The Story of El Camino Bracelets (plus a giveaway!)

by Brenna Holeman

El Camino Bracelets 5

El Camino Bracelets inΒ Sopot, Poland

It all started with a tweet. I first saw El Camino bracelets on Vicky’s site, and I tweeted that I thought it was a really great idea: beautifully crafted bracelets that helped travellers keep a memory of their favourite trips on their wrists. A charm bracelet, but a really cool one. Shortly after that tweet, Tom from El Camino Bracelets emailed me and offered a complimentary starter kit.

If you’ve read this blog long enough, or have ever glanced at my Media/PR page, you know that I get very suspicious of companies. There is no paid advertising on this blog, nor are there any sponsored links (not even hidden ones, what you see is what you get). While I’m willing to work with companies and tourism boards for complimentary trips and tours (like my visit to London Cru a few weekends ago), I have no desire to participate in anything that does not keep up with the theme of This Battered Suitcase, or that I think would not be beneficial to readers. I also almost always turn down product reviews.

So when Tom emailed me, I responded politely but firmly. “I won’t write a post specifically about your bracelet, or even guarantee that I will put El Camino in the title of a post,” I wrote. And yet here I am, two months later, doing both of those things. Why? Because over the past two months, I’ve developed an amazing working relationship and (dare I say) friendship with the fabulous couple behind El Camino Bracelets. Simply put, they’re hardworking, creative, and laid-back, and if you’re a traveller looking to start a company, I’d definitely look to them as models.

After I wrote to Tom, he wrote back and said this: “We’d only ask you to do whatever you’re comfortable with to spread the El Camino word! If you can share us on social media, that would be amazing, if you could mention us in a post, that would be awesome, or if you tell a few people you bump into on your travels it would be great, too. Basically, whatever you think is right.” I was stunned, and very impressed. It’s shocking to me how many companies forget to treat bloggers like human beings, but right off the bat he treated me with respect. When I asked Tom why they like working with bloggers, he said, “There is a common passion for seeing new places and discovering new experiences which hopefully will bring us closer to people who may not have heard about us before. Also, we think that an honest review from a person who has seen/worn/tested our products is a much better endorsement than an advert we have paid for!”

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Tom and Candace, founders of El Camino Bracelets

That’s the thing about Tom Lane and Candace Kellough; I know that if I had just bumped into them during travelling, we’d really get along. They met last year in Meribel, where they were both working and snowboarding. During a month-long hike through Europe they came up with the idea for El Camino Bracelets, and so decided to invest the rest of their savings into the company. Canadian Candace and English Tom now live and work in Oxford, weaving the bracelets themselves. All of the beads are made and engraved locally, too, and they’re beautiful: oak wood spacers, glass beads representing regions (I have the Asia bead), and stainless steel beads engraved with countries or cities (I have Colombia, Canada, India, Morocco, and Poland). You can also get beads personally engraved, so I’m thinking of ordering a special This Battered Suitcase one. There are literally hundreds of beads to choose from.

I never take my bracelet off; it’s there on my right wrist along with bracelets from Peru, India, Israel, and Germany. It’s comfortable and durable, and I get many compliments on it. As El Camino Bracelets say, “Once you have been to a country, the country’s name becomes more than just a name to you; it becomes a memory of everything you experience there.” Their slogan is, “Your travel memories will never leave you,” and I love that. Of course, I’ve also fallen prey to the obsessive nature of collecting more beads; I’m ordering a few more soon (I want the South America, Central America, and Africa region steps, and also want Thailand, Portugal, Japan, Myanmar, Peru, Botswana, Guatemala, and basically every country I’ve ever been to or want to go to). As I love jewellery, and think that it makes for great souvenirs, this bracelet is right up my alley.

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Tom and Candace

As I said earlier, I almost never write about or advertise my support for companies, but I love what Tom and Candace do, and I love that they are fellow travellers. I believe they’ll continue to be very successful, and I think that their business model is working really well. On top of that, as I said, they’re just ridiculously great and generous people (they even sent me the Poland step as a gift after my trip to Gdansk in February).

Because Tom and Candace are indeed the coolest (I swear all they did was give me a bracelet, they have not paid me in British pounds, Canadian dollars, or chocolate chip cookies to write such a glowing post), they offered a starter kit to one of my readers, too. Yes, that’s right, another giveaway! I couldn’t be happier to share this with all of you. All you need to do is comment here with the two country steps that you would choose for your starter kit. The deadline to comment is Sunday, April 13th, when I will use a random generator to choose the winner.

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In love with my bracelet from El Camino

So, what are you waiting for? Comment here… and if you don’t win, go and order a bracelet anyway! I promise you’ll love it.

 

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254 comments

Austen Gordon March 31, 2014 - 4:19 pm

Thats a cool idea. I have just began my travels (first time abroad!). So I would like Thailand and South Africa (South Africa is my home country but it deserves to be included!)

I am headed to South Korea next though!

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Brenna Holeman April 1, 2014 - 4:15 pm

Sounds great Austen! I’d love a Thailand bead, too. Good luck.

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Heather April 8, 2014 - 12:45 pm

That’s awesome! I would like Thailand and Portugal

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Brenna Holeman April 8, 2014 - 4:20 pm

Good luck, Heather!

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Kasha March 31, 2014 - 4:33 pm

I love these bracelets. If the Gods of Competitions and Giveaways were to bless me in this particular instance, I would choose the South Africa and Poland country steps as part of my prize πŸ™‚

Great idea and great story x

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Brenna Holeman April 1, 2014 - 4:16 pm

Hmm I know why you’d choose those countries. πŸ˜‰ Good luck!

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Belinda le Roux March 31, 2014 - 4:38 pm

The bracelets so are beautiful! I would choose Africa because it is where i live, and Europe as a second choice as it is my favourite region in the world to visit. Much too difficult choosing just a country πŸ˜‰

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Brenna Holeman April 1, 2014 - 4:17 pm

Yes, it’s really difficult to narrow it down! Good luck.

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Katie March 31, 2014 - 4:41 pm

I love these bracelets! I’ve been wanting to buy one ever since I first saw the website on your blog. I would choose Australia and Spain, since I’ve called both those places home and they are very dear to me. x

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Brenna Holeman April 1, 2014 - 4:18 pm

That’s a very good reason to choose those two countries, then! Good luck Katie.

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Carolyn March 31, 2014 - 4:44 pm

Saw your bracelet in a previous post, was purely captured by the aesthetics of its design at first but now am equally intrigued by the principles of the company, might just have to start my holiday shopping early…thanks for the principled review
(Thailand and Canada)

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Brenna Holeman April 1, 2014 - 4:19 pm

Yes, I posted it on both Facebook and Instagram before! I truly love them. Good luck!

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Katie March 31, 2014 - 4:47 pm

Man, I think that even if I don’t win this giveaway, I will still invest in these bracelets — what an amazing idea!! I think the first two countries on my list are France (my home away from home since I’ve lived here twice) and Italy (my very first solo trip).

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Brenna Holeman April 1, 2014 - 4:20 pm

I hope that you get a bracelet either way, either by this competition or by buying one! Good luck.

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Katie @ Domestiphobia March 31, 2014 - 4:47 pm

Brenna, I think you need like 4 more WRISTS to support enough bracelets to cover all of the countries you’ve been to. I think I would start with maybe Costa Rica and Spain. Or Germany. Or France. Or Italy. Okay, I think I would need to buy a few more beads to go along with my starter kit. πŸ™‚

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Brenna Holeman April 1, 2014 - 4:21 pm

Ha ha ha… maybe! Good choices, good luck Katie.

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Emma Levich March 31, 2014 - 5:24 pm

I saw you post about these bracelets when you first got yours and instantly fell in love with the idea, they’re so cool! I would definitely have to choose a bead to represent Israel, as that’s where im from and have traveled back and forth to the most, as well as one to represent Latvia/Eastern Europe as that is where im headed to on my next adventure! πŸ™‚

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Brenna Holeman April 1, 2014 - 4:22 pm

Those are excellent choices, Emma, quite unique! Good luck.

