I have never been the type to collect keychains, shot glasses, postcards, magnets, or any kind of knick-knackky trinket. I know people who do, but I am not one of those.
I’m also never going to have a shelf full of little jars of sand I collected from different beaches and countries around the world, even if it is more original as an souvenir.
To me, they’re not souvenirs because they’re mass produced, easily purchased and perhaps illegal (if you have seen the keychains and crap sold near the Eiffel Tower by illegal vendors, you’d feel a bit weird too).
For souvenirs, I realized that I have a specific want in souvenirs, they have to be:
1. Practical — I can actually use it, even as a piece of clothing
2. Memorable — I will not be buying items at chain stores like H&M where I cannot recall if I purchased that in Canada or where I traveled
3. Unique — Unique in the sense that it cannot be found or purchased elsewhere because it is specifically made in THAT region of the world
Sometimes, the above three criterion don’t meet, but I do strive to reach this in everything I purchase.
More often than not, it ends up being clothing like scarves, shoes or purses where I am instantly transported back to the country, time and store where I purchased it.
It reminds me of the trip I had (all the good and bad points), and sometimes there’s even a story that goes along with it (like snatching that lovely brown satchel out from other the nose of a hovering French girl).