I can never leave a place behind without getting some kind of souvenir or object to help remember the trip by. While I’ve picked up plenty of the typical t-shirts and key chains, I’ve been trying to find things that have a little bit more meaning. I want them to hold memories instead of being something I just show off to say that I’ve been there. Here are my five favorites and the memories behind them.
Even though some of my friends definitely thought this was kind of an odd thing to bring home, apparently sand collecting is an actual hobby! For me, it isn’t really about assembling a collection. It’s more about the memories that each container holds.
I collect sand and usually some seashells or other things I find in little jars for every beach I go to. I started when I was a little girl and my parents took me to the beach for the first time. We lived in a landlocked state, so my first time at the beach was a magical experience for me. I kept it up as I got older and started traveling more.
I love looking at the differences between both the sand in each place, as well as the unique jars I find to hold it. The jars bring a little bit of the culture, and the sand just takes me back to enjoying each beach I’ve gotten to travel to.
I love jewelry, especially rings, and I try to find different pieces wherever I go. Even if I’m traveling in the states, I always look for the little artisan shops or markets in hopes that I can find something that I wouldn’t find mass-produced in a store.
The ring I got from Ireland is one of my favorites, and one of the few pieces that I wear every day. I love Celtic symbols, but too many of them are overused, not to mention you can get them just about anywhere. The ring I got might not look as perfect as any of the ones I’d find in America, but I know it was made by a couple in their small home and that’s what matters to me.
I stayed in that small shop for what seemed like hours, talking with the couple and listening to their story. It’s hard for them to compete with a lot of the gift shops, but locals know that their pieces are high quality and very unique. I’m so glad that I stumbled into their shop and hope to visit them again.
An African Mask
Traditional African masks have so much meaning behind them. Different ones were used for different rituals and purposes. The detail in them is striking, and they’re some of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. Though they aren’t as common anymore in actual rituals, they’re still made and considered beautiful art for people around the world.
I was able to get one that was considered a protector. I got to meet the artist that made it and that was so special. It’s a gorgeous piece and it hangs beside my bed, making me feel at ease.
A Turkish Rug
Detailed rugs are obviously gorgeous, but it’s the symbolism in them that really made me want one. I chose a smaller one that is traditionally used for prayer. It is patterned with an eye, which is said to be used to ward off evil. The eye is considered one of the most powerful symbols to have on the rugs, as the people believe that all good or bad comes through the eyes. I guess it appears that I have a thing for protection. Between this rug and my mask, I hope to be safe from negativity for quite some time! Fingers crossed.
This is definitely for my international traveling. I like comparing the different coins and bills to the ones at home. Though it’s a little tricky when a lot of countries in Europe use the Euro, I’ve managed to bring home some pretty great stuff.
I think you can learn a lot about a country by who or what they consider important enough to place on their currency. There are often cultural symbols, important figures and monuments that can tell an interesting story. Every place is unique and I can conjure up a memory just by looking at a bill or coin. Pretty powerful stuff!
I’m so glad that I have these items, and the money I spent was totally worth it. Go off the beaten path and try to avoid getting yourself the classic, tourist shop gifts and find something truly unique to take home. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate or complicated, just a sample of something to help remind yourself how amazing the trip was. The memories behind some of these items might end up highlighting some of the most crucial and important times of your life!