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Madeleine March 31, 2014 - 5:30 pm

Brenna, I stumbled across your blog a few months ago now but I’ve never got around to actually commenting. These bracelets are so beautiful and I love the way you write about the story! I think I would have to choose South Africa and Ireland as they are the two countries I grew up in. My heart still belongs to them.

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Brenna Holeman April 1, 2014 - 4:23 pm

Oh great, thanks for commenting Madeleine! I hope you’ll do it more often. Good luck!

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Zalie March 31, 2014 - 5:41 pm

I think El Camino is a wonderful way to remember the travel memories that we all keep in our heart! They seem like such great people too! If I had to pick two countries, it would have to be Australia and Mexico. Oz because it was one of the first countries I went to by myself and my dear Mexico because there isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t think of my years spent there πŸ™‚

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Brenna Holeman April 1, 2014 - 4:34 pm

I agree – I love my bracelet! I think those are the perfect choices for you. xo

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kirsten March 31, 2014 - 5:55 pm

India and Mexico! So cool!

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Brenna Holeman April 1, 2014 - 4:23 pm

Indeed – good luck!

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Emily March 31, 2014 - 6:18 pm

Luxembourg & Lichtenstein! πŸ˜€ These are awesome bracelets!

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Brenna Holeman April 1, 2014 - 4:33 pm

Cool choices, good luck!

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Sheherazade Draw March 31, 2014 - 6:24 pm

Theses bracelets truly are lovely, but what they stand for are even better! I love seeing genuine companies like this succeed. Off to check the out!

I haven’t started my traveling yet, one more year of school πŸ˜› but I’d choose Jamaica and Mexico.

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Brenna Holeman April 1, 2014 - 4:24 pm

Excellent, thanks for checking them out! Good luck.

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Lissi March 31, 2014 - 6:54 pm

What a beautiful way to remember your adventures. It would be hard to pick but I guess I would choose where I started and where I currently am: Canada and Denmark

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Brenna Holeman April 1, 2014 - 4:35 pm

I think those choices are perfect. Good luck Lissi!

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Sarah March 31, 2014 - 7:16 pm

Hi Brenna! I saw these amazing bracelets a few weeks ago and have found myself longing one ever since. I have yet to truly start my traveling adventure, but I would definitely choose Italy and Budapest as my two starter steps, as both places hold great memories for me.
Thanks to Tom and Candace, and of course you too for the giveaway!
Keep writing about your inspirational travels πŸ™‚

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Brenna Holeman April 1, 2014 - 4:36 pm

Thank you, Sarah! Best of luck to you.

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Marie March 31, 2014 - 7:26 pm

Beautiful…what a great idea. I too would order (at least) one. But if lucky enough to win I would pick Scotland and Italy……two of my favs!

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Brenna Holeman April 1, 2014 - 4:37 pm

Excellent choices, Marie! Good luck.

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Michelle March 31, 2014 - 7:37 pm

Hello! I’ve had this bracelet on my birthday list for months now, and regardless of whether I win or not I’ll still be ordering one! As for the countries I’d choose, right now I’d say Ecuador and Northern Ireland, though I know I’ll be adding a lot more!
I look forward to reading your posts, and was especially happy when I read this one!

Thanks for this giveaway!
Michelle

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Brenna Holeman April 1, 2014 - 4:40 pm

Great to hear, Michelle! I’m glad that you like the blog. Good luck!

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Erin March 31, 2014 - 7:57 pm

These bracelets are so awesome! If I had to narrow it down to 2, I’d choose Thailand because it’s my absolute favourite country that I keep going back to, and Cambodia as the beauty and kindness of the people and the country really made a huge impression on me.

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Brenna Holeman April 1, 2014 - 4:41 pm

That’s great, good luck Erin!

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Veronica Arvizu March 31, 2014 - 7:58 pm

I am so grateful to be able to enter, I love the story of these bracelets and that it is supporting a couple, a real face, artisans and travelers. I would love to have the Mexico and Canada Country steps.
-Peace & love. β™₯

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Brenna Holeman April 1, 2014 - 4:41 pm

Wonderful choices, Veronica, good luck!

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Lauren H March 31, 2014 - 8:15 pm

I think the El Camino concept is a great one and love your principles on advertising on your blog! My picks would be Spain and Turkey, both countries that I have been to twice and would go back to in a heartbeat…

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Brenna Holeman April 1, 2014 - 4:42 pm

Awesome choices, Lauren, good luck!

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Megan Griffith March 31, 2014 - 8:20 pm

Heading to Peru for my 30th birthday in May! Actually found your blog because of all your posts on Peru. Love it and love these bracelets!

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Brenna Holeman April 1, 2014 - 4:43 pm

Amazing… my 30th is in May, too! Good luck, and have fun in Peru, it’s incredible…

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Michaela March 31, 2014 - 8:41 pm

Hello Brenna πŸ™‚
I just love the idea behind those bracelets!
Out of all countries I have visited my most precious memories are linked with my travels in Cambodia and Vietnam. I’ve been exploring these countries for one month with my love and those are the two I would pick for a starter kit. πŸ™‚

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Brenna Holeman April 1, 2014 - 4:44 pm

Sounds great, good luck Michaela!

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Sarah March 31, 2014 - 9:21 pm

I LOVE this idea and I’m really pleased to see they are made locally to me (I’m a Hampshire girl!). I would choose the Thailand and Botswana steps. Thailand was my first solo trip and I was so nervous to travel alone but I made some fantastic life long friends during my travels there and I will never forget that trip that infected me with the solo travel bug. The second step I would love is Botswana. Again I made some wonderful friends whilst roughing it in some very dusty campsites, a truly unique trip that I will cherish into my old age! Xx

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Brenna Holeman April 1, 2014 - 4:46 pm

Awesome choices – I’m headed to Botswana in a few weeks and I can’t wait! Good luck Sarah.

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Jessi March 31, 2014 - 9:27 pm

Wow – so fascinating to hear the story behind this company! I’d start with Vietnam and Italy, both countries I love so much for their food, people, and great travel memories! πŸ™‚

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Brenna Holeman April 1, 2014 - 4:37 pm

I know, their story is so cool! Good luck Jessi.

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Kirsten March 31, 2014 - 9:38 pm

Oh how I’ve been admiring these bracelets πŸ™‚ I would of course choose Australia given how I lived, studied, and was incredibly happy there (and also where my blog started!) and then Czech Republic. Being half Czech and spending time since I was a baby in Prague, I couldn’t go without it.

Hope you’re well, Brenna!

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Brenna Holeman April 1, 2014 - 4:38 pm

Good choices, Kirsten, they obviously mean a lot to you! Good luck.

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Sian March 31, 2014 - 9:39 pm

I have loved these bracelets and the concept for a while and am slowly building up by bracelet. For that reason, if I won this would not be for myself but for my sister-in-law who I know would love this too πŸ™‚ Cuba and Canada please!

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Brenna Holeman April 1, 2014 - 4:39 pm

Oh nice, good luck Sian!

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Kristina March 31, 2014 - 10:11 pm

I recently ordered a personalized one with my marriage place and date on it: Puerto Rico.had planned on doing a bracelet of my travels but would’ve filled two double ones already.i decided to focus on my future with my Hubby…
So for a starter bracelet (which I’m saving for both my Hubby and i) i would choose America and Nicaragua…America as we live here now since we married in 2012(he’s American and I’m Canadian)& Nicaragua as we are moving there next summer.I’d like to use these Bracelets to chronicle our journey around the world since we planning on moving and living on most of the continents over the next ten years. We will retire to life with a beach bar somewhere in south Asia, Philippines is the front runner at the moment
Out of all the charm bracelets available on the market,i think these are the best choice for travelers-they really embody how much countries and places become apart of us.
I’m definitely buying these bracelets for us-though winning would be lovely;)

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Brenna Holeman April 1, 2014 - 4:50 pm

Wow, what an amazing memory. I love that the bracelets can symbolise those things! I think that they are the best choice for travellers, too.

