A word about souvenirs (or why you should stop buying fridge magnets)

How people choose to remember their travels always interests me.

When I write interests me I mean, gives me something to laugh at.

Next time you visit a well-travelled friend see how many of the following you can spot:

  • photos – either online (slide show time!) or for the more serious amateur photographer, printed out and displayed on every available surface or wall
  • deliberately kitsch collections – fridge magnets, shot glasses, bottle openers, snow globes
  • local handicrafts – usually shoddy wooden carvings with a tedious myth attached to them. Bonus points if the proceeds of the purchase funded a worthy cause
  • free stuff that apparently has sentimental meaning far beyond its value – shells, beer mats, condom wrappers (maybe)

    “Vintage caviar tins totally help me remember my time in Russia.”

As well as being a pisstaker, I am also a massive hypocrite.

I collect all sorts of tat including:

  • pebbles – I used to have a jar of stones. I chucked them in the garden when I realised that I didn’t know where most of them were from
  • postcards – I buy a postcard instead of spending ages trying to take the perfect photo
  • ‘little things’ – this was to stop me buying ‘big things’. All rubbish irrespective of size
  • coins and notes in small denominations – I am the proud owner of a 200 dong note. Get in
  • tickets, receipts, boarding passes – I am archiving my life as I go along. This stuff is going to be chucked away when I die, not put in a museum
  • bottle tops – This collection says ‘I’m fun and drink beer’
  • badges – I haven’t worn a badge since 2007
  • maps and propaganda posters – I just like them
  • black and white pictures – I’ve been back in the UK for 5 years now. None of the pictures are framed
Oh how I wish this collection was mine
Oh how I wish this collection was mine

Although none of these things are expensive or big they weigh me down.

Souvenirs mean I have more stuff to tidy and clean. Time I could spend travelling (or at least planning my next trip).

I spend time and money hunting out the perfect keepsake when really I should be gallivanting around having fun.

These things don’t help me remember my travels. Sitting down quietly and having a think or chatting to friends would be much better.

Ideally I’d like to get down to 1 collection but at the moment I can’t choose which one I love the most…

How do you remember your travels?

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