Saturday, October 17, 2015

6 Tips for Meaningful Souvenir Shopping: A Grenada Soul Adventurer Travel Guide

Cheesing with a local Vendor in Marrakech after my first purchase in the souks...the first of many!
One of the things that I love doing while travelling is collecting a little something that will remind me of my beautiful trip. Often times when people think of souvenirs they think of  t-shirts or key chains or fridge magnets with the name of the country or city they visited. While that is fine I like to spend my money on unique pieces that carry a story so that every time I see or use that item it takes me back to the place I bought it or the person I bought it from. 

Here are my 6 tips on how to preserve the memory of your travels for years to come 


1. Buy directly from local crafts people instead of souvenir shops

This past August I visited Chelsea Market in NYC in Greenwich village. Greenwich Village is known for its creative and artsy scene and Chelsea Market is a great place to find local artists, jewellery makers and crafts people. Buying directly from the person who has made the item adds a personal touch and really allows you to feel the energy of the local people. At Chelsea market I bought a beautiful gold plated chain from Loella Medina with the OM Symbol on it. It was a gorgeous  dainty piece. While I was browsing the stand I started chatting with the Loella who designs and hand crafts all the pieces, that interaction while transient was meaningful and whenever I wear my necklace I remember Loella and her warm personality. 

Chelsea Market 

2. Avoid the cliche!


Ever seen people rocking that I heart NYC T-shirt? Guess what it can be found on almost every corner in Manhattan and just incase you missed your chance to get it there it will also be in the departure lounge at JFK. Sure it can be quirky in its own cliche way but it may not mean very much to you in a few years. Plus it was probably made in China!


3. Local Music


I like getting souvenirs that stimulate more than the sense of sight and touch. While I was in Barcelona last year I visited the famous Parc Guell. I went to admire the beautiful modernist architecture of Antoni Gaudi but while I was there the sweet sound of Spanish Guitar accompanied me . I had never paid much mind to that type of music before but whenever I hear it now it takes me straight back to warm, leisurely, relaxed days spent getting lost in Barcelona.  Often times you will see street performers selling their music. Now, when I am sitting at my desk at work I pop in the cd from that guitar player at Parc Guell in Barcelona or that Native American Music from the Subway Performers in Mahattan I am right back there enchanted by their talent.

4. Local Spices and Seasoning 


Speaking of the senses lets talk about the sense of taste! Many times when we travel we are excited to taste the country or city we go to. For example when I went to Morocco I probably ate vegetable cous cous at least once a day and consumed olives every 6 hours. I had no interest in tasting what I am accustomed to in Grenada or other western food. Who wants oil down or french fries when you can have that interesting thing being cooked in that interesting shaped dish you have never seen before. A great way to take that with you is by buying local seasoning and foods so that you can keep that experience with you beyond your time in a particular place. In Marrakech I visited the spice market and bought fresh paprika powder and that magical seasoning used in Tagine that made everything it touched yummy. 

Spice Shopping in the Spice Market in the Medina in Marrakech, Morocco (Tourist swag on max in my Tropical Shirt)
Enjoying a typical Moroccan meal at Jemma al Fna 


5. Things that you use everyday/ Things you wear


Since the aim of the game is to keep the memories of your travels with you as long as possible with small reminders all around why not get something that you can use all the time. Marrakech is known for its hand crafted and dyed leather goods. While I was there I got a beautiful soft leather purse and a medium sized satchel. Since my trip last year I have used my purse everyday and my satchel also gets very regular use. Whats more, since these piece, though simple are very beautiful I always get compliments on them and I get to very coyly say, thank you...I bought it in Marrakech on my vacation last year. Boom! There I am back in the Medina haggling enthusiastically to buy my satchel at a bargain! 

Brightly coloured leather wallets made in Morocco

 6. Local beauty products


What I love most about travel is the chance to experience a different culture, to be surrounded by a different aesthetic and soak in all that newness. In Chefchoauen I bought some amazing eye coal at a gorgeous applicator to go with it in a small shop on my way to the Spanish Mosque lookout spot. This eye coal sits on my bathroom counter and every now and then when I am feeling like I want a bit more of a mysterious look I whip it out. It makes me feel like I am participating a little in a different culture. Sure eye liner sounds simple...but my friends...this is eye coal from The Blue City!

All these tips also apply to souvenir shopping for your friends and family. Even though they were not with you during your travels they too can experience  and appreciate a different culture through your gifts.

I hope this helps you when next you travel.

Let me know if you want me to do a Grenada specific version of this post. I can think of quite a few special things that can only be found in Grenada that fit the bill.

Peace and Bliss,

Grenada Soul Adventurer 

2 comments:

  1. Hi Sheba!!
    I am so touched to be mentioned on your blog! Please stay in touch. It was great meeting you at Chelsea Market! Love your blog.

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    1. Thanks for the love. Our short interaction at Chelsea Market really stayed with me and I adore your creations. Subscribe to the blog, like me on facebook or follow me on instagram (or all three!) to get updated whenever I post!

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