Good luck, Kristina!

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Tricia March 31, 2014 - 10:14 pm

This bracelet is definitely on my wish list! I would choose Australia because it’s the first country I ventured off to on my own and then I would choose India because that’s where I met you Brenna!! Can’t wait to start filling up this bracelet!! So many great countries with so many memories:). xx

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Brenna Holeman April 1, 2014 - 4:32 pm

Aw, that’s awesome. Thanks for making me smile today! Hope you’re well xx

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Kisha March 31, 2014 - 11:10 pm

Brenna I know how…special of a place this blog is for you and how much thought and consideration you put into mentioning any vendor/product on This Battered Suitcase so, for that reason, I know what a special company this must be and how much you must genuinely love their bracelets. It’s funny, I was just thinking of something similar so, though I’m not super well-traveled, I’ve been to a few places – with hopes for many more – and this would be the perfect way to commemorate the different places. If I win, I’d definitely start with Egypt and India. If I don’t win…well, I’ll just have to look into buying them πŸ™‚

Thanks for sharing.

xo

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Brenna Holeman April 1, 2014 - 4:31 pm

Thank you, Kisha, it is indeed a special place for me! So yes, I do love the bracelets and am happy to support them. Great choices in India and Egypt, I know that both countries hold a lot of meaning for you!

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Laura March 31, 2014 - 11:11 pm

I love the woven style of the bracelet! I would probably have the Australia Region Step and New Zealand Step! I love the colours of them all!

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Brenna Holeman April 1, 2014 - 4:30 pm

I know, they’re so beautiful. Good luck Laura!

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Jacquie March 31, 2014 - 11:25 pm

These bracelets are amazing!!!! I want to get one for myself as well as my bro’s gf. We’ve become really great friends bonding over traveling, she’s an inspiration for sure. We even traveled to Florida together last year and have other trips together in the works πŸ™‚

I would choose ENGLAND and SOUTH KOREA for mine!! England was the first place I traveled to when I was 18 and I’ve been back another 2 times since then. South Korea has been my most influential country so far and has really changed my life back home too. I’m taking Korean language classes, K-Pop dance lessons, and eat way more Korean food than I ever thought I would. And I get to go back this September, YAY!

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Brenna Holeman April 1, 2014 - 4:29 pm

Sounds like the bracelets are a perfect fit for both you and your brother’s girlfriend! Great choices, Jacquie, good luck.

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Tracy March 31, 2014 - 11:38 pm

Hi Brenna! I love this idea. When I was travelling I did the whole backpacker chic thing with a million bracelets up my arm, but slowly I had to bin them as they fell apart or became too gross. It would be awesome to have a reminder from each region / country in the form of a bracelet that looks dope AND like it would stand the course of time. My first 2 steps would probably be Zimbabwe (where I was born) & Colombia (one of my favourite countries). Good luck to me! πŸ™‚ x

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Brenna Holeman April 1, 2014 - 4:28 pm

Absolutely – good luck to you! Colombia is one of my favourite countries, too.

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Lauren March 31, 2014 - 11:45 pm

Love this! I would go with Vietnam and Thailand. πŸ™‚

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Brenna Holeman April 1, 2014 - 4:27 pm

Good choices! Good luck Lauren.

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Brea March 31, 2014 - 11:59 pm

I love these bracelets so much! I was actually about to order one for my sister and I.
I also found your blog recently and your type of blog is like one I hope to start in the near future. So honest! Ps. I would choose Canada and Spain :).

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Brenna Holeman April 1, 2014 - 4:25 pm

Wow, thanks Brea! Good luck… with both the competition and the blog!

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Hannah April 1, 2014 - 12:04 am

I love these bracelets! I’ve actually had my eye on one since you first wrote about them πŸ™‚

I would choose Mexico and Argentina. Both amazing countries that have a very special place in my heart <3

Thanks Brenna!

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Brenna Holeman April 1, 2014 - 4:25 pm

They hold a place in my heart, too! Good luck.

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Sam mcc April 1, 2014 - 1:38 am

Love these! And of corse, would have to get something Japan! Love reading about your journeys! Hope all is well… It seems it πŸ™‚

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Brenna Holeman April 1, 2014 - 4:09 pm

Thanks a lot, Sam! Good luck.

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Devie April 1, 2014 - 2:13 am

After much deliberation, I’ve narrowed my miles and countries to India & Cuba; my 2 grandest adventures!
I’m glad you posted about these bracelets…the camino is on my map, as well πŸ™‚

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Brenna Holeman April 1, 2014 - 4:10 pm

Oooo yes, I want the Cuba bead, too! Good choices.

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Valerie April 1, 2014 - 2:30 am

What an awesome idea! Reminds me of the charm bracelet I wore all the time as a kid! I think I would have to go with Tanzania and Thailand!

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Brenna Holeman April 1, 2014 - 4:08 pm

Yes, they’re like sophisticated charm bracelets! Good luck Valerie.

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Kim April 1, 2014 - 2:48 am

Wow, what a great idea for travelers! Thanks for sharing the story behind the company and explaining your support of them. If I won a starter kid, I would choose Peru and Chile because they are particularly close to my heart.

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Brenna Holeman April 1, 2014 - 4:08 pm

I want the Peru bead, too! Good choices, Kim, and good luck.

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Nikita April 1, 2014 - 3:24 am

Such a great memento…
Not to mention the creators sound awesome! Nice to hear that they were respectful of your stance on advertising, I’ve been reading your blog quite a bit and given your lack of product placement, I’m definitely more inclined to believe in a product you endorse.
I’d have to say, I’d choose Ireland and Ecuador! Such life-changing memories…

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Brenna Holeman April 1, 2014 - 4:06 pm

Yes, the creators are awesome! I’m really glad that you like the choices I’ve made on the blog, thank you.

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Val April 1, 2014 - 3:26 am

Wow I love this idea! It’s just great. The first 2 steps that I would choose would be first and foremost Hungary, the country where I spent two years of my adult life teaching English and which haven’t left my memory yet. I taught English in a public school in Budapest and it changed me forever! The second would be Japan, the country that first truly cemented my wanderlust. It was only my second time abroad, but going there was what first inspired me to teach abroad. It changed the course of my life! πŸ™‚

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Brenna Holeman April 1, 2014 - 4:05 pm

Excellent choices, Val! Good luck.

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Tuwana Vining April 1, 2014 - 4:39 am

I would choose South Korea and Spain. I plan to go to South Korea in a few years and eventually will make it to Spain, not sure what my future holds after that. Thank you for offering such an awesome product. Good luck and God Bless to you and yours.

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Brenna Holeman April 1, 2014 - 4:04 pm

Sounds great – good luck in the competition and with your travels!

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Glamourous Traveller April 1, 2014 - 5:22 am

Cute bracelets! Hmm, I guess for me it would have to be Malaysia and Netherlands. The place where I have left pieces of my heart

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Brenna Holeman April 1, 2014 - 4:04 pm

That’s a great reason to choose those countries, then. Good luck!

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Olivia April 1, 2014 - 5:25 am

This is really neat! I’d have to start off with Denmark and Belgium- the two countries I have amazing stories from. πŸ˜€

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Brenna Holeman April 1, 2014 - 4:03 pm

Those are great choices, good luck Olivia!

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Amie April 1, 2014 - 6:00 am

So beautiful! I’d choose England (for my year of living in London) and, I have no idea!! There’s too many to choose from! Either Canada for my home or Italy for my spiritual home πŸ™‚ Hoping to collect some more beads this summer when I head to wherever the cheap flights take me!

