If you haven’t noticed, I am on a traveling kick recently. I often think of my life in terms of what trip I am planning, what trip I am on, or what trip I have just gotten back from. I am definitely not bragging as I owe it all to my amazing travel agent @dynamitetravel (a fellow Gator lezzie) and payment plans.
I have been trying to rack my brain to think of my new “adult” go-to souvenir. When I was a college student, any time I would go somewhere I would come home with a shot glass. Be it another country, another state, or even another city, I had a shot glass to commemorate the trip. It was cool, it was fun…. and it was cheap. Most of the time you can grab a $5 one while sitting in the airport. Unfortunately, over the years of moving, and partying (don’t judge me), my shot glass collection did not stand the test of time.
So then I moved on to postcards in my mid-twenties. Thanks to Martha Stewart I was on a scrapbooking kick so they were perfect. I could use them as a accent piece for a photo I shot, or cut them up to make a trip collage. I still have some postcards in my scrapbooking box that I would love to do something with. Why haven’t I? Blame Facebook and Instagram for that.
And while I am all about keychains and t-shirts as souvenir gifts, I am not really keen on them for myself. Coffee mugs are just something more for me to clean and beanie babies had their heyday in the 90s. So what are my favorite options now? I have three.
I be drankin’ mamajauna
Every locality has their signature drink and I intend to
drink bring them home. In reality, finding out where to get them is part of the fun. When the girls and I went to DR in February I was on the hunt for Mamajauna. Mamajauna is a drink made from rum (Brugal of course), red wine and honey that is soaked in a bottle (for at least a week) of tree bark and herbs. We saw premade bottles of it everywhere, from the airport to the resort. But I wanted the REAL DEAL HOLYFIELD. Boy did I get it. With the help of our driver, we found a guy selling the herb filled bottles out of a trash can on a back road. Doesn’t get much realer than that, does it?
Liquor is also nice to give as a gift. While visiting Port-au-Prince , I was on the hunt for Barbancourt and Cremas. I didn’t bring a checked bag on that trip (I’m a packing ninja) so I had to purchase them from the duty free shop at the airport. While making my purchases, I found a perfect gift for my co-workers, mini bottles of Barbancourt by the case. I gave out the 12 small bottles when I arrived Monday morning, should be good for some office cred until my next trip.
In this day and age of swipe this, swipe that, it’s easy to forget that currency was once seen as a work of art. The first thing I usually do when landing is exchange my US green into international pinks, purples and oranges. While by the end of trip, between shopping and dining, I have very few cash left I always try to save a little to bring home. Here’s the thing, they are nice to look at but umm… then what?
Sidenote: If you don’t know what C.R.E.A.M. stands for, you might need to reevaluate your life.
Stick it to Me
On my last trip to Haiti with Fleur de Vie, one of the fellow volunteers Pam helped me have my souvenir ah-ha moment. She collects refrigerator magnets. And like me, she doesn’t want the generic ones you can find at the airport, she likes the ones you buy from the locals. I was on board especially because I don’t have to maintain them to appreciate them. By maintain, I totally mean rinse dried Mamajauna out of them.
Here is the best thing, they give me a way to showcase my saved money. I even bought magnetic circles for the coins I had collected and made them instant refrigerator magnets as well. Let’s see how long it takes me to wallpaper my whole fridge.
Whatcha think? What souvenirs do you collect?