Shopping for Souvenirs

Posted by nancymueller
Posted on May 19, 2011
Tagged in , , , , , , , ,

At this stage of our lives, we Boomers are ready to pare down our possessions and get rid of the clutter taking up space in our basements and garages, aren’t we? We’re ready to be footloose and fancy free and don’t want to be weighed down by stuff we don’t need.

But does this mean we have to give up shopping for souvenirs in our travels? Of course not! In my travels, I look for small treasures to bring back home that evoke the local culture or that will remind me of my wandering experience. While the souvenirs have little monetary value, they are the touchstones of my travel memories.

Take the rectangular mother of pearl jewelry box that I found at Khan el-Kalili, Cairo’s beautiful, colossal bazaar, for instance. Whenever I open the lid, I see the prayer beads I keep inside. Though their sandalwood scent has long since faded, if I close my eyes, I can still hear the Moslem call of the faithful, as I heard it during my stay 5 times a day.

Then there’s my keepsake Egyptian papyrus of the three musicians, a replica of the scene found in the tomb of Nakht in Thebes. The female musicians traditionally entertained guests at banquets, reminding me of the exceptionally warm hospitality I, too, experienced as a guest in Egypt.

From my travels in Brazil, I have the music of the much-loved duo, Toquinho and Vinicius, as well as these iridescent butterflies whose vivid colors were unlike anything I had seen elsewhere.

What about you? What mementos have you brought home from your travels that have special meaning for you?


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16 responses to “Shopping for Souvenirs”

  1. Found you on She Writes. What a fantastic blog. I look forward to exploring.

  2. aig63 says:

    My husband gave me 30 minutes to shop at the market when in Firenze last year (I know! How cruel!). The Murano glass necklace I found always draws compliments… yet I think I paid $10 for it :)

    • nancymueller says:

      Hi, Astra! Only 30 min.?? Such a cruel taskmaster indeed! But I’m glad you found something you love. The fact that it was so inexpensive makes the deal that much sweeter.

  3. Ashley says:

    I got a loaf of bread shaped like an alligator… Shellacked it and kept it for years but finally had to let it go

    • nancymueller says:

      Hi, Ashley! That’s a first for me :-). I have to ask where you purchased it. In the U.S.? Yes, then there are those mementos that we shed eventually. I had a necklace made of sandalwood pods from Egypt. I loved the scent and kept it until the pods finally lost their scent and shriveled up.

  4. pamperspakhlava says:

    The delft trivets I made at a Dutch tile factory when I was studying abroad, the sweet dress with the handwoven sheep that I got in Armenia for our adoptive daughter (who is still there but we continue to hope) to wear for her (now passed by) first birthday…

    …and my husband got a (faux) yak hat when we were in Tibet!

    • nancymueller says:

      Lovely sentiments, Beth. And your daughter will know how much she was loved when you tell her your story about purchasing that sweet dress.

  5. I have to admit after years of collecting, I have mostly given it up. I still buy a refridgerator magnet for every country I visit. They take up less room but bring back just as many memories…

    • nancymueller says:

      I know exactly what you mean. At this stage in my life, I’m trying to get rid of stuff, not collect more things to dust. Art (usually prints) and music remain my constants. And if there’s any chocolate – all in the name of travel research, of course – I’m on it!

  6. Muriel says:

    Thanks for your comment on my site. I love your post. I try to buy a necklace everywhere I go. When I wear it, it reminds me of my holidays…

    • nancymueller says:

      Hi, Muriel! I love your idea because a necklace is wearable art that doesn’t take up a lot of space.

  7. Leah says:

    Hi Nancy. Thanks so much for visiting my blog and the great recommendations for books. I loved The Help, so I am going to check out the one you recommended. I too loved The Kite Runner and Water for Elephants. There are so many more I haven’t even written up. I’m always up for a good recommendation. Send me a connection request on Goodreads when you’re all set so we can stay in touch!

  8. Brenda says:

    As dumb as it sounds, and even though I take tons of photos, I like to buy post cards, but what I look for, is jewelry by local artists. I am wearing a pair of earrings right not that I bought in Santorini. I remember the exact place I was standing when I found them, and the conversation I had with the artist who made them. I put them on right in her shop and after paying I left the shop only to stand in front of her shop looking at my reflection in her store front window… Oh, how I wish I was there now.. Love Greece.

    • nancymueller says:

      I can’t believe that I haven’t been to Greece yet! Your post makes me want to book a flight there today. Sigh . . Thanks for sharing your souvenir memories, Brenda!

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