Souvenirs – To Buy or Not to Buy, That is the Question

The Chinese New Year is just around the corner and as I attempt to clear the clutter in my house, I have been coming across a lot of souvenirs that we have picked up during our travels.  Each one of them seems so special and amazing memories come rushing back when I see them.  At the same time, I can practically imagine the horrified expression Marie Kondo might have if she saw all the stuff we were still hanging on to :).  So, what should we do?  My resolution going forward is to buy souvenirs that will help enhance my life — nothing more.  Here are some of my suggestions – Hope you enjoy them.

  • Bells – Ringing a bell instantly changes the energy of the surroundings.  Over the years I have picked up brass, silver and mixed metal bells.  Each of them feels special and I choose which one to ring depending on my mood. So, if you are visiting India, Nepal, Bhutan or other South East Asian countries, do pick one up!
  • Fabric – When you visit a country like India, the fabric choices will blow you away.  If you love to sew, then the options in types (silk, cotton, etc.), patterns, colours, treatments are unlimited.  For something easy, I would recommend purchasing a saree (typically a saree is 5 mts/yrds long… so plenty of material) or two so that you can convert them into beautiful cushion covers or bed decor once you are back home.  Another option would be to create travel bedding from light cotton fabric.  This way, you know you have a clean sheet and pillow cover where ever you travel and washing & drying is also easy (make sure you use colour-fast fabric)
  • Shawls – Shawls are beautiful and functional.  If you want to invest in one made with real wool, it will last forever.  They make perfect travel blankets…. in airplanes, trains, where ever your travels take you.  Most of them are easy to care for as well. So, if you are travelling in a region that prides itself in the shawls that are made there, do consider buying one.
  • Silver boxes – This suggestion originates from Feng Shui.  Many practitioners use silver boxes to invite helpful people into their lives.  When I received a silver box as a gift recently, the light bulb went on… can’t wait to use it!
  • Buddha figurines – They bring so much joy and luck into any space. 
  • Other figurines – Personally, I enjoy collecting figurines relating to Indian Gods & Goddesses as they bring strength to me.  I am however starting to be more choosy.  If you are wondering what figurines might work for you, then do research your Chinese sign and pick up a Chinese zodiac figurine(s) of friend(s) : )
  • Kitchen utensils – If you really enjoy the cuisine of a particular area you visit, then buying a locally made kitchen utensil makes perfect sense.  The only thing to be aware of is the weight and volume it might take up during transit.
  • Mats – If you enjoy sitting on the floor (for meditation or otherwise) then pick up a mat.  So many options depending on where you are buying it … cloth, plant fibre, travel friendly, etc.
  • Beads / Stones – Colourful stones can be very attractive.  Every region in the world has its own special stones and I enjoy collecting them and converting them to simple jewellery whenever possible. 
  • Lamps – Found very easily in certain countries, these are incredible sources of energy and can instantly uplift your mood.

Bottomline:  As you travel more and more, your personal belongings tend to become fewer and fewer.  But, you also realise that you need some special things that will keep you grounded no matter where you are.  My goal this year and beyond is to keep this in mind whenever I travel to new places.  Wish me luck!  Happy New Year!!

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