Goodies or memories—Long live the souvenir!

For some it’s a piece of soul they bring back, for some it’s attractive objects, but in any case, the little trinkets are stories in themselves. Five women travellers share what goes into their memory bag:

Excuse me, no space for objects

Luzel Opperman from Beginning to Wander collects smiles
Why I do not collect souvenirs. I used to when I was much younger, but after having moved countries six times in my life, it is hard to keep track of where I put my things. It has also given me a different perspective on what a souvenir is. I guess I do actually collect souvenirs, but they aren’t physical. They come in the form of new friendships, new smells of a location, tastes, sights and so on. All things I can’t put in my suitcase and take back with me. All things that can’t collect dust, only collect the smile on my face each time I think about it.

What sticks on the fridgeOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Lena from The Social Travel Experiment says magnets remind her of adventures
When Taka was traveling around Europe for one month, he brought back a souvenir from Turkey–a magnet in the shape of a beer opener. Ironic really, because the Japanese usually don’t drink beer out of bottles, rather they drink from cans. The magnet now decorates our fridge and over the years has found some friends. Other magnets from other places. Places we have visited together like Phuket in Thailand and Da Nang in Vietnam. Magnets are the perfect souvenir. They don’t take up much space in your luggage and you can all collect them at home in one place, and see them every day, being reminded of the adventures you had.

The writer’s companion
pensCourtney Konigshofer from The Travels That Make Me takes all the pens she finds in the hotels

Being homeless means that buying souvenirs for me is impractical. Don’t worry I am homeless by choice. My name is on no leases or bills and I like it that way. So when I travel I enjoy window-shopping. Envisioning what an exotic keepsake, painting or clay bowl from my travels might look like in my imaginary house, but since it is not real, I opt out of the temptation. Instead, I like to collect the pens from the hotels I stay in. This isn’t so much an emotional collection as it is a practical one. It also goes hand in hand with my obsession with taking all useful toiletries up for grabs, but those tend not to last as long as the pens. Pens are useful. How many times have you needed a pen to fill out an arrival card on a plane? How many times have you wanted to write down something that happened to blog about later? These things happen to me all the time and so I take the pens, I take all the pens.

Autograph, please!Travel Bee - my travel companion cum souvenir book
Aditi Shukla from Lyf&Spice likes boarding passes, tickets, bills and signatures

To me, a travel souvenir is a beautiful episode etched in my memory! The case was different earlier when I bought magnets and show-pieces. As I started travelling extensively, the enthusiasm died down for many reasons: I’d rather make memories and watch the sunset and I’m living out of a hotel and there’s only little that can be done with the space. What I do collect are boarding passes, tickets, bills from a favourite diner, and take signatures of the people I travel with. This goes into my travel diary, my ‘Travel Bee’ (given by Mom-Dad) as we go buzzing around the world together. Off I go, to another destination, ready to imprint memories and unfurl dreams as I fly…

What’s the USP?

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Ambica Gulati tries to find the object that she can closely associate with the place

Rajasthan seems to have become my most travelled state in India. Here, colours, sand and sun reign. The sun travels across the globe, the sand I didn’t bring back and the colours come back in multiple objects. I have bought juttis, bangles, bandhini dupattas, block-print suits, gem-stone studded jewellery, even silver plates, glasses and bowls. But recently, I found all colours in one place—on a handmade postcard. A replica of the Indian postcard, this was on old parchment paper, and painted with hand by artist Gopal Soni in Bundi, which is among the lesser visited towns in Rajasthan. Coming from a family of artists, Soni has been painting for as long as he can remember, which would be about 40 years. Last year he was also invited to be a part of an annual art residency programme, Chitrashala, which is organised by Justa Hotels at Lake Nahargarh Palace. He uses natural colours and makes posters and more.



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