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Five Reasons I Don’t Buy Souvenirs

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Look, I want to be nice. I really do. But don’t expect me to ever bring you anything back from my travels.

I didn’t always despise souvenirs. When I was little, I would buy a keychain and a postcard from every state I visited. But then you know what happened? Crap piled up. After I visited these states, I didn’t want to remember them by some cheap keychain or a piece of paper–I wanted the real memories and the pictures I took.

So I no longer buy souvenirs (unless you count the 50 packs of crispy M&Ms from the Philippines. I bought those because they don’t sell them in the U.S. anymore. Wisest purchase ever.)

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    I’ve compiled a list of reasons I won’t be bringing you back a souvenir:

    1. Buying souvenirs is stressful.

    I hate when people’s birthdays come around because I agonize over finding the perfect gift to get them. So can you imagine the stress of trying to buy a special souvenir for all my closest friends and family–when I’m trying to relax on a vacation?

    2. I have limited space in my luggage.

    When traveling by air, people are often limited to one free carry-on bag. It’s difficult to stuff souvenirs into my already-crammed luggage.

    3. Do you really want a tacky knickknack anyway?

    Are you really dying to get a shot glass from Vegas, a tequila lollipop from Mexico, or a mini Leaning Tower of Pisa from Italy? If so, I’d be more than happy to oblige, but my guess is you really don’t care for all that junk.

    4. Money wasted on meaningless trinkets could have been spent on meaningful memories.

    When I went on my trip to Italy, Greece, and Spain, I spent about $100 just on souvenirs for people back home. That’s insane. Those $100 could have been spent on a memorable experience in Europe, but instead, they were spent on overpriced souvenirs. And if I asked the recipients, I bet they couldn’t even tell me where the souvenirs I gave them are today.

    5. It’s a vacation–and the last thing I want to do is frantically dig through baseball caps and snow globes in an effort to find the perfect thing to show my love for you.

    You know the drill: it’s the last day of your trip and you’re at the airport and about to board your flight–but wait! You forgot to get something for your cousin Drew! What will he think of you for going to Hawaii and NOT bringing him something back?? So you rush through the airport and purchase an overpriced T-shirt from the nearest newspaper stand to assuage your guilt.

    I refuse to do that anymore. If I don’t bring you something back, it does not mean I don’t love you. It just means I care about my vacation time and my money too much to be wasting it on something that cannot possibly convey how much I love you.

    So there you have it: my lame excuses for why I didn’t bring you anything back from my travels.

    But on a serious note, I’m offering this travel blog as my “souvenir” to you. I literally spend hours on each blog post, and why do I do it? Because I want you to have something from my travels that’s meaningful (I hope you find this blog meaningful), something that is more valuable than a mug or a T-shirt.

    So what do you think? Do you actually like getting souvenirs? What’s the tackiest souvenir you’ve ever received?