There is a cliche about a certain kind of holidaymaker. You’ll recognize it when you read it, so get ready. It’s the kind of holidaymaker who goes away to a place for a week or two, and when they come back, can’t stop talking about it. You ask for a drink; they give you a glass of this thing they bought while there. They drop bits of the language into a conversation. When you say anything – about anything – they say “Oh, that reminds me of this thing we saw in…”.
Don’t you hate those guys? Well, stop. Because travel should be about the experience. If someone brings those experiences back with them, it means they’ve had a good holiday. Is it so wrong to go somewhere new, absorb the experience and carry it with you? Is it better to go to some facsimile holiday resort, where the only souvenir you come back with is a mouse-mat with the place name on it?
If you’re going to bring back a souvenir from holiday, it makes more sense, surely, to get something real. It’s like saying “thank you [town] for making me feel welcome, and for the memories. In return, I’m making a contribution to the local industries.” Even if you just go for a day – if you had a good time, pay something back.
Fair Trade: There For A Reason
Fair trade has become a hot button issue over the years, with some people even being mocked for paying more for ethical products. But there is a reason it’s there. By choosing to buy local produce direct from the source, the hard work of independent producers is rewarded. So it is with buying souvenirs while on holiday. If you’re on vacation in India souvenirs produced by local artisans are the best choice.
Meaningful Souvenirs: Why They Matter To You
When you go on holiday to a place, it makes sense that you should get the full experience. That holidaymaker we mocked in the first paragraph? They get it. A holiday gives you more the more you open up to where you are. Identikit, mass produced souvenirs say nothing about your holiday other than you went to a shop. Local crafts, traditional drinks and foodstuffs evoke memories and experiences.
Practical Souvenirs: Being A Citizen Of The World
It’s easy to mock the friend who goes to Peru and comes back wearing an alpaca wool poncho. It stays easy until you get cold and realize exactly how comfortable and practical a souvenir like that can be.
People around the world have come up with ways of dealing with what life throws at them. These have turned into local industries. So when you see something while on holiday and think “That’s ingenious, I wish we had those back home!”, bring one back home. It helps you, and it helps the trader.
It may be easy to laugh at the slightly hippy-ish friend who becomes obsessed with a country after holidaying there. But it’s hard to disagree that it beats going somewhere for a week and not really experiencing it. Otherwise, why would you ever go somewhere new?