Charm Bracelet – Ariel
When I was little my grandma had a charm bracelet, the old-school kind with little charms dangling off. A little rickshaw from south-east Asia, a tiny windmill from Holland… So when for one of my birthdays my parents got me a charm bracelet with a few charms and when I travel it is one of the first things I look for. It is not always easy to find as different types of charm bracelets come on the market – like the Pandora style – but eventually I’m always able to find what I’m looking for. I have a tiny Eiffel Tower, a Windmill and a wooden shoe from Holland, a gecko from the Grand Canyon, Mickey Mouse from Disney World, a Kiwi from New Zealand and so many more… The best part? They’re so small you can zip them into your change pocket in your wallet.
Shot Glasses/Coffee Mugs – Jaimie
Less sentimental than the beautiful charms Ariel collects but no one can ever have too many shot glasses or coffee mugs in my opinion. This is like a standard souvenir. Widely available. Seriously you can get them everywhere! And what better way to reminisce about a past trip than over coffee or tequila shots with your best friends?
Something native to the area – Jaimie
If I’m not picking up a shot glass, I’m grabbing something that is special to the place I’m visiting. Dublin… stolen guinness pint glass from the Auld Dubliner (sorry)! Olive oil from Croatia. Coasters made of sandstone from the Grand Canyon. Hello kitty everything from Japan.
Kangaroo Jerky merino wool from Australia. These kinds of souvenirs are such treasured keepsakes to me and are such nice reminders of my time spent in those places.
Friendship Bracelets – Evie
Ever since I was a young girl, I liked those old school, cheap as chips, friendship bracelets. I used to make them with friends and covertly wear them to school under my blazer (where no jewelry was allowed). I then worked on a fresh food counter throughout school and uni where no jewelry was allowed either. I think that led me to like the idea of this little piece of semi-permanence on my wrist, when I was on vacation or travelling. I liked the idea that I could keep it on all the time and was truly on vacation. That led me to collecting bracelets from the different cities and countries I’d visited. Before I went to Japan, I asked all my close friends to get me a cotton, thread bracelet too. During lunch times, my students were always fascinated by the brightly coloured strands that adorned me wrist. They were fascinated by idea that they were from a vast array of countries (my friends had picked them up from various places before giving them to me, from South Africa to the South of France). My friends and family would send me new ones in the post from the different places they had been until I had quite the collection. Don’t get me wrong, I know that some of those little bracelets are unique to their area but many are now mass-produced. But still, to me, they were a cheap momento and memory. My record was an anklet that I brought the first time I was in Japan in 2008. It lasted until I moved there in 2012. It was barely more than a scraggily bit of string by the end, but I still mourned it when it just disappeared off my ankle one day, the final string giving way.
I have a mason jar back in the UK full of bracelets I’ve brought or been given along the way. The early ones survived as I had to cut them off on my return to the real world. But there are many more little memories that have dropped off when the string got weak. This post has actually made me quite sad to look at my bare, professional wrist with just a smart watch on it….maybe I should start that collection back up…?
Shot Glasses – Kait
Like Jaimie, I am a big advocate for the shot glass collection. They are super easy to find when travelling, small enough to stow away in your baggage without taking up lots of room, and are extremely useful in and around the house as well as being absolutely adorable. I’ve picked up a shot glass from almost everywhere I’ve been (with the exception of a few places – Brighton, Miami & Nassau, I will be back for you!). While my shot glass collection is starting to grow a bit out of control, it is always nice to have lots of shot glasses around for a party, and they are an excellent conversation starter when you start handing them out.