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Brenna Holeman April 1, 2014 - 3:59 pm

Those are great choices, Amie! Good luck.

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Rebecca April 1, 2014 - 6:42 am

Really glad you shared these! I love them! I am not a person who values possessions but I am with you, that sometimes the possessions that create a memory of an experience are the best ones. I have a ring on my finger from Bratislava that was 2 euros. I have never taken it off. I always get comments and feel so proud to be able to tell people that its from a fair away place. I also have a necklace with a charm that is a world map on an oyster, symbolising that the world is my oyster… these two pieces I never take off.

I would love a London and Sydney bead. Sydney being my home so a great place to start the collection and have it always being a reminded. London being where I lived for 2 years having started off the travels and also being one of my favorite places. the in between places I will fit in.

LOVE LOVE LOVE the business idea! It really connects with travelers

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Brenna Holeman April 1, 2014 - 3:58 pm

Yes, their business model is terrific! I am wearing a ring I bought for a few Euros right now, too, in Bulgaria. Sometimes those little things mean the most.

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Ruth April 1, 2014 - 8:47 am

I love these bracelets and have been eyeing up which beads to purchase first, there are so many that I want!!

I guess I would have to start with China and Korea, for the two places I have lived abroad. I would definitely want to add an Asia bead as well at some point. I’m living back in the UK now but my heart yearns for Asia everyday!

Keep up the good work Brenna, I love reading your blog and I really respect that you don’t have sponsored posts all over the place. It definitely makes me trust your writing and opinions more than others who seem to be out for all they can get for free!

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Brenna Holeman April 1, 2014 - 3:55 pm

Good luck Ruth! Great choices.

Thank you for letting me know about the blog… I’m glad that my decisions have resonated with readers!

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Lisa from Lulu's Big Adventure April 1, 2014 - 11:47 am

You’ve got me sold! It sounds like a wonderful idea, and I agree with you – jewellery makes for an awesome souvenir. I think I would choose Kenya and Argentina as my starter steps.

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Brenna Holeman April 1, 2014 - 4:12 pm

I’d love to go to Kenya! Hopefully I can add that bead to my bracelet one day πŸ˜‰

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Natalie April 1, 2014 - 11:50 am

I’ve been considering buying a starter kit since you first posted about El Camino Bracelets, so I’ve already put some thought into this! Picking my first bead has been easy. It would have to be South Africa, where I took my first overseas trip with a friend at 17. I fell head over heels in love with that country, and my experiences there really cemented my desire to travel.

My second bead has been harder to choose, because I’ve had wonderful experiences everywhere I’ve been. But if I had to narrow it down, it’d probably be Vietnam. I didn’t spend long there, but I felt so carefree and happy in that time, and I yearn to go back.

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Brenna Holeman April 1, 2014 - 3:54 pm

Good luck, Natalie… both beads sound like they hold a lot of meaning for you!

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Sarah April 1, 2014 - 2:00 pm

Love the bracelets! I would pick The Netherlands where I had my first overseas trip on my own and later moved for grad school, and Italy where I went on the most amazing honeymoon.

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Brenna Holeman April 1, 2014 - 3:54 pm

Sounds great – both wonderful countries! Good luck.

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Izzy April 1, 2014 - 6:24 pm

These bracelets are so lovely, and such a wonderful idea! I love hearing about small companies like this, and would love to support them. I think that I would want Eastern Europe, as that part if the world has always had special intrigue for me, and Scotland.

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Brenna Holeman April 1, 2014 - 9:14 pm

I love to support small companies, too! Good luck, Izzy…

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Dominique Adams April 1, 2014 - 6:47 pm

Amazing idea πŸ™‚ love that it’s two travellers using local stuff! I would go for Spain and Bulgaria! xx

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Brenna Holeman April 1, 2014 - 9:14 pm

Great choices, Dominique!

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Cynthia April 1, 2014 - 6:48 pm

Cool giveaway! I think I’d choose Scotland and Japan… two countries that were incredibly meaningful to me when I visited in 2012 and 1999/2000 respectively.

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Brenna Holeman April 1, 2014 - 9:15 pm

Those two places are very meaningful to me, too! Good luck, Cynthia…

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Ashley Marcos April 1, 2014 - 6:57 pm

LOVEEEEEEE these bracelets – actually completely obsessed!

I would choose Thailand and Australia … the reason I would choose these two is because in the past two years I have been blessed to have gone on two major adventures (one six week long adventure in 2012 to South East Asia and one seven week long adventure in 2013 to Australia). Thus I would choose Thailand as it was the first country I flew into in South East Asia (to symbolize my first travel journey) and then Australia (to symbolize my second travel journey)

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Brenna Holeman April 1, 2014 - 9:16 pm

Wow, amazing travels, Ashley. Good luck!

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Laughing Owl April 1, 2014 - 7:02 pm

I discovered these bracelets a few weeks ago and have been stalking them ever since in the hope of winning one! I really like you post, great to hear about the people behind the bracelets, off to have a nosey round your blog now!

Where would I chose? India for sure as that is where my heart is, the other maybe Hong Kong as it represents something much bigger!

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Brenna Holeman April 1, 2014 - 9:15 pm

Great, I hope you enjoy the blog! Good luck…

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Kelsey Fuerst April 1, 2014 - 7:02 pm

I have been searching for a way to document my travels in a meaningful way. I love the El Camino bracelets because it lets me do just that in a stylish way. I don’t need a huge memory box, or a photo album taking up space that I don’t have. With El Camino it’s compact, and I can take it with me wherever I decide to travel to next. The two steps I would like to include are Cuba and Australia. I have plans to backpack across Europe next year, so I can only imagine how my memories would grow.

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Brenna Holeman April 1, 2014 - 9:14 pm

Yes, that’s why I love the bracelet so much! Good luck Kelsey…

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Amy April 1, 2014 - 7:07 pm

Lovely idea. I”d choose Ibiza (cos it’s the first place I ever went abroad, with my parents, and we ended up going another 8 times after that) and Iceland cos I went last year and it’s just one of the best countries ever!

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Brenna Holeman April 1, 2014 - 9:13 pm

Cool, good luck Amy!

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Hannah April 1, 2014 - 7:09 pm

India and Cambodia. I spent a month in each. Both were amazing countries and I can’t wait to go back and discover more of both πŸ™‚

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Brenna Holeman April 1, 2014 - 9:13 pm

I agree! Good luck, Hannah.

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Melissa - The Mellyboo Project April 1, 2014 - 7:12 pm

Thank you so much for writing about Tom and Candace’s story! I first found out about El Camino bracelets a few months ago when another blogger mentioned something about it. Ever since I’ve been dying to get my paws on one. I’m not into the whole “Pandora” bracelet trend, but the El Camino one is definitely a bracelet I could see myself wearing.

I’d love to have a bracelet to document my own personal travel story – Australia, NZ, 9 African countries, the Dominican Republic (where I met the love of my life)… etc.

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Brenna Holeman April 1, 2014 - 9:13 pm

I am not really a Pandora person either, but I love the El Camino! Good luck, Melissa…

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Erin Hughes April 1, 2014 - 7:45 pm

I’ve been in love with these bracelets since I saw their page on facebook. If I were to win one, I would love a Switzerland step (first solo trip and ended up staying for three months) and Egypt. Then I could work on adding all my other steps!!

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Brenna Holeman April 1, 2014 - 9:12 pm

Excellent choices, Erin! I definitely want to collect more. Good luck.

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Linda April 1, 2014 - 7:52 pm

You know how much I love your bracelet! I think I will be ordering one for myself…a new twist on the “old” charm bracelet…what a great idea.

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Brenna Holeman April 1, 2014 - 9:10 pm

Yes, I love the idea! It matches so well with my other jewellery…

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Alexandra Lockley April 1, 2014 - 8:55 pm

This is such a difficult decision! I’d have to go with France as I lived there for a year and got engaged in Paris and then Finland for memories from an amazing trip! πŸ™‚ X

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Brenna Holeman April 1, 2014 - 9:10 pm

Great choices, Alexandra!

