Souvenirs are a people’s way of taking and keeping a tiny piece of a foreign land with them.
They’re a physical reminder of all the memories that one makes on a holiday, and they’re often a reference to some part of the country’s culture too.
My family has been collecting magnets from every place they have been to for years, but I myself have only recently gotten into the habit of making sure that I buy a souvenir from each city I go to.
I got inspired to collect souvenirs when I was travelling in Italy and I came across beautiful paintings done by artists who had set up on the roadside in Rome.
They were painting pictures of the scenery around them, and each painting was unique in its own way. I bought one from a lovely painter who was situated in the middle of a bridge, and I remember my short encounter with him till this day.
I loved the small painting of the Trevi Fountain that I ended up buying from him, which made me realised how much I liked having a physical remembrance of a city. I especially liked the fact that it was a visual representation of the city, so I started to collect pretty postcards and artwork from the subsequent places that I went to.
Now, my room’s walls are cluttered with beautiful paintings and postcards from Italy, and I love that I only have to look at them to remember how wonderful my two week trip to the country was and feel like I’ve been transported back.
Postcards and paintings are still pretty basic when it comes to souvenirs though. My brother’s collection, on the other hand, is anything but typical. He collects dragons. In each country that we go to, my brother manages to find an elegant glass figure of a dragon, a stuffed toy dragon, a beautifully painted ceramic dragon or any type of dragon that he can lay his hands on.
While I never used to understand this, I recently realised how each dragon is a reflection of the culture that they come from, and that collecting them can be pretty interesting.
In Venice, for example, he got a dragon that was fashioned in a typical Murano glass style. In Vietnam, he got a figurine of a long dragon that was significant in Vietnamese mythology.
In England, my brother bought a Harry Potter dragon figurine from The Shambles in York. The Shambles are famous for being the real Diagon Alley, so I suppose that rather than a boring old Harry Potter t-shirt, my brother opted for a dragon to remind him of the place.
Souvenirs are a nice little way of capturing the culture of a place that you’ve been to. Whether you collect magnets, postcards or dragons, it’s always nice to have a collection of things that you can look at and smile because they remind you of all the places in the world that you’ve been to.