1. Do Italy Slowly – Indie Travel Challenge » Grounded Traveler
    March 8, 2012 @ 11:58 pm

    […] town. This is a shame, Pisa was a pretty cool place to wander. We got away from the field and their souvenir markets and found good cheap food as […]

  2. The Best Gifts are Memories » Grounded Traveler - Expat Adventures in Germany
    December 13, 2011 @ 10:12 pm

    […] have written about souvenirs before and tend to avoid them. I try to take so many photographs as they remind me the most of a […]

  3. Andrew
    August 18, 2010 @ 8:36 pm

    I totally agree that often the sense of “must remember” makes the buying of souvenirs a burden. The pics in the post of the stands are from the edges of the Piazza Miracoli in Pisa. It was amazing how thick they were, and how many people were just clustered around them. Add the guys selling watches from briefcases, it does get overwhelming and saddening.
    We can just choose to make different choices and hope it helps. Thanks for the comment.

  4. Jen
    August 16, 2010 @ 1:01 am

    It’s funny, the more I travel, the less I am becoming susceptible to wanting to buy souvenirs, unless it’s something really special. The “El Crapo” that I bought on some of my first trips have already been tossed out. Instead, if I do decide to buy, it’s something that is special to me and that I can use in my everyday life: scarves, handmade journals, jewelry, pieces of art (such as small painted tiles), etc. These mean way more, especially when I wrap a gorgeous scarf around my neck and I can remember the day I bought it in Piran, Slovenia. The only “crap souvenirs” I buy are those cheesy fridge magnets of the places I visit – whenever I go to the fridge I can see where I’ve been at a glance. I feel sometimes like buying souvenirs is such a burden. When I do buy it’s not usually because I was searching for something, but because I happened to come across something that appealed to me.

    I also seriously despair at how these beautiful sites are being buried in tacky souvenir stands, and often with quite aggressive tactics. During a visit to Park Guell in Barcelona this past spring, I wanted to run away screaming at all the people hawking “crap” in that beautiful place. *sigh*

  5. Andrew
    August 15, 2010 @ 2:16 pm

    Do they make candles in the shape of elephants? I can imagine you might need a holder for such things. 🙂
    Yeah, I totally agree that cleaning leads to rethinking what is actually needed.

  6. Andrew
    August 15, 2010 @ 2:14 pm

    Thanks for the comment. I love the little random things with foreign words.
    You talk about having a souvenir from a place without experiencing that place. I get into thoughts when I get stuff for friends. A souvenir for myself has a different purpose as one for someone else. For myself the trinket serves to remind me of something that I have seen or a place I have been. It truly is a tool of memory retention. A souvenir to take home as a gift serves a different purpose. That person has not seen these places and has no memories (usually) of that place. The gift is a token to show that you care and were thinking of someone. This to me is really a different thing.
    I have kind of gotten into buying food and other “foreign-worded labels” kind of things or like my list of postcard people. What do you go for?

  7. Dina VagabondQuest
    August 14, 2010 @ 11:43 am

    “distraction at best and a complete replacement at worst.”
    Great way to describe it. People buy souvenir to remind them about the place. But when people choose shopping for souvenir instead of visiting the historical stuff or other significant things like that, what’s the “thing” that they want to remember? I mean, how do you want to remember walking around in the Palace of Knossos in Crete, for example, if you didn’t do it, because you are shopping instead. So get souvenir when you are done with the “thing” itself.
    I bought items along the way too, not necessarily intended for souvenir, more like usable items, just like your lip balm. My Dove hand cream from Dubai with Arabic writing on the container, for example, makes me smile when I see it.
    Like Sally said here too, I don’t have storage space for souvenirs. We just collecting the flag badge from each country. Sometimes I bought earrings with local material if my old pair is broken. But we travel slow typically, this doesn’t replace the experience. Perhaps I bought more souvenirs for people back home than for myself.
    Thought provoking post!

  8. Andrew
    August 13, 2010 @ 6:54 pm

    Indeed, and the object becomes simply a memory trigger to the experience. A token of remembrance, that doesn’t have to be expensive or bulky or even ostensibly from that place.

  9. suzyguese
    August 8, 2010 @ 10:53 pm

    The tacky Italian souvenir stands I always feel are going to topple over they have some much “El Crapo” ha. My first trips abroad as a kid, I started collecting rings from different places. That way I could always gaze down at my hand and remember a place and instance that I bought something. I still look for an unusual ring to this day. It's probably the one souvenir I will buy. Like your Cinque Terre photography exchange, I think it is important to have some sort of connection with the “thing” you are purchasing and the place. That connection usually comes with a story.

  10. Sally
    August 8, 2010 @ 4:42 am

    I've banned myself from buying souvenirs on my trip because I simply don't have the money or the luggage space. I thought this would be difficult, but after spending 3 months prior to my trip clearing out my closets of the many souvenirs I had bought on previous trips, it's been surprisingly easy to resist the urge. Turns out I CAN live without another bamboo handbag or elephant-shaped candle holder!