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Jillian April 1, 2014 - 9:28 pm

Absolutely love the bracelet! I’m a teenage traveller, and I caught the travel bug years ago when I was really young! This is the perfect way to remember all the travel experiences that I’ve had. It’s so hard to choose just 2 places, but if I had to, I would probably choose Morocco and India! Beautiful countries!

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Brenna Holeman April 1, 2014 - 9:37 pm

Agreed, they are beautiful countries! Good luck Jillian.

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Sheila April 1, 2014 - 9:31 pm

What a fantastic idea. Love the bracelet. I would love to have a Vietnam and Egypt bead!

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Brenna Holeman April 1, 2014 - 9:37 pm

Great choices, Sheila! Good luck.

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Maria April 1, 2014 - 10:26 pm

I absolutly love the idea and the bracelet! I discovered El Camino through Twitter about 1 month ago. I had already decided to offer my daughter a starter bracelet for her 21st birthday this summer. I was going to choose Costa Rica (a high school trip she took 5 years ago) and Peru (a family trip we took 10 years ago and she is going back in 3 weeks from now πŸ™‚ ).

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Brenna Holeman April 2, 2014 - 10:12 am

Aw, that’s terrific. Good luck, Maria!

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Steph C April 2, 2014 - 4:17 am

I would choose Canada (my birthplace and home), and France (the country of my dreams where I will be studying soon for an exchange semester!) πŸ™‚ Thanks for hosting this giveaway!

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Brenna Holeman April 2, 2014 - 10:12 am

Great choices… you know Canada is close to my heart, too! πŸ˜‰

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Marleen April 2, 2014 - 5:28 am

I have fallen in love with these bracelets, even though I don’t have one. My travels mean the world to me, and I think it’d be such a cool way to always have a visual reminder of them! I would choose France, as I spent a few months studying there which impacted my life immensely, as well as Turkey, because it was one of the most eye opening experiences of my life, and one of the most eccentric and harmonious countries I have ever visited. It’s hard to pick just two however!

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Brenna Holeman April 2, 2014 - 10:13 am

It’s so hard to pick just two, I know! France and Turkey are wonderful picks, though.

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James April 2, 2014 - 9:13 am

I’m a dude and I’ll check them out. I’ll he the best marketing for you guys πŸ™‚

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Brenna Holeman April 2, 2014 - 10:11 am

The bracelets are unisex, so they’re great for everyone!

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Lara April 2, 2014 - 1:21 pm

I would choose Malaysia and Italy, the bracelets are really nice.

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Brenna Holeman April 2, 2014 - 3:06 pm

Nice choices, Lara! Good luck.

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Katie April 2, 2014 - 3:50 pm

What a great idea!

I would definitely choose Myanmar and Jordan as my two country steps – both places that I had wanted to visit for ages before I started travelling last year!

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Brenna Holeman April 2, 2014 - 3:51 pm

I’m dying to visit Jordan! Great choices, Katie.

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Meggie Kay April 2, 2014 - 3:53 pm

I’ve heard about El Camino bracelets before and been waiting until I get enough extra cash for one (tight traveller budget, you know). They seem just my style!
Germany and Singapore are first on my list since those are the 2 foreign countries I lived in as an adult. They are extra close to my heart. πŸ™‚

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Brenna Holeman April 2, 2014 - 4:41 pm

Awesome – I’m glad you like the bracelets, I’m so happy to support them! Good luck with the competition.

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Jenny April 2, 2014 - 4:14 pm

Hi Brenna, thanks for this post! What an awesome way to keep memories with you all the time. Instead of souvenirs that collect dust!

I would love one of the beads from Poland (my heritage), Africa (my favorite destination) or the US (where I live).

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Brenna Holeman April 2, 2014 - 4:40 pm

Excellent choices, Jenny – I love choosing beads that represent countries that mean a lot to me, too!

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Elisa Beriau April 2, 2014 - 4:22 pm

Very cool business idea, indeed! And I have a soft spot for family businesses as well.

I would choose the Mexico step since I have spent my life traveling all over that country and love it dearly. I would also choose the Netherlands step since I traveled there to play soccer as a teenager. Holland was so beautiful and the people were so friendly.

Thanks for writing such honest, engaging stories! I love to read your blog when I cannot travel myself. Keep up the inspiring work!

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Brenna Holeman April 2, 2014 - 4:40 pm

Thank you so much, Elisa, I’m so happy you’re enjoying the blog! Good luck with the competition.

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Jessica - Curiosity Travels April 2, 2014 - 4:38 pm

This is such a fantastic idea!! I might have to just buy some myself anyway !

I think I’d go with Argentina (the first place I lived abroad) and Spain (where I live now)! πŸ™‚

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Brenna Holeman April 2, 2014 - 4:39 pm

I just put through a huge order… they’re addictive! Good luck Jessica…

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Helois April 2, 2014 - 4:41 pm

Love it, I’m checking out thier site next. I would choose Ireland and England, the 2 countries that jump started my love of travel.

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Brenna Holeman April 3, 2014 - 2:34 am

Awesome, good luck!

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Eliane April 2, 2014 - 4:50 pm

I’d choose Colombia as I just came back from a two weeks trip 2 days ago and Bali, just for the memories.

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Brenna Holeman April 3, 2014 - 2:35 am

Great choices, Eliane!

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Annora April 2, 2014 - 4:51 pm

I bought an EC Bracelet for my sister for her Birthday. Not only was it the wrong size (I apparently thought JB had the wrist size of a tiny infant) but it was a colour she said she liked, but her face said something completely different. Tom and Candace have been so awesome in helping me fix my mistake, reminding me that I’m not a terrible sister. I bought her a bad ass gift after all…just in the wrong size and colour.

I’m going to throw caution to the wind and pick 3 countries instead of two.

Canada – My first home
England – My second home
Germany – The first country I could never get enough of…I go back more frequently than I go home. It has an inexplicable chokehold on my heart.

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Brenna Holeman April 3, 2014 - 12:51 pm

Good to know that they were so understanding! Well, I could have predicted that, really. Aren’t they awesome bracelets? Good luck with the competition!

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Toni April 2, 2014 - 5:17 pm

I actually love the story behind the bracelets and the company just as much as the accessory itself. So much better than a Pandora; your travels will be with you wherever you go and you only have to look at your bracelet to remember some amazing times πŸ™‚

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Brenna Holeman April 3, 2014 - 1:21 pm

Yes, they’re beautiful! I never take mine off.

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Katie April 2, 2014 - 6:39 pm

I don’t normally go for charm bracelets, but I love the ethos behind these, and I love travelling – I can see how adding more and more beads could get addictive! If I won, I’d start off with a China bead (where I lived for a year and met my fiance) and a US one, where I’m moving to (hopefully) this year!

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Brenna Holeman April 3, 2014 - 1:18 pm

That’s what I love about them, too! The story behind them. Good luck, Katie!

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Katy April 2, 2014 - 8:53 pm

I love this idea!! I’ve been looking for small clutter-free souveniers that I can use and not bury in the back of a draw. I would choose Rome because it was my first solo adventure and Berlin because it’s a fun, exciting city and my bad choice of travel companion there inspired me to start travelling alone!!

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Brenna Holeman April 3, 2014 - 1:21 pm

Ha ha – that’s a good reason to choose Berlin! Good luck.

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yana April 2, 2014 - 9:41 pm

I would chose Iceland and Ireland. Both are island but bot are so different in their beauty, I cant decide which one I love more… I would also probably choose Equatorial Guinea just to see if they have it πŸ˜‰

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Brenna Holeman April 3, 2014 - 1:19 pm

They have every country in the world!

