Photo by colros
When I got off the plane in Milwaukee last weekend, one of the first things I saw was the warm glow of a souvenir shop. Stuffed with brightly colored T-shirts, sassy shot glasses, and magnets of all shapes and sizes, the shop looked exactly like its counterpart in the Minneapolis airport where I had changed planes. This was my first trip to Milwaukee and I hoped to bring back a memento, but a ‘Bronze the Fonz‘ floaty pen just wasn’t going to cut it.
The trouble with looking for souvenirs is the best ones are always unique to a time and place, so a good souvenir from Milwaukee wouldn’t be the same as one from Moscow. As Billy the Fish points out, “Tourist souvenirs can be impersonal,” so how can you find something more meaningful?
Jessica C writes, “I always try to get something that you can’t get anywhere else.” So a good starting point would be figuring out what makes the place you’re visiting unique. Another approach is bringing gifts with you in hopes of receiving something in return. After all, according to shoshanamom, “the best souvenirs/gifts are those that were given to me by a local or someone I met while traveling.”
Although it can be dicey, I prefer to let the right souvenir find me, trusting that I’ll know it when I see it. As it turned out, I was at a show with raffle prizes, and one of the prizes was five pounds of sausage. Half-jokingly, I kept talking about how badly I wanted it, but the woman next to me had the winning ticket. I was pretty bummed. But a few minutes later, the woman came up to me and offered me one of the sausages. This souvenir is not going to last forever, but every bite of that sausage brings back good memories of Milwaukee.
Whether you’ve got useful ideas or fond memories, please share them. How do you find the best souvenir when you’re traveling?
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