One of the most fun parts of travel is finding the perfect souvenir. The souvenir aspect of travel is enjoyable twice. It is great to look for the perfect keepsake on vacation, and then it is nice to place it in your room and remember the great memories from travel. Runaway Juno describes how souvenirs help create her own world in her room.
Souvenirs are great, but there is a limit to their utility. They are normally only remembrances of a travel experience that lay in strategic spots in the home to take the owner back to a more nomadic time in their life. Outside of their power to conjure images of past times, they are mere trinkets and only important to the individual holder.
However, this is not always the case. There are a couple of souvenirs that I have purchased that I use almost every day. This usefulness increases their strength as a reminder of the travel time in the past. Every time I use the memento I am taken back in time to when I bought it.
The first item was a change purse I bought in Chiang Mai, Thailand. I was on an elephant ride, hike, bamboo river raft, and Karen village tour. During the river tour there was a Karen villager selling these cute little change purses with an elephant stitched on the front. The top of the purse has a zipper. I think I bought it for around 50 cents.
I wait tables at a Chinese/Thai restaurant in Chicago and two things we need on us while working is change and a lighter. The change is for making change obviously and the lighter is for lighting candles on cakes when guests come into celebrate their birthday. I use this purse to keep change and a lighter.
Five years later, the purse is starting to tear a bit, but the zipper is still in good shape. I will need to return to Thailand and get another one when it finally breaks down.
The second item comes from the Philippines. I was traveling to the famed Bataad Rice Terraces. I had taken a cyclo from Banaue and that took me to the base of a mountain. I had to walk over the mountain and down into a valley to make it to the rice terraces of Bataad.
On the trail down to Bataad there was a lady selling items the locals had made. The goods consisted of wood carved figurines and hand woven crafts. I bought a beautiful orange hand woven guitar string/camera. It still wraps around my guitar to this day. In fact, as soon as I complete this post I will strap it on and annoy my neighbors. When I do I will momentarily think about the Philippines.
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