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archer April 2, 2014 - 10:08 pm

Oh awesome! This is so me – I would totally sport this, especially now that I’m less on the road and more in a 9-5 job environment. I remember I used to write down the names of the cities on the insides of my hand bags as a reminder, along with little notes like ‘i left my heart here’…

I’d go for a France bead- where I met my now husband and Nepal- our honemoon destination!!

Oh and I live in MontrΓ©al, Canada.

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Brenna Holeman April 3, 2014 - 1:19 pm

That’s a really cute idea, Archer. Good luck with the competition!

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Cheryl Hayduk April 2, 2014 - 11:52 pm

Travel is my passion too! And my saving grace as well. After losing my 18 year old son just over 13 years ago, traveling has helped me hold on to my sanity and given me something to look forward to with anticipation. I don’t wear much jewelry- but what I do wear I never take off and it all has special significance to me. Around my neck I wear a vial with some of my son’s ashes and an angel medallion in his memory. On my wrist are three simple silver bracelets – all from trips to St Croix. I like to keep it simple and meaningful. This El Camino bracelet would hold that same significance to me – a symbol of all the places I have traveled to – and all of the places in the world where I have spread small amounts of my son’s ashes. I’d have to pick Italy and Ecuador as my starter beads! Keep traveling!!!

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Brenna Holeman April 3, 2014 - 1:20 pm

Wow, what a beautiful thing to do, Cheryl. I agree that jewellery can hold so much meaning. Good luck with the competition!

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yasamin April 3, 2014 - 12:34 am

The Carribean, because I will never forget the experience of snorkeling with my mom and sisters for the first time on the Cayman Islands. And a US one, because I’m about to leave the states (my home of 21 years) to live abroad in Paris as an expat for the very first time

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Brenna Holeman April 3, 2014 - 12:49 pm

Oh lovely, have fun in Paris! Good luck with the competition.

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Lisa April 3, 2014 - 1:48 am

Love your blog Brenna!
The first two steps I would pick would represent my heritage – Poland and Germany.

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Brenna Holeman April 3, 2014 - 2:33 am

Thanks, Lisa! Good choices.

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Kerre Cole April 3, 2014 - 7:57 am

I would love one for Argentina bead and Macchu Picchu:)

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Brenna Holeman April 3, 2014 - 12:50 pm

Nice choices, good luck!

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Janelle April 3, 2014 - 11:58 am

Have been enjoying your blog since I first came across it – keep having adventures for me to enjoy, wish I had started so much younger. These bracelets are such a great idea! But so hard to choose just two countries! I think for starters Austria and Costa Rica, then I will have to go and order about 50 others!!!

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Brenna Holeman April 3, 2014 - 12:46 pm

Thank you very much Janelle… but it’s never too late to travel. πŸ™‚

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Morgan April 3, 2014 - 2:58 pm

I love the idea of having a small physical reminder of your adventures that you can take everywhere you go. I’d love to put together an El Camino bracelet for my most recent trip in South America and the USA. To start off with i’d choose Argentina, our first stop, and Ecuador, as a reminder of volunteering in the Galapagos.

Thanks for such a lovely giveaway. Also props to Tom and Candace for coming up with such an awesome product!

Morgan

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Brenna Holeman April 3, 2014 - 3:12 pm

Yes, Candace and Tom deserve those props! Great choices, Morgan, good luck.

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Lou - Wayward Adventure April 4, 2014 - 5:53 am

Oh I love these! I’m a big fan of collecting memories from experiences, and travelling is the biggest experience list I have!

I think if I were to win I would go with the USA because I moved to Chicago in 2012 for a year, and this was my first huge travel experience riding solo, and Indonesia, because Bali was the first place I ever traveled to.

Thanks for the great competition!

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Brenna Holeman April 4, 2014 - 10:55 am

Awesome choices, Lou… good luck with the competition!

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Louise April 4, 2014 - 11:24 am

This is the most beautiful thing I have seen, such an amazing idea for a keepsake of memories that you can carry around on your all day every day.

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Brenna Holeman April 4, 2014 - 1:07 pm

I know, they’re so beautiful! I’m obsessed.

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Emma White April 4, 2014 - 2:47 pm

At the age of 30 I finally managed to achieve my dream of traveling the world, I am currently in Vietnam and have loved my trip so far and hope to be able to continue travelling to amazing places around the world in the future. I think this would be a beautiful way to remember my trip every day once I have to go back to the ‘real world’. I’ll have to buy one if I don’t win anyway! My choices would be India and Thailand as they were the first places I visited and I volunteered in both countries and so they hold special memories of good times and friendships made.

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Brenna Holeman April 7, 2014 - 1:57 pm

That’s so great that you’re travelling so much, Emma! Excellent choices for your beads. Good luck!

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Carole April 5, 2014 - 1:42 am

I love the bracelets. My two choices would be France because it is the first European country my husband and I visited and India. My two sisters and I traveled to India for a memorable trip after hearing our Dad talk about it when we were young. This is a wonderful reminder of the joys of travel.

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Brenna Holeman April 5, 2014 - 11:10 am

I also chose the India bead… I should order France, too! Great choices, Carole.

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Melanie April 5, 2014 - 7:08 am

Hi Brenna,
I love following your travel adventures on your blog and instagram .. We share the passion for travel!!
Absolutely adore these bracelets, the memories they represent and the ethics and story of the creators. The two steps I’d start with are Myanmar and Bhutan .. amazing and enchanting countries that I’m so grateful to have visited.
Will definitely be buying a bracelet if the competition gods don’t smile upon me. πŸ˜‰

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Brenna Holeman April 5, 2014 - 11:11 am

Wow, excellent choices. I also have the Myanmar bead. I’m dying to go to Bhutan… I can only imagine how incredible it is!

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Emily April 5, 2014 - 10:50 am

Hey Brenna! This is such a great idea for a company and I think Tom is absolutely right, an endorsement from you is so much more convincing than any ad could be. If I got a starter bracelet I think I’d like a Germany bead and a Hungary bead. Germany because I’m studying there right now (originally from the US) and because my move to Germany is what prompted me to start traveling in Europe. Hungary because the time I spent there visiting a friend was really eye-opening and a hell of a lot of fun.

(I’m a bit embarrassed that it’s taken a giveaway to get me to comment here for the first time, but hopefully I’ll be less of a lurker in the future.)

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Brenna Holeman April 5, 2014 - 11:12 am

Don’t worry, I have definitely been a lurker on many sites before. Hopefully you’ll comment here more often, now! And good luck with the competition…

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Briana April 5, 2014 - 11:20 am

Such a tough choice! If I had to chose just two countries, I would go with Turkey and Cambodia. Random choices perhaps, but both hold a big place in my heart! I spent many of my best years as a child in Turkey. While Cambodia is just one of the countries that stole my heart.

I would eventually like to have an entire bracelet just dedicated to the places that I have called home: USA, Germany, Turkey, and South Korea. I have a feeling that once I buy one, I just won’t be able to stop. (not a good thing for my travel savings! ;))

Great giveaway!

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Brenna Holeman April 6, 2014 - 10:36 am

Good luck, Briana! I don’t think any choices are random, we all have those countries that have shaped our lives. That’s why I have my Guatemala bead right next to my Myanmar bead right next to my Morocco bead…….

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Sarah Billy April 6, 2014 - 4:19 am

So hard to choose! I think Laos and Botswana though. Thanks for sharing these bracelets, I love the idea of filling them up with places I have been!

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Brenna Holeman April 6, 2014 - 10:36 am

Great choices, Sarah! Good luck.

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venus April 6, 2014 - 2:22 pm

Wow this is such a great idea! it’s like pandora for travellers. I thought that this was brilliant since it won’t be too messy like collecting the individual bracelets from different countries.
I’d love to have a Singapore and China because even though I wasn’t born in Singapore, I had grown up in that country, and China because It’s just beautiful <3

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Brenna Holeman April 6, 2014 - 11:56 pm

Great reasons to choose those beads, Venus! Good luck with the competition.

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Jacquie April 6, 2014 - 11:38 pm

Seriously cannot stop thinking about these bracelets. It’s been in my head all week. Thinking of more and more friends I want to buy them for as gifts! Thanks for this post Brenna πŸ™‚

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Brenna Holeman April 6, 2014 - 11:54 pm

Oh awesome, I’m glad that you like them! I just bought one for my sister and for a close friend.

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Kei April 7, 2014 - 1:00 pm

I know this comment will not get put on your site and I know you will probably disregard and delete it before even finishing reading it, but this post proves you to be a sell out and here’s why,
– A no advert policy is a no advert policy! It doesn’t matter how much you endorse the product or how good the product is. I doesn’t even matter how much you love them and how brilliant they are.
– Your claim to be different! Once you step on the commerce trail you can never get off. If you are only going to advertise companies who have β€˜nice people’ in them, then there are thousands upon thousands of companies with β€˜nice people’, where are you going to stop? If you do it for one…
If you do get to reading as far as this then I hope you take note of these points, as one of the main things that makes your blog stand out above the rest is your honesty to your readers. I have been reading your blog for over two years and I have always enjoyed it, but this post makes me feel insulted and lied to. I am sorry you have chosen this path.

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Brenna Holeman April 7, 2014 - 1:55 pm

Dear Kei,

First of all, I’m sorry that you feel insulted and lied to, that was never my intention. And while I value your opinion (and certainly don’t shy away from approving these sorts of comments) I have to disagree with you. I think my business model (because blogging is definitely a business) is quite transparent, and I don’t believe I’ve deviated from that model. Moreover, I don’t judge people who do take their blog to a commercial level. There is a lot of money to be made in blogging, and I turn down money in sponsored links and advertising opportunities every month. That’s been difficult at times, especially as it would allow me to travel even more, but I’ve always maintained that I want to keep this blog as honest as possible, and only recommend the things that I truly love.

Your line about the “no advert policy” doesn’t quite make sense, especially if you have indeed been reading my blog for the past two years. I’ve often recommended hostels, restaurants, tours, airlines, and products. Don’t believe me? Click here and here and here and here and here and here and basically every single location-specific post I’ve ever written. People want and need this kind of specific information. How is this any different? Because it is a product? I’ve been recommending products for years, this is just the first time that I’ve actually given one away. As it says on my Media/PR page, and even in this very post, there is no paid advertising anywhere on the blog. Nobody has paid me to put these links in. El Camino certainly didn’t. Sure, they gave me a free bracelet, but I have also paid them nearly Β£150 buying gifts for my friends and family. I fell in love with the bracelets, and thought it would be a nice idea to give one to a reader as a thank you. I see absolutely nothing wrong with that, and do not consider that “selling out”; I think that most other people would agree, as I did not benefit financially in any way from El Camino. I got a copy of Into Thin Air for free, did I sell out then, too?

Yes, Tom and Candace are wonderfully nice people, and I love working with them. And yes, I will indeed work with other companies that I admire and support. One of my upcoming posts is about a charity supporting young womens’ menstrual health in Kenya; I will link to their website and ask for donations. One of the reasons I’m working for them is because I personally like them so much… yes, they’re “nice people”. I am not benefitting financially in any way by helping this charity. Again, is that selling out?

I have always been and will always be honest to readers, and I’m so thankful and so in awe of the amazing community that has grown out of This Battered Suitcase. Sometimes I want to be able to give back to that community by offering postcards, gifts, discounts, and whatever else can help someone out or brighten someone’s day. I am sorry, too, sorry that this was the first time you felt the need to comment.

p.s. I guess you don’t want me to enter your name in the giveaway?!

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Helen April 7, 2014 - 3:30 pm

Hi Brenna,

I 100% agree with you and don’t think you’ve sold out at all. Bloggers recommend products all the time, that’s what we do!! And like you say, it’s not paid advertising anyway!!!

Plus, it’s your blog, so you can do what you like.

I already have an El Camino bracelet (which I love), but if I didn’t, I would be entering too.

H x

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Brenna Holeman April 7, 2014 - 5:01 pm

Thanks for the support, Helen! I really respect you and your blogging morals so I’m so happy to see you’re on the same page. At the end of the day, as you said, a blog is a personal thing that should allow for personal choices.

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Helen April 7, 2014 - 3:35 pm

ps. It’s not like you’ve been feeding anyone horse meat unwittingly for years… πŸ™‚

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Brenna Holeman April 7, 2014 - 5:02 pm

And ohhhhhhh how this made me laugh. You’re amazing.

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Clea Harbison April 7, 2014 - 1:12 pm

these are so great! i am about to head overseas to Brazil and Argentina to meet my bf for his 30th – he has been travelling for some months now so it will definitely be a memorable trip! which is why i would love to win Brazil and Argentina on a bracelet! thanks for the chance πŸ™‚

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Brenna Holeman April 7, 2014 - 1:26 pm

Excellent choices, Clea! Good luck.

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Em Moulson April 7, 2014 - 1:55 pm

Hi Brenna,

You;re not wrong, gorgeous bracelets and a great idea. I’m going off on my first solo trip to a country I’ve longed to see for years – India, so my two would be Inida, and Peru, which I’m planning to visit next πŸ™‚

Thanks for the blog, I’ve just stumbled across it today and it’s inspiring me completely!

Em x

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Brenna Holeman April 7, 2014 - 3:28 pm

Oh wow, that sounds like an amazing journey! I hope that you’ll keep reading the blog, I do have some posts about India. Thanks a lot for your comment, and good luck with the giveaway!

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Cydney April 7, 2014 - 3:17 pm

Country #1 – Morocco! I’ve been living here for the past 4 months. Morocco is my first time living abroad and the first step on my first solo travel experience. I’ve dreamed of travel for so long and Morocco was the place where those dreams are now becoming a reality.

Country #2 – Portugal! The first time I traveled on my own and I got to experience Lisbon, which is now one of my favorite cities ever. It was a wonderful time and I learned a lot about myself and had my faith in humanity restored by the generosity and hospitality of many wonderful people.

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Brenna Holeman April 7, 2014 - 3:26 pm

Amazing choices, Cydney… although I’m biased, as I have both of those beads! I agree with what you said about both Morocco and Portugal. Good luck!

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Reyma April 7, 2014 - 3:21 pm

Hi, Brenna.
I’d choose Philippines, because that’s where I’m from.and Japan, because it’s in my top5 dream destinations! πŸ˜€
I love your blog. I love the diversity of your topics. I love your photos, your charm bracelets, your fashion style as a traveller.
And I need to mention I love that El Nido sunset you got to capture when you were here in the Philippines! πŸ˜€
You inspire me!

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Brenna Holeman April 7, 2014 - 3:26 pm

Aw, thank you so much, Reyma. I absolutely loved El Nido and I am dying to go back. Thank you for all of your kind words here… good luck in the giveaway!

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Erin McMullan April 7, 2014 - 3:24 pm

I love this idea! I would choose United Arab Emirates and Scotland to start off with. I’ve been to half a dozen other countries, but those two trips were without a doubt the most special.

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Brenna Holeman April 7, 2014 - 3:25 pm

Oh nice, I would love to have a Scotland bead, too! Good luck, Erin.

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Liz April 7, 2014 - 3:31 pm

These look amazing. I would definitely choose Poland, because that is where my extended family lives, and one of the first countries i visited; and Chile, because that is the first county my sister and I visited together and I can not wait to go back.

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Brenna Holeman April 7, 2014 - 3:34 pm

Great choices, Liz! I love that the beads are connected to your family. Good luck!

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Kara Basmayor April 7, 2014 - 4:16 pm

Awwwwww beautiful! I would love to have an El Camino Bracelet. A memory and inspirational bracelet. Singapore (my first solo travel) and Italy or Greece (for my ultimate solo travel dream) will be on my first collection. A good way to remind me of awesome memories and also to inspire me to never stop dreaming and travelling.

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Brenna Holeman April 7, 2014 - 5:00 pm

Those are great choices, Kara! I love that it is a way to remind me of my favourite memories. I often find myself just staring at the bracelet…

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Dani April 7, 2014 - 6:49 pm

Love these and want one, but I’m afraid it would fuel my wanderlust even more! Oh well πŸ™‚ If I were to start with a couple pieces, I would start with Greece and Bolivia – two very different countries that stole my heart!

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Brenna Holeman April 8, 2014 - 3:51 am

Great choices, Dani! I agree, it only fuels my wanderlust. Good luck!

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Chiara Creates April 7, 2014 - 7:18 pm

Lovely review! I would like South Africa and Zambia πŸ™‚

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Brenna Holeman April 8, 2014 - 3:52 am

Thanks, Chiara! I’m off to both of those countries this month, I can’t wait. Good luck with the giveaway!

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Steph April 7, 2014 - 7:45 pm

I think this is an amazing idea!! Travelling in my favourite thing in the world – I have bucket list of places I plan to visit and this is so perfect.

I would choose Greece & Italy – I did a big Euro trip this past summer and those were two of my favourite places ever.

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Brenna Holeman April 8, 2014 - 3:53 am

Awesome, Steph! Glad to hear that so many people also love travelling. Good luck!

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Aoibhin McNeill April 7, 2014 - 7:52 pm

I would love to have an El camino bracelet! I would choose Kenya and France, two countries where I had the best experiences of my life!

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Brenna Holeman April 8, 2014 - 3:53 am

Excellent choices! Good luck with the giveaway.

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Paulina Johansson April 7, 2014 - 10:53 pm

I love to travel so much and I think this is an amazing idea! I would choose India and USA. I’m from Sweden and those countries and the experiences I had there were the best of my life and it helped me grow so much! It’s a part of who I am and I would love to carry them on me.

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Brenna Holeman April 8, 2014 - 3:54 am

I agree – the places we’ve been become a part of who we are. Good luck, Paulina!

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Patricia April 8, 2014 - 12:38 am

This idea is brilliant! I would choose Spain and France.

Also I would like to say that as a reader, I really appreciate your total transparency when talking about your lack of intention in making money with this blog and all your philosophy around adverts. It really makes me trust what I read and believe even more in what you post when talking about any business like El Camino.

Keep writting and traveling! πŸ™‚ x

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Brenna Holeman April 8, 2014 - 3:56 am

Thank you so much, Patricia, I really, really appreciate your comment. I maintain that I am always completely honest and I vow to always be totally transparent on this blog – if anything is ever paid for or compensated, I will be clear about that. I will only ever recommend the things and places that I truly support and love! Good luck with the giveaway, and happy travels.

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Vicki April 8, 2014 - 6:41 am

I would love one of these, I’ve only just come across them and thing they are just awesome. My first two countries would have to be Cambodia and Thailand, two favourites from a six week adventure last year.

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Brenna Holeman April 8, 2014 - 4:21 pm

Yes, aren’t the bracelets great? Good luck, Vicki!

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Sian April 8, 2014 - 12:15 pm

These bracelets look great! I would choose France as my first country because the many family holidays to France started off my wanderlust to experience more of the world. I would choose Australia as my second country because the 6 weeks I spent there volunteering was my first solo trip πŸ˜€

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Brenna Holeman April 8, 2014 - 4:20 pm

Great reasons to choose those beads, Sian! Good luck.

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Merinda April 9, 2014 - 2:28 pm

Such a great idea, I’ve been checking it out since you first mentioned it on Facebook and thinking it would be a perfect birthday present to myself. I would pick Nepal and New Zealand, countries that fuel my love of trekking and tramping respectively!

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Brenna Holeman April 10, 2014 - 9:00 pm

Excellent choices, Merinda! Good luck.

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Mary S. April 10, 2014 - 6:03 pm

I would love to win one and I would pick Cambodia and China as my first two country steps. They’re two of my very favourite countries in all the world. Even if I don’t win one, I am seriously thinking about buying one from what you’ve written about them! They’re a bit expensive but so beautiful and I like the idea of it.

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Brenna Holeman April 10, 2014 - 9:01 pm

They are a bit expensive but they’re totally worth it… they’re really durable and the beads are stunning! Good luck, Mary.

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Gilly O' S April 11, 2014 - 10:23 am

So nice to hear there are some genuine people behind the El Camino company I’d choose Senegal and Guatemala (going there this summer! Cant wait!)
Love the blog, keep up the good work!
Gilly (Ireland)

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Brenna Holeman April 11, 2014 - 7:32 pm

They are indeed very genuine, which is why I wanted to write about them! Good luck with the giveaway.

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Claire April 11, 2014 - 10:54 pm

What a great idea! πŸ™‚ I would choose Spain (where I spent an amazing summer) and South-Korea (where I’ll hopefully be going someday soon)..
And by the way: Awesome blog! I love reading about your amazing travel adventures!
Greets from Germany πŸ˜€

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Brenna Holeman April 12, 2014 - 12:19 pm

Thank you so much, Claire! I’m really glad that you’re enjoying the blog. Good luck with the giveaway!

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Helen April 12, 2014 - 2:07 pm

These bracelets are gorgeous and such a good idea! I would choose Germany as it is a place I instantly feel in love with after going to. I would also choose Japan as that is the place where I first traveled to alone and also where I currently live.

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Brenna Holeman April 12, 2014 - 2:09 pm

Great choices, Helen! Good luck.

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Brenna Holeman April 13, 2014 - 12:11 pm

The giveaway is now closed! A winner will be notified shortly. Thank you!

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Maria April 13, 2014 - 12:31 pm

I used to have four top destinations. I choose Vietnam because it was the first among the four. My second pick is Australia because I am inlove with the country and with someone from there!.

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The Perfect Gifts for a Traveller - This Battered Suitcase December 5, 2014 - 2:20 am

[…] Honourable mentions go to: health insurance (boring but practical),Β immunisations (ditto), a silk sleeping bag (so luxurious), map-print clothing (this exists, and it’s amazing), travel-y jewellery/scarves/bags (you know what I mean, but I personally prefer toΒ buy those things for myself when I travel), an El Camino bracelet.Β  […]

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2014: A Year in Review - This Battered Suitcase December 28, 2014 - 1:30 am

[…] The Story of El Camino Bracelets […]

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Abi Johnson March 18, 2015 - 3:25 pm

Love these! Such a great idea, and I was looking for a new bracelet!
Choosing: Greece and the Czech Republic

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Foreign Geek | Life Update: Singapore, Bruce Jenner, Snapchat and Flirting in French - Foreign Geek April 30, 2015 - 2:07 am

[…] got myself an Elcamino bracelet! I have been wanting it ever since I saw Brenna wore it more than a year ago. I finally ordered one to celebrate my new job. Actually, I will […]

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Clazz - An Orcadian Abroad November 13, 2015 - 3:21 am

I love these! I was going to order one for myself when I return from my travels but I might have to see if I can get one for Christmas! πŸ™‚ They deserve more publicity on blogs.

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Brenna Holeman November 13, 2015 - 7:32 am

Awesome, I hope you get one soon! They’re wonderful bracelets.

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Sarah Poulter April 11, 2016 - 2:32 pm

These are my favourite bracelets, I bought one for my best friend as we love to explore places together, she loved it and they honestly make amazing presents….I’d love an Austria and Belgium bead… Two of my favourite destinations!

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Indonesia Expat Diary Blog Series: Month 7th - Kulture Kween May 2, 2017 - 12:41 pm

[…] got myself an Elcamino bracelet! I have been wanting it ever since I saw Brenna wore it more than a year ago. I finally ordered one to celebrate my new job. Actually, I will […]

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