Beauty in the Eye of the Beholder :: Travel Keepsakes

toffeemickeylongchamp bagsbeaded chinese braceletsllama sockskenya bracelet What are your favourite travel keepsakes? When I think about keepsakes I've purchased while traveling, a few come to mind: some ridiculous, some fabulous. The few I remember that aren't weird chotchkies or dust-collecting trinkets, are cherished items I actually use. They are authentic, sentimental and functional (to me), and a good reminder to only acquire travel trinkets with meaning vs matter.

Toffee on a Ferry I was 3, maybe 4. One of the first items "I" purchased while on vacation is no longer in my possession, but in my heart.   Each summer, every time my family would take a trip involving a ferry, I'd always get a Macintosh toffee bar in the onboard gift shop.  To this day, I can never board a ferry without craving toffee.

Mickey Hat at Disneyland It was grade 4. Disneyland was exotic. Wanting to commemorate the experience, I chose a bright blue mickey mouse hat (with mini mickey heads dotting the blue cap). My sister and I wore the same hat for many of our younger years.  Sadly, I just learned this hat was sent to a "better place." Sniff, sniff.

Beaded Chinese Bracelets in China I think the brown elastic stringing each bracelet together is about to break a) because I wear them a lot, b) because they are 9 years old, and c) because I got them in a night market in Hong Kong.   Either way, I will wear this beaded "arm candy" forever because they are me at least.

Longchamp Bag(s) in Switzerland I remember being dazzled by all the French and Swiss girls' Longchamp Pliage bags the first time I was in Europe. I had to have one. Thankfully they were semi-affordable and not in the LV or Fendi range. I think my Great Aunt actually bought one for me.  Trading up, the next time I returned to Europe I purchased a larger bag (which I carried for years and still occasionally use), and the most recent time yet another bigger one. I'm done.  For now.  Go figure, people are now wearing them in North America.

Llama Socks in Peru My bright green llama socks from Peru are comfortable, warm, non-'scratchy' and durable. Most importantly, every time I wear them---which is a lot since I always have cold feet---I think of the amazing two weeks I spent in Lima, Cusco and trekking up to Macchu Picchu.

Painted Bone Bracelet in Kenya My trip to Kenya a few months ago was epic.  Like getting a disneyland hat in grade 4, I wanted something physical to remind me of a trip that flooded my eyes with tears of joy as I landed on a dirt runway in the middle of the Masai Mara. Going home with nothing was simply out of the question, so I chose a painted bone bracelet.   Every time I wear it I think of elephants, lions, rhinos, a baboon almost sneaking into my canvas tent, mango juice, new friends, old friends, land cruisers and "Jambo" ("welcome" in Swahili).