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best-souviners

If ever there was a time to get a severe case of wanderlust, I would imagine that right after having a baby is fairly common.  For me, it’s a little bit of cabin fever mixed with nearly a year without a (non-pregnant) vacation.  Aside from spending downtime aimlessly pricing out nonexistent flight plans or meandering through Kid & Coe and Air B&B, I’ve been enjoying using some of the gorgeous souvenirs that I’ve brought home from various trips.

With much luck and good souvenir purchases, happy travel memories can extend well beyond the actual time spent on vacation.  When I’m on a trip, I have several mementos that I specifically look out for so that I can enjoy facets of my travels throughout the year.  I aim for keepsakes that can exist well beyond the display shelves and have a regular place in day to day life.

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Ceramics

I am drawn to artsy ceramics all of the time, but especially on vacation.  A great little nut bowl, coffee mug, or vase is something that can be used throughout the year and always induces a smile.  I’ve talked before about how little treat bowls are one of my weaknesses and the only time I let myself indulge is as a souvenir. Usually, I buy things that are small and can be wrapped in bubble plastic and make the journey home.

Art

I love looking for unique paintings from street artists that can mesh well with my decor.  I try to stay away from buying prints or anything that isn’t one-of-a-kind.  If the piece is small enough, you can bring it home yourself, or you can use it as one of your carry-ons.  If it’s a large piece, ship it!  If I’ve learned anything, it’s that there are Fed-ex’s and UPS’s everywhere.  Also, a lot of shops will ship for a decent price or maybe free if you’re spending good dough on the piece.  I had a few things shipped from Italy last year for just $20.

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Textiles

I always think about ways that souvenirs can be used as home decor.  Last spring in Paris, I found some authentic mud cloth and thought it would make a beautiful throw pillow.  Not only did I get a fabulous piece for my home, but it was also a memorable memento from my trip.  Other items like blankets, tea towels, and tablecloths can be used in daily life and will always bring back memories.

Serving Pieces

One of my favorite things to buy when traveling are serving accessories.  I have cheese knives from France, an olive wood cutting board from Tuscany, and a salad bowl from India.  I love using these pieces when I entertain and sharing the story with friends.

Jewelry

Talk about wearable art! Jewelry makes a great souvenir when the piece is made in a way that is unique to the place being visited.  I’ve found that accessories that look like they could be purchased anywhere aren’t as heartwarming.

Food or Drink

Although food and drink are consumables and won’t last as long, a taste of your trip at home is such a treat… literally.  Maple syrup from Vermont, Gingerbread cookies from Germany, Blueberry preserves from Maine, Champagne from, well, Champagne…  You get the picture.  Some of my favorite memorable moments have been indulging in goodies from a trip.  I still have some limoncello in the freezer from Positano that I’m excited to break out someday soon.

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You can tell from this post how much I love some of the beautiful (and delicious) things that I bring home from my travels.  Although these pieces can sometimes fuel that longing to travel, they can also transport you to that moment. I’m looking forward to my next trip to wherever, but for now, with a two-month-old, I’ll have to continue depending on these memories to carry me through.

I’d love to hear from you!  What is your favorite keepsake you’ve brought home from a trip?

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  • For a while, I was bringing home ‘travel rocks’ from my travels. We placed them in our garden borders.

  • We always do ornaments for our Christmas tree. Our Christmas tree has turned into a history of our travels which is fun to reminisce about every year. Plus i love that I don’t have to find space to put souvenirs all year around.

  • Redwood salt and pepper shakers from California and a glass honey jar from Georgia came home this year for the house. I also bought single skeins of yarn to make baby sweaters from our trips while I was pregnant. I can’t wait for this little one to be born and wearing them!