It broke my heart to leave these items behind, and not bring them home as keepsakes of our adventures. But alas, like a turtle, I travel with my home on my back (and a 20kg limit on every flight), so I will have to be satisfied simply bringing home memories.
What I Would Have Bought…
- Bottles of home-brewed rakia from Bulgaria
- A glass for Turkish tea with gold leaf at the edge
- A Turkish coffee service set
- A Turkish rug
- Multicolor Turkish stained glass lamps
- Big Turkish towels for my imaginary pool
- Indoor slippers and plastic bathroom slippers from Japan
- Window chimes
- Chopstick stands
- Sake cups
- Bottles of sake and shochu you can’t get in the States
- Paper lanterns from Hoi An, Vietnam
- An incredibly cheap, but high-quality custom-tailored dress from Vietnam
- Big ceramic blue and white bowls for noodle soup
- An enormous wall painting of a Buddhist tree from Laos
- A wrought-iron statue of a Vietnamese rice-farming stick figure holding baskets that form a scale
Despite our circumspection and self-restraint in all the markets we’ve visited, we have picked up a few small trinkets, which were picked with careful consideration to commemorate our travels.
What (Lightweight and Tiny) Things I Did Buy…
- Earrings from a South African shop in Bristol, England–I got these when shopping with a half-South African friend who visited me 6 years ago when I was living near Joburg.
- A Turkish shawl
- A bumper sticker from a brewery we visited multiple times in our favorite Japanese mountain town (Matsumoto Brewery)–I put it on my Nalgene, and often look at it as our adventures continue in other countries!
- A bandana depicting a map of our trekking route through the Japanese Alps
- A woven Laotian table runner
- A scarf from a village along the Mekong in Laos
- An aluminum cup used to make Vietnamese drip coffee
- Cooking chopsticks
- A softball-style sleep shirt with an orangutan (and a random NFL logo!) from Sumatra, Indonesia
- Blue and gold earrings covered in batik cloth from Yogyakarta, Indonesia