalayas, beer from the northernmost brewery in the world, amber ale from Hobbiton, whiskey from Scotland and Bombardino from Italian Alps! It really is the best souvenir as we are taking home something that was only made in that place!
My favourite travel souvenir is the alpaca scarf that I bought in Ecuador. I adore this scarf because it’s very soft and warm, which is perfect for the harsh Chicago winters. Alpaca products in general are very rare to find in the United States, so it makes it even more special for me to own a scarf like this. Another great souvenir I brought back from Ecuador is a drawstring bag with a beautiful tribal print design. This bag is very useful because it’s spacious and I can take it with me wherever I travel to in the future. The design is also very specific to the indigenous tribes in the Andes region, so it’ll be a constant reminder of my favorite trip. Overall, what I love most about my souvenirs is that the proceeds went directly to the community since they were purchased from small artisanal markets.
This necklace is something I was given when I participated in a free fitness workout offered by November Project when I was in San Francisco in 2018. It's a small item but the engraving of the Golden Gate Bridge on the wood pendant always brings back so many fun memories of my time spent in the City by the Bay. I loved that I was made to feel so welcome and accepted as part of this community workout and felt at home in a new city.
Books are some of our favourite souvenirs! We have two young daughters who like to pick out picture books during our travels; it’s fun to grow a collection of foreign and multilingual books for their library at home. This also means that we don’t have to pack as many books for the girls because we know we’ll collect them during our trip. Our toddler still loves Íslensku Dýrin, a book of farm animals from Iceland (even if she doesn’t necessarily remember our trip there because she was so young!) I like to read fiction and nonfiction books about our travel destinations (and by native authors) when we travel— it helps build some background knowledge about our destination and is also a fun reminder of our trip when I see it on our bookshelves at home.
Ali and Gabi
Since we travel full time as a backpacking couple, we need to travel very light. Our trips have already brought us to Africa, Europe and currently we are in South America… everywhere with our 7 kilos backpacks, nothing more! Yet, there is something we are completely addicted to and certainly cannot avoid buying: MAGNETS! This passion started when we worked on cruise ships: our cabins were made of iron so it was normal to collect magnets in order to make the space more colourful and beautiful. Nowadays, in our travels, we always find a space in our backpacks for the most creative ones. Nevertheless, we buy them with a final purpose: when we will find our place in the world and stop there to live, we will place them all in a giant world map made of iron on our house wall, hoping we won’t miss any places!
When people think about East Germany, it’s usually “the Wall” or Stasi. But not everything in the East was gloomy, and on my last trip, I bought my very own Sandmännchen (Sandman). Every evening at 6:50pm, a sweet little puppet in a red jacket and red peaked cap come on the TV and share adventures with the children of East Germany (and some from the West who could grab the signal). At 7pm promptly the show would end, and he would send children to bed. And they went! The West had their own version of the Sandmännchen, but he was never as popular. This little guy from the DDR was one of the few things that people “kept” after the Wall came down. Today, he watches over my living room and reminds me that even in dark times, there is light.
At the end of every year, one of my favourite things to do is decorate our tree with ornaments from around the world. Some of them are “normal” ball ornaments, but many of them are not. Santa can be relaxing on the beach with a sand castle or climbing Mt. Vesuvius. Some of the ornaments are icons (like the Eiffel Tower), or a map of a destination, or just a trinket that I attached some ribbon to in order to make my own ornament from somewhere special (a small penguin from Antarctica). Each ornament tells a story so decorating the tree brings up magical memories at the end of the year.
What has been your favourite travel souvenir? Let us know below!