Souvenirs, be it a painting, tea or shirt, displaying those objects upon your return helps extends your journey. Now how to choose the perfect one for you in Peru!
When we travel to distant locations, we end up wanting to bring something back with us that memorializes the experience. Something that can personify our experiences, or at the very least conjure up images of our most cherished memories of our time there. For me personally, the items I brought back with me from Peru make me want to return exponentially with each passing day. Isn’t that what we want, whether openly or not? To be brought back to the time and place these memories were purchased? Thought and patience will serve you well, in addition to your own uniquely tailored interests.
Here are my thoughts on the process involved in this traveling tradition.
When I first stepped into the local market in Cuzco, Peru, I was experiencing something that I couldn’t anywhere else. Hanging hunks of meat, enthusiastic stall owners, and fine wares intermingled with local citizens and expensive jewelry. Sensory overload created a situation in which it took me much longer to find the things I needed. When you do calm down from all of the commotion and excitement, you can relax and think about the things that are most important to you. What kinds of things do you cherish, and what types of trinkets have you had success with in the past? Some people find things that they can wear like clothing or jewelry, or something that they will continue to use like a bottle opener. I find those types of items pretty quickly, but searching as if you’re trying to find the lost city of the Incas itself will deliver you treasures untold, and long-lasting memories.
My most cherished souvenir came to me while standing close to the golden statue of Pachacutec himself.
Men and women will most certainly get on your nerves as they incessantly try to push their products on you. It's best to hide annoyance as their income solely depends on you. They have to give a generous portion to their employer as well. I brought back with me a painting that can be viewed every time I walk into my house. A vision that lets me imagine the streets of Cuzco very vividly. Clothing can also help to bubble your memory logs into effervescence. A nice alpaca wool sweater helped carry my enthusiastic explorer mentality everywhere I went.
What else could you possibly find beyond these things that could hold any value whatsoever?
Consumables expire or are devoured quickly, but seeing as how I consider myself a tea enthusiast, I found a box of coca leaf tea, which is considered a local staple. Do not attempt to bring actual leaves home with you, because the possibility of a stay in a Peruvian prison is a reality. Prepackaged tea bags are allowed to be brought back home though. Tastes and smells are the biggest triggers for memories long gone, and I quickly found myself right back in the middle of the Andes mountains while sitting in my living room sipping on a mug of coca tea.
To read more about coca tea adventures: click here.
Beyond other materialistic things, you will most certainly have stories to take home with you as well, which are as good as any souvenir.
The greatest thing you can do to increase the likelihood of having memories to recall is just getting out there and immersing yourself in the culture. Find a museum, discover an incredible restaurant, follow a tour guide, and make sure to take some pictures! Take that leap and step out of your comfort zone. Most of all, vacations can bring even the most distant enemies to the forefront of companionship. Stranger things have certainly happened in this wide world. Why not let your travels take you to Peru, and see what you’ll take home!
Cover photo: The colorful Pisac market /Free public domain