I am one of those travelers that likes to collect souvenirs down the road. For me souvenirs are reminders of all the places I have been. It is always a sport to find something non-touristic that evokes a special memory. In the past few years I managed to collect little matroesjka dolls from Ukraine, a little bull from Barcelona, tribal masks from Borneo, a reindeer skin from the sami in Lapland and recently a Buddha from Bali. (I know, some of these items are still very aimed at tourists, but hey, I try, and remember if you bring a buddha statue, try not to show it tot he airport security since it is technically illegal to export any kind of images of Buddha).
Next to making good memories those souvenirs make a great decoration for your house or apartment and add an interesting international flair to it. Unfortunately these souvenirs do not necessarily go together with a life from the suitcase as you can imagine. I by now had collected quite a collection and was in need of a solution since my parents are getting slightly mad due to all my junk they need to store at their place, sorry Mum and Dad. The solution came in the form of a present. I received a bracelet with a little bangle also known as Trollbeads or the more commonly known brand Pandora. I really love this bracelet since it gives me the opportunity to buy a little souvenir in every location (they have typical subjects for the different countries).
For example the last bead that I bought was just today in Stockholm. It is in the shape of a little coffee cup standing for the famous Swedish “Fika”. Fika is a cultural experience in Sweden which basically involves coffee and sweets with friends. For me this was the ideal representation of Sweden; fika time with colleagues or with friends. Proper Swedish culture dictates 2 fika moments a day; 10 in the morning and 3 in the afternoon. Next to very strong black coffee (big fan!) kanelbullar (even bigger fan) are standard items in a good fika session.
I have similar memories with a bead which I bought in Laos, which is a small silver elephant. Elephants are the national symbol of Laos, each time I see the bead I envision myself being back on that market.
So I guess the point of my story is that even though I stopped buying cool stuff for my future house I managed to find a way to keep up with my tradition of souvenirs, but in a slightly more manageable way. With each city the memories around my arm grow, memories I will never forget. So the question is, does anybody else have a good way to keep up with your memories?