Shopping and Markets
If you follow any major travel websites, blogs, or Pinterest boards, chances are you’ve heard something along the lines of “experiences, not possessions” or maybe you’ve read about people who never buy souvenirs, preferring to travel light or to save their money.
And while I appreciate all of those arguments – I’d much rather have plane tickets than a designer purse, for example – I am one of those people who ALWAYS buys souvenirs. In fact, I’ve bought souvenirs (sometimes multiple souvenirs) in every country I’ve been to, even if it’s something as small as a thimble or a postcard. I have lugged bags full of knick knacks all over the world, sent boxes full of treasures home, and budgeted souvenir shopping into every trip I’ve taken. Some may call that materialistic, but I just call it sentimental.
Because the fact is, I LOVE looking at the souvenirs I’ve brought home from around the world. I love walking around my flat and picking them up. I love remembering where I was when I bought it, or who I bought it with, or who I bought it from. I love surrounding myself with little memories of my travels. Of course, I have photos and journals, too, but there’s something about having a little piece of a place to yourself.
As we said goodbye, she lifted one hand up in a half-wave, her bracelets glinting in the sun. She had beautiful silver hair that nearly reached her waist, and I remember turning around again and again to wave until I could no longer see the flash of her.
My time in South America was nearly over, my bag full of sand and souvenirs, my journal laden with nine months of memories. Like all good things, the trip had gone by too quickly, and I was left with very little time to explore Brazil. I had already spent three months in Central America, bussing from Belize to Panama and then sailing to Colombia, where I started a six month overland journey down to Brazil.
I was on the last leg of my trip when I met her.
Of the countries I’ve been to, I loved my Indian wardrobe the best. My biggest piece of advice, no matter where you go, is to shop locally. My dream is to one day arrive in a place like Thailand or India with a completely empty backpack and purchase all of my clothing there; not only is it usually much cheaper than clothes in Canada or the UK, but you’ll have a lot more fun with your fashion. Here are a few of the things I wore while in India.
I didn’t know much about Limerick; I knew about the famous five-line poems and Angela’s Ashes, but that was about it. I had actually seen the outskirts of Limerick years ago as a teenager, when I cycled through a few Irish counties on a family holiday. I also knew, vaguely, that Limerick had a bit of reputation in Ireland and elsewhere. Because of it, I think that some people choose Dublin or Galway or Cork as a holiday destination instead.
So, mind open and camera ready, I was eager to see Limerick for myself. I made sure to go there with a blank slate, to let the city write its own narrative for me. And, in only a few short days, I found a whole lot to love about Limerick. Here are just a few reasons why you should consider going there yourself.
I am a total packrat, and I shop too much. This is a terrible combination, especially as someone who travels a lot. If you have been following this blog long enough, you may remember a few posts I did on the house I own in Canada (here, here, and here) – I have never been one to hide the fact that I love buying things while I’m abroad. I’m always the one with the backpack that’s too heavy, but hey, I’m really good at haggling now. I’ve never met a market I didn’t love.
The thing is, I don’t really spend that much money on things I buy. I can only think of a handful of items that have ever cost me over $20 Canadian dollars (about £12). And while the little things can certainly add up, I always budget for souvenir shopping. There are so many cheap souvenirs to be had, however…
When I walked out of my hostel in Rangoon all those years ago, I couldn’t stop whirling around, taking in all of my surroundings. I felt overcome by my senses: the jangling of the sugar cane man’s bells, the smell of frying vegetables, the air so thick and humid I could open my mouth and drink it in. And the colours, too, drip-drying at the laundry and splashed across markets and swirled on the faces of those around me.
But what about in London?