When you think of a souvenir, you usually think of tacky keyrings, stuffed toys or shot glasses. But how about some alternatives?
I used to collect shot glasses from everywhere I went. I now have boxes full of shot glasses from all over the world, and no house to display them in! I no longer collect shot glasses… In fact, I very rarely buy any souvenirs anymore at all. Physical items are things I try to avoid these days – something you learn after years of living out of a backpack!
Memories, photos, friendships… These are the best things to collect along your travels.
Sometimes even when things seem to go wrong, you’ll end up with a cool story and weird souvenir! A friend of mine has a scar on her leg from a small motorbike accident in Indonesia. I reckon that’s a pretty interesting souvenir.
So, in 2011 I was in Vietnam & Cambodia. Awesome trip!
However, a few days in I found that the small padlock that I had on my pack was broken. I’d left my bag, locked in my room in the hostel during the day, and when I got back that evening the lock was broken and I couldn’t get the key in to unlock it. Now, I don’t know if it broke just because it was a cheap lock, or because somebody tried to break into my bag. Either way, doesn’t make much difference now!
The hilarious part of the story was that we then spent the next 2 days looking for bolt cutters to buy in Saigon, Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh City). We couldn’t find them anywhere! No hardware shops to be found, and I was starting to give up hope of ever getting into my pack again.
Then, one day when aimlessly walking around the city… We stumbled upon the hardware shop district! A whole street lined with shops with all pretty much the same things – including an assortment of bolt cutters. YAY!
We went into one of the shops, and the guy spoke absolutely no English, so we were trying to act out what we needed. Luckily, Mark who I was travelling with at the time had a similar padlock on his daypack, so we pointed to that and showed that we wanted to cut it. The friendly guy gestured that we didn’t need to buy one – he’d cut the lock off it right there! argh, no, no – we want to keep this one… It’s the one at the hostel we need to cut!
After a few more minutes of acting out our needs, finally I bought the bolt cutters and went back to the hostel and got into my pack. Yay! All my things 🙂
So, to this day I still have those bolt cutters.
Hilarious story. Great souvenir.
What’s your favourite souvenir from your travels?