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Written by Bhavika G on September 29, 2017 Share on

Best souvenir stories from across the world

“A thing that is kept as a reminder of a person, place, or event”

What do you remember from the last trip you took? Fleeting memories? Vivid moments? Pictures that fill up your gallery? Or that one bite of magic and ecstasy that you swore you could worship forever? Call it a keepsake, token, relic or a souvenir, we all like to bring back something tangible/intangible back from our travels. So here we are – :

Best souvenir stories from travellers across the world

The Utilitarian / Knick-knack types

  • Constanza Moncaglieri loves all things useful and rarely visits the souvenir shop. She confides,

“I like to buy things I actually use. When I went to india I bought a strainer to make masala chai. And I use it almost every day. I have flip flops from Brasil from a long time ago, a water bottle from Spain, a tumbler from London, and a Victorinox knife from Switzerland.

A swiss army knife

  • An avid connoisseur of all things Christmas, Linn Thingstad loves to bring back Christmas ornaments –

“My christmas tree is now filled every year with my travels and memories. I think my fave is a small glass ornament filled with sand from Barbados. My wooden ornaments from Prague is also beautiful.

Related: World’s best Christmas markets

  • Cindy Giammattei of Piccolo Explorer loves taking back a piece of the country/state/place she visits, especially children’s books by local authors. Her favourite being,

The book we picked up in Granada which is about flamenco dancers because it’s beautifully illustrated, has pop-ups and moving flaps for my son to interact with and it’s a great reminder of when we watched a flamenco show during that trip!

Children's book from Granada

Today, she has books from Spain, Hawaii, Indonesia, Prague, California, and Italy.

  • For Emily Burrus, a souvenir isn’t a grand memorabilia. It’s simple and even wearable!

I have a charm bracelet with a charm for every country I have visited. I also like to keep a travel journal with anything from ticket stubs to maps along with the daily download.

The multi-country charm bracelet


The artsy types

When in the beautiful Long Neck Karen Village in Chiang Mai, Thailand, Preethika Ganapathisubramanian of Passing Ports decided not take anything back. But fate had something else planned,

This lady came out of nowhere and suggested that I buy one of the wares she was selling. Her exact words: “Buy one from me, you will be reminded of this village every time you see it”. This was the first time someone had made a request like this, and to top it all, she promptly wore her headgear and suggested I take a pic of her as well.

Must read: The best Thailand itinerary for families

Woman in traditional dress of village in Chaing Mai

Since then, this has been one of her most prized souvenirs:

Corrinne Seals recalls feeling like she had just walked into a Wonderland when she walked into a lamp shop in  the Moroccan quarter in Granada, Spain. Who wouldn’t want to bring back home a feeling like that? So, she did too.

Every time I look at the lamp hanging above my dining table, I remember existing in the moment, as I carefully chose each of the five colored globes and the order in which they would hang, cascading down towards the floor.


 The one with stories

Sharelle Manser holds a jelly band above all. She recalls her volunteering days at The Born Free Foundation at the Amakhala nature reserve in South Africa.

This was a place involved in saving African animals around the world and giving them a “wild” home. They are animals that can never survive in the wild, but are given large wild enclosures to enjoy their time in. I got this while I was there and I wear it everywhere! Because it’s rubber, it doesn’t break, I can wear it to work. It says on it “Keep wildlife in the wild”.

Must read: Tips to get your first ever South African Safari right!

For Sachin Bhandary from Eccentrips, the mention of souvenir takes him back to that interesting Christmas day at Peru in 2015. A personal travel project which he used to call ‘The 12 Project’ and the desire to challenge himself mentally and physically took Sachin to Santo Tomas in Peru. And no, it wasn’t a tourist destination he intended to visit, he went there to participate in a fighting festival called Takanakuy. He recalls,

It was one of the most intense experiences I have had till date. Takanakuy is a fighting festival where men, children and women get inebriated and fight each other to settle scores, strengthen friendships or just display strength. I volunteered to a cheering-jeering crowd. After, what seemed like, the longest 30 seconds of my life, I left the place with a few bruises. I still have the blood stained shirt from that fight. For me, it’s objects like these that are unique to my experiences that make for a great mementos. Because mementos preserve memories that one day I hope to share with my children. And, who knows, their children too.

At Takanakuy the Peru Fighting Festival

One day when we grow old and weary, what story are you going to narrate? What prized memento are you going to use for show-and-tell? Let us know in the comments.


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