“Keep some souvenirs of your past, or how will you ever prove it wasn’t all a dream?” – Ashleigh Brilliant
Well, just a mention of the word souvenir and a thousand images of fridge magnets, t-shirts, keychains, coffee mugs, and postcards spring to mind. Essentially a French word meaning ‘to remember’, souvenirs aren’t defined by price or size, but rather by what they evoke – a good (or even a weird) story to share. From fainting at the airport to losing my phone in the Swiss Alps, from enjoying the very surreal Ceylon sunsets to roaming around the bustling streets of London – my share of travel memories is spread across a vast spectrum, and so is my collection of travel souvenirs. Be it the usual fridge magnets, boarding passes, and postcards or one-of-a-kind handcrafted pieces from local brands/boutiques. But amidst them all, I absolutely adore this cap with the embroidered words ‘I would rather be at Hogwarts’ that I had bought in London from “Platform 9¾” at King’s Cross Station. This cap not only evokes the memories of a marvellous London summer with a side of childhood nostalgia and magic but also serves up my 2020 mood of escaping from the muggle world.
To be honest, travel will always be a special and happy period in one’s life. But this ongoing scenario has many of us suffer from travel withdrawals and hazy memories. And this is where the souvenirs come in to recall the destination magic that we were once drawn to, after all, they are the keepsakes that keep the memories of our wanderlust souls alive. So, in the spirit of treasuring the memories of travels past and the many souvenirs collected, we decided to reach out to some of the most vivacious globetrotters to discover which travel souvenirs they deem dear. Find their fascinating yet fun replies below.
Jagvir Matharoo, Joint Creative Director – The Flame Store
“Me and my partner are absolute compulsive travellers. The last few months have, of course, been hard, but we are glad that we were traveling until almost the last day before the lockdown began. I am a borderline hoarder/collector. So, this image is filled with nostalgia and memories. The Madonna idol is from a flea market in Bombay, the fishbone wings found on the beach at Bentota in Sri Lanka, the glass casket jewellery box is from Good Earth, and the severed doll leg is from Antwerp. Well, I love objects that are curious and have a story to tell. And to see this at home every day is like taking a little trip to the places I found them at.”
Roshni Chopra, Actor & Presenter
“Nothing reminds me more of places than a scent I discovered there. I also love collecting maps of my favourite areas. So, I discovered Le Labo first in my favourite area of NYC – Nolita & Soho. I’ve held on to these maps for over ten years now, and every time I see them, I’m transported to the streets of Soho and Nolita; discovering the latest and the coolest in fashion, design, and food. Even though these are newer bottles bought in Seoul and London, the fragrance and the maps take me straight back to Nolita.”
Mariette Valsan, Actor & Model
“Travel. It has been not just my respite from daily life, but also my joy, my source of invigoration, and the life-giving breath to my soul. Ever since I started travelling with my own money, I realized that memories are the best souvenirs. This is a memory that is etched in my mind – where I met rescued and rehabilitated elephants in Cambodia in 2019, had the opportunity to bond with them, and truly appreciate the beauty that mother nature has to offer. I walked away from this experience with the souvenir of a lifetime – the promise to raise my voice for animals and help protect them in any way I can.”
Sheefa Gilani, Fashion Stylist
“This yellow duckling is my most treasured souvenir. I stole it from my hotel in Mykonos, Greece, in 2016 on my birthday trip. The duckling has been with me ever since.”
Namita Alexander, Celebrity Stylist
“I don’t think anything can come remotely close to an experience like being at Coachella with my sister in 2018. Watching Beyoncé, The Weekend, Eminem, Dr. Dre, Kygo, Post Malone, Miguel, French Montana, Russ, Cardi B, and Arianna Grande (to name a few!) over three days in an ambience with energies like that was spectacular. I can’t think of a tangible souvenir better than all the music I took back with me, along with all the Coachella merchandise!
This music festival is held in the desert, and I don’t think anyone can prepare you for how sweltering it actually is! We see all the cool kids on the gram looking so cute in their carefully curated Coachella outfits, but no one tells you about the heat and dust. And at the end of each day, when the thousands of attendees are heading home, everyone walking together creates some kind of a dust storm, and most wear a mask or bandana to protect themselves. Now, of course, it’s our new normal. But three unforgettable days of music by some of the world’s best artists, the best food and drink outlets, unbelievable festival fashion, under the California sun with my favourite person in the world was an experience I’ll cherish forever!”
Saumya Gupta, Photographer & Co-Founder – The Open Art Project
“These are 150-year-old granny’s pasta plates we bought from a vintage store in a small town called Montelupo Capraia. Each time we eat pasta and hand roll pasta, they take us back to the beautiful memories we spent together drinking and eating in Tuscany.”
Ayesha Amin Nigam, Fashion & Jewellery Stylist
“The best thing about travel is the pictures that me and my husband end up taking. Those are our most favourite souvenirs, to be honest. I know it sounds cliched, but with these pictures, we find ourselves going back time and time again to relive our experiences.”
Natasha Luthra, Content Creator
“I found this cute mini silver leather bag in one of the boutiques in Greece, way back in 2015 when the mini bag trend didn’t even exist. It just instantly caught my eye, and I had to have it. It’s still one of my favourite finds from any of my travels.”
Karishma is an engineer turned fashion stylist and writer who loves talking about trends as much as eating desserts. Gucci, Ranveer Singh, salted caramel ice-cream and lipsticks make up four chambers of her heart. Like Karishma’s story? Drop her a line in the comments section below.