When travelling you are constantly plagued with the big question – what should I bring home? Everyone wants more than just pictures, you want an actual physical memento of your travels. When I started travelling I was plagued with the same question, what do I want to collect? I didn’t want the typical postcards, or money or coins. I wanted something that represented me and was common enough that I could find it wherever I went.
The idea came to me while I was editing photos : Statues. Okay not like an actual statue but a figurine. I noticed that a common theme in most of photos, were to photograph monuments and statues. I am awed by them, the detail it takes, the patience, the story behind each one. So I knew that would be my travel idea, so in 20 years I can look back and remember each place I have been.
Now I don’t buy just any old figurine, I try to get one that is a symbol of the city or made with something native to the land. Below are some of my favorite!
Costa Rica what a beautiful country, truly a gem and one of my favorites. Something I learned about the country is that beside friendly natives, they specialize in a lot of different carvings. Each market I wandered through had some type of wood crafted item and they were amazing. So while wandering a street market I came across the coolest thing. A sloth that was carved out of wood, and the sloth is a very important animal to Costa Ricans. I had also seen my fair share of the animal and knew that it was a keeper. It was something that had significant meaning to me, it was small and easy to travel with and would look great in my collection.
Budapest was such a beautiful city I had high hopes of finding something equally as beautiful to take home. However I had the hardest time in this city then anywhere else finding something. I looked at markets and found some things I liked, but they were impractical to travel with such as glass, or way overpriced. Finally on my last day I was walking through the streets and went into a small store hoping to find something. I came across the most perfect thing! It was a a hand carved Budapest doll with two small hand carved pots. They were perfect, in Budapest dolls are a huge part of the culture. It took me a while to find the perfect thing, but I was so glad I waited until I found something I loved.
Prague, Czech Republic
Finding my souvenir in Prague was actually super easy, I found it my first day by accident. I was looking for a mini mart that sold water, and walked into a souvenir shop (which I typically avoid). I was about to walk out but to my right were rows and rows of figurines and mini statues. I had to take a look and I found a great replica of the Charles Bridge and knew that was it. I fell in love with the Charles Bridge my first day exploring the city and was glad to have a mini version to take home with me.
I have to say I think I felt the most pressure to find something perfect in Transylvania. I am a huge Sci-Fi and nerd lover and wanted something that was tasteful but had a nod to Dracula. I really felt the pressure because I only had one day to find something and there weren’t too many stops to choose from. However after I was leaving the Castle, I was running late to meet my tour group but still didn’t have a memento. I knew I had to look at one more gift shop and I am so glad I did. I stumbled across a replica of Dracula Castle with Dracula (aka Vlad the Impaler) face carved in the side of the mountain. To say it was perfect would be an understatement. It is one of my favorite pieces I have at home!
Vienna the city of the arts, I knew I would have to find something good. While in Vienna, I noticed that most of the figurines I liked were very expensive (my mom always said I had expensive taste) and I was at the end of my trip so money was tight. I knew I had to keep looking and something great would come up. Luckily I found a little figurine of the palace of Vienna and knew it would be perfect. I had just attend the New Years Eve Ball in the Palace and having a replica to remind me of my Cinderella moment was too perfect.
Now little confusion I have never been to Thailand before, its on my list though. My best friend had gone and she knew about my obsession with collecting figurines. So she brought me back an elephant, not only is it one of my favorite animals but it is a huge part of Thailand. It was so beautiful and carved in such detail and means even more because it was a gift from a fellow wandering soul.
Look at this stuff, isn’t it neat? Wouldn’t you think my collection’s complete?
Okay Disney moment over, but every time I add something to my collection that song plays in my head! Just remember souvenirs don’t have to be boring, or cliche. Find something that speaks to you and a stick with it. Its so much fun for me in each city to search out the perfect addition to my collection.
Keep a wandering spirit my friends and thanks for following along!