It’s an age old ritual – go on a trip, buy a souvenir! We buy them as gifts for others… as in “Look where I was lucky enough to go, and yet smart enough not to take you!” :-). We buy them for ourselves to remind us of special places and special times in our lives… “Remember how happy we were when we were there?”.
It’s only natural to want to return from your travels with a little something extra. Ever since Marco Polo came home with all those awesome spices, scouting for meaningful and exotic souvenirs has been an important aspect of many travelers’ agendas. But not all souvenir shoppers are created equal… below are some of our favourites:
These travelers are coming home loaded down with exotic items like Applewood Smoked Sea Salt from Paris, Wild Hibiscus Flowers in Syrup from Sydney, and Extra Virgin Blood Orange Olive Oil from San Francisco. Try to get in on the guest list for their dinner parties. You may even get to enjoy a steaming cup of Kopi Luwak coffee after your gourmet meal (you know, the most expensive coffee in the world where the bean is hand-picked from the poop of civet cats). Refill anyone?
These shoppers want their souvenir artisanal treasures fully steeped in legitimate sauce. If they can’t watch it being made by hand, learn the whole process, and have a chin-wag with the artisan themselves, it’s just not going to be good enough. Watch out for the scratchy Himalayan yak wool sweater (twice-dipped in yeti tears!) coming your way this Christmas.
This souvenir shopper has a T-shirt, hoodie or ball cap for every city they’ve been to, every monument or point of interest they’ve visited, and every activity they have ever participated in. There can be a real authenticity question here though as I bought my favorite Paris t-shirt in Argentina, where I saw more New York paraphernalia than I saw in New York City. And some of those people sporting marathon race completion t-shirts. Really? I don’t think so.
Being inspired to bring back all the Asian souvenirs possible, this yogi/shopper then has to feng shiu their whole living space to uber Zen standards. Chances are they also brought back a character tattoo that doesn’t exactly say what they think it does. Just like Britney did.
If you ask a crowd of people at an airport, train station or bus depot which of them have been on the road for longer than a month, those raising their hands will be 98.7% likely to have in excess of a dozen tattered souvenir “friendship” bracelets taking up substantial real estate between wrist and elbow. This is the souvenir of choice for the 18-25 year old set. According to tradition, you tie the bracelet onto the wrist of a friend who makes a wish at that moment AND the bracelet must be worn until it falls off for the wish to come true. Apparently the quality of these bracelets needs to be downgraded substantially very soon.
For these travelers – shopping is the whole purpose of travel. With “destination malls” competing for highest square footage and largest number of retailers – you can be sure to find the exact same stores you frequent at home halfway around the world. Hordes of lovely traveling stiletto-d ladies and skinny jean hipster dudes can be seen flocking back to their hotels – weighed down by countless shopping bags sporting all the major labels. The only thing this trend tells me is that I now am required to seriously overpay for yoga pants in every major city in the world.
The quality and quantity of what this souvenir shopper buys is directly dependent on 2 key components. #1. How much time they have at the airport immediately prior to their return flight , and #2. How much foreign currency they have left. Thanks so much for the “I ♥ Greece” neck pillow bro.
This souvenir hound doesn’t spend a cent…. However, shelves in their home are filled with rocks, sand, bark, seashells and other collectibles that depict the routes of their travels. Are they truly lovers of all things in nature, or are they’re just really cheap?
The souvenirs these guys typically bring home are mostly of the scar tissue variety. Sometimes they leave personal souvenirs behind, like bloodstains.
Like the Naturalist and Danger/Adventure Dude, this traveler doesn’t pay directly for their souvenir… and in fact, sometimes they don’t even know they picked one up on their trip until quite some time later. Souvenirs falling into this category include intestinal parasites, gestating babies, bedbugs hitching a ride in your luggage and/or sexually transmitted diseases.