What is your favorite souvenir from your travels? Wherever we as members of the REI Adventures team explore new places, a souvenir reminds us of the adventure or gives us a special connection to a place or person. It can be as simple as a photograph, or it might be something that reflects the artistry of the local culture, such as a carpet. These mementos, every time we see them, use them or sometimes even taste them, transport us back to those places.
Throughout our travels, it seems everyone on our crew has collected one special souvenir. Here are a few of our most interesting finds:
"My favorite souvenir is a 3x5-foot royal blue Tibetan carpet purchased in
"My favorite is this
"Sandalwood Tibetan incense that I bought in
1. Every time I light one it relaxes me and takes me back to my travels in Nepal.
2. It's a super-cheap souvenir with a big impact.
"I have to use them sparingly now as I am running low. Luckily I know 2 people who are going to
"When I travel I like to find spices for my pantry that reflect the flavors of the places I visit. Vanilla beans from
For Candace, it all comes down to a specific moment:
"1988, Bellinis (a cocktail) at Harry's Bar, black ink pasta...roaming the streets of Venice in search of the perfect piece of Murano glass.
"Here it is—my favorite Italian!"
"My favorite is a Tanka, or scroll painting. It was created by REI's guide in Nepal, Thupten, who used to be a monk.
"The image consists of 4 panels that depict how Everest came to be. Now framed and hanging in our living room, it's a daily reminder of this incredible place, and Thupten's smiling face."
"My favorite souvenirs are my 3 Buddha relics (one is shown here) given to me by a monk in
"He asked about my family and dropped 3 of the wooden Buddhas (one each for my immediate family) into my hand. He told me these would help keep my family safe and happy...so far, so good."
"While at a beachside restaurant traveling in Nicaragua, I happened upon some young boys playing in at the beach. One older boy, who I guess was about 10 years old or so, was determined to set up shop and sell me a souvenir. He had hand-made little turtles out of seashells by gluing the shells to cardboard and each other. He used seeds for the baby turtle's feet; and for the mouth and eyes of the turtles he used some kind of red and white paint. I bought this cute little turtle with a baby on its back, and I will always remember this little boy who was trying so hard to be a grown man."
"I recall the first and really only souvenir I acquired on my first solo trip in
"After many a trip where I got caught up in the endless sea of trinkets, I've come to the conclusion that I will only buy things I can either wear or eat—unless it's a cool mask.
"I bought this cheetah mask in Guatemala in 1997 and was the very first item of my collection. I fell in love with the bright colors and animated expression. It now accompanies other masks I've collected from around the world: Brazil, Costa Rica, Panama, Mexico, Bali, Korea and Japan."
Souvenirs serve as our windows back to a place, time or person we yearn to always remember. We'd love to hear about your favorite souvenirs, too. What are some of your most cherished keepsakes from faraway lands?