The Souvenir Dilemma

Dong Xi’s, Choch-Keys, junk, Dust collectors, trophies…whatever you call them… they are the items that you bring home as little mementos of your travels. The tradition is as old as time: Romans picked up Egyptian Obelisks…Greeks a golden fleece…hundreds of US midwesterns….I heart (insert town). Souvenierring is a time honored tradition. One of my favorites is exhibited above. My prized Whirling Dervish! My wife keeps hiding it as he continues to show up on various “highly visible”-her words not mine– places. I cherish my dervish. It really spins! I remember the tiny shop in the Grand Bazaar of Istanbul where I discover this treasure. Tucked way back in vast dark passageways, was this little family selling metal wares. I tried a little Turkish, they a lot better English, and the result was an emigrating Dervish (and a lighter wallet).

Why do we do it? Why must we bring a piece of our travels home? Do we worry that we will forget the sights sounds and smells of _________? I really think so. I think that in our soul, we hope that one day when time creates a great chasm between the now and then, we will find the Dervish and it will bring a smile and a rush of memories to mind.

Sometimes these items represent a victorious negotiation. Perhaps a memorable shopkeeper or locale? Not sure some items will qualify…my I heart NY t-shirt never really spans the distance like my Dervish.

What is your favorite item? What reminds you of your adventure?

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4 Responses to The Souvenir Dilemma

  1. Tom Volpe May 17, 2010 at 5:28 am #

    One of my favourite souvenirs is also quite practical, I love my CKA St Petersburg scarf that I picked up at an ice hockey game. It has brought me a lot more enjoyment that the Thai wall-hanging that I discovered was stuffed with seeds when I arrived at Australian customs. That was nearly an expensive mistake!

  2. Leah May 27, 2010 at 10:52 am #

    I bought a turkish rug…you know, magic carpet? It was 20 years ago and I remember the experience like it was yesterday. I still have the rug, it has moved around a lot and now resides at my sister’s house. Last year I tried to bundle it up and bring it back to Italy but my luggage was overstuffed from 2 months in Canada and it was just not possible! I still buy trinkets now and then but much smaller ones now : )

  3. The Working Traveller May 30, 2010 at 1:37 pm #

    In Peru, I bought a pair of sandals made out of tyres for about 60p. I’m wearing them now, 8 years later. As I have a reputation with my girlfriend for spending too much money I do enjoy pointing to them and simply saying “60p”. My arguement is somewhat undermined if my much more expensive, broken blowpipe is within view.

  4. Lorna - the roamantics January 26, 2011 at 2:25 am #

    as far as chotchkies go, your dervish is pretty damn cool. i’m generally pretty good(?) about not bringing stuff home i think, but i do have a brass coil (just a single) from my research with kayan women :)

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