Market in Cairo Egypt by JD Andrews

Souvenirs, Mementos, Keepsakes or Crap? by JD Andrews

What did you bring me? I get this question from my little girl every time I return home from a trip.  I try to find her interesting gifts the can only be found in that region and ones that do not have a tag that reads: Made in China (unless I'm buying it in China)

For the 20plus years that I've been traveling, I've always tried to bring something home, a little reminder of my adventure. But after a while, all those, 'once in a lifetime treasures' start to look like dust covered junk on a shelf. But don't get me wrong, each and every one of them, at the time, 'that one special keepsake' that I 'found' and then had to somehow transport back home. In many cases, this wasn't an easy task.

One time I shipped a box of mementos home from somewhere in Greece. It cost me $40 and was supposed to take 2 weeks to reach the U.S. I still remember thinking to myself as the box was taken down from the counter, there was NO postage on it. Oh well, they'll probably put it on later, I thought to myself. About 6 months later, after coming to terms with loosing my box of goodies to the Greek mail system, I received a little note in my mailbox from the postoffice. It was concerning posted due on a box that was addressed to me. I rushed out the door that very moment to see if this was my elusive box from Greece....and there it was, smashed, tattered and torn sitting behind the counter. I was told the postage due was $38. I explained that I already paid the postage in Greece and after about 20 minutes of telling my story, they handing over this road-weary, box-shaped parcel with a smeared, barely legible address on the bottom.

I've been sending home boxes for years and I've always told others, "Put your full address on every single side of a box that you mail" and my advise paid off that day! So of course those souvenirs were even more precious to me due to their incredible journey from Greece.

And here we are today. A lot of changes are going on right now in my life and I look at this wonderful collection of keepsakes and I've come to the realization that it's time to let them go. Of course it's tough to let go, each one has a story of how I found it and why it spoke to me (sadly, for some I can't remember) and then when you add on all the years I've had them, it makes it that much harder to say goodbye.

What did I do? First I took photos of each piece so they will never be forgotten. Then I wrote down as much as I could remember about them.

Then........ I was going to throw them away. There's NO way any of these items could ever be as special to someone else like they were to me....

But then I thought what if. What if they could find a better home, a cleaner shelf, a new curator that would enjoy having - some of the world - around them.

So, yesterday they were listed on ebay (10 so far) starting at .99 - It's not about the money it's about the story and memories. 

If you're interested in any of my souvenirs, mementos, keepsakes or crap - click on the links below. 

There are more on the ebay page, if you can't find it, search for earthXplorer. 

I hope