As a kid, I demanded my father bring me back something from every business trip he took. This resulted in far too many stuffed animals and other non-essentials (as well as elevated frustration levels of my very frugal and practical mother).
Fast forward to me, the adult. While I no longer expect souvenir’s from either of my parents after they return from a trip, I do have the frustrating tendency to want to purchase something for myself as a reminder of a vacation. I was determined to change this, starting with my very next vacation.
The definition of a souvenir (thank you www.dictionary.com):
1.) A usually small and relatively inexpensive article given, kept, or purchased as a reminder of a place visited, an occasion, etc.
2.) A memory.
I made it my goal to define any souvenir in my life as #2, and move away from the urge to buy something tangible as a future memory trigger. One would think that the 1000’s of digital photos I take on most vacations would be enough to keep every, single moment of any given trip very alive and well…
We recently went to Kona, Hawaii, and I was determined not to give into the urge to buy something to ‘remind me of our trip’. The morning of our flight back home, we wandered through the small town of Kona and stopped at a cafe to order coffee and breakfast. As we were waiting, I watched the barista grind the beans for the coffee, and place them in a re-useable cloth filter in the filter basket. I asked her what the story was on the filters. She said that the cafe gets them from a local farmer, who makes them by hand. They are made of sustainable-hemp grown locally, and she said that they are super durable.
She offered to give us one, and we asked her to pass along a donation to the farmer instead. She happily agreed. The coffee filter ended up being the only item that we purchased on our trip, and now every time I brew coffee, I think of our time in Kona. Always brings back warm memories of swimming, snorkeling and sand-gazing.
So, while I caved a bit on my resolution not to buy anything as a trip reminder, I felt great about turning the urge to buy a souvenir into wins:
– No more packaging: Reusable coffee filter means I’ll never again buy a package of coffee filters – this doubles as ‘cost savings’ as well
– Sustainable souvenir: Acquisition of a useful object for daily routing doubles as a fun reminder of our amazing trip
– Local support: It felt great to support a “local farmer” on our trip, even if in a small way