The Well-Traveled SouvenirsOctober 19, 2020 | By Nafeesah Allen
The unsung heroes of any travel journey truly are the souvenirs we bring back to remind us of just how far we’ve come. Even years later, one glance can quickly snap you back to the city where you picked it up and all the memories you made with it since. We polled a group of wanderlust women to learn more about their favorite trinkets, where they got them, and why they are so special. Though all of them were quite endearing, three truly tugged at our heartstrings. Tanisha, Kemi, and Willie show us how a thoughtful souvenir can flood us with good memories and inspire us to make more along the way.
The Perfect Penguin
For her 39th birthday, Tanisha got to see her favorite animal – penguins – in their natural habitat at Boulder Beach in South Africa. As a memento, she purchased a stuffed penguin from the Lucky Fish souvenir shop in the Mother City’s most famous thoroughfare, Long Street. But visiting these cute animals wasn’t the main reason for her trip to South Africa- she and her fiance eloped at the top of Table Mountain in Cape Town! Looking at her souvenir penguin reminds her of these two magical experiences- you can guess which ranks higher. Now, she carries her own “stuffed service animal” as a carry on whenever she travels. His most recent passport stamp was to Tikal, Guatemala, which got its first penguin residents in 2013.
More than a good luck charm
During a visit to Vietnam, Go Galavant founder got her phone stolen in Ho Chi Minh city while walking to meet a group for an Airbnb experience. She grappled with continuing with her plan for the day or returning to her apartment to deal with the fallout of the stolen item. The explorer in her wouldn’t let her miss out on the opportunity to learn about a country from a local in a local’s home. She contacted the guide and luckily, not only had the guide waited for her, but she went above and beyond with tech support to help Kemi secure her personal information from her stolen phone AND made sure that Kemi’s first bad experience in Vietnam was her last. Taking a good luck bracelet right off her own wrist, the guide gifted it to Kemi to prevent any more mishaps or bad deeds. No more travel mishaps followed Kemi as she explored Vietnam from the south to the north. Being a believer in travel mercies, Kemi feels she has gotten more than her fair share since getting the bracelet in 2019. Every time she looks at it, she’s reminded of the guide’s overwhelming kindness toward a perfect stranger in need and of all the great experiences from her time in Vietnam.
My good friend from college, Willie, is a tough as nails New Yorker, who’s used to subway tunnels and shoebox apartments. A few years back, she wanted a change of pace from the concrete jungle she was used to. Rather than head to the beaches of the Caribbean, she landed in Rabat, Morocco for research. While on the hunt for something functional to remind her of her time in Morocco, she stumbled upon two multi-colored rugs that were too unique to leave behind. The vendor worked some magic and folded them so tightly that those two whole rugs actually fit in her backpack. The size was perfect, but the weight wasn’t, so she got to the airport readying herself for a terse exchange at the airline ticket counter. She worried she’d be forced to check the bag and pack an exorbitant extra baggage fee. Luckily, no one questioned her carry-on backpack. She slid right through security with no hassle and made it to NYC magic carpets in tow. Now there was only one problem- everyone knows that a normal NYC apartment has no space for two rugs. Of course, I had to ask where the rugs are now. She gifted one to a friend, and the other is on the floor of her new home in Montreal.