Racks of $5 T-shirts, Eiffel Tower boxer shorts, tacky mugs and other tchotchkes have given souvenirs a bad name, but most travelers still like to bring home some meaningful memento from a trip. It just takes a little hunting sometimes.
Most of my own favorite souvenirs are art objects, like a cerulean-colored clay pot made in Santa Fe and a delicately drawn painting purchased directly from the artist in Morocco. I also enjoy supporting local independent bookstores by picking up a novel or poetry anthology to read on the plane ride home.
Here at IndependentTraveler.com, we recently asked our Facebook readers to fill in the blank: “The best souvenir I’ve ever brought home is _________.”
We’d like to try out Nancy Stanley’s item, a “hand-carved chess set from Belarus.” Rugs seemed popular with our readers; Chris Hagen Straub brought one home from India, while Deborah Fortuna snagged one in Morocco. Meanwhile, Joshua Senzer went for the bling: “Colombian emeralds.”
Ron Buckles shared an experience from a trip to Europe: “While visiting Karlstejn (Czech Republic) there was an antique stop in the village. Hidden in a corner was an old cigar box with the Karlstejn Castle pictured on it. Price was $3.” A steal!
Some of our other readers brought home less tangible items. “I rarely buy any kind of souvenir,” wrote Jo Kula. “I usually keep bus tickets, train tickets and such. But I really love my pictures and putting them in frames.”
Trish Sayers keeps it simple — “great memories” — while Colleen R Costello likes to come home with “new friends and invitations that frequently lead to future trips.”
But it’s tough to top Carolyn Spencer Brown’s response: “My husband! We met while both traveling solo. In Naples!”
Souvenirs don’t get much better than that.
What’s the best thing you’ve brought home from your travels?
— written by Sarah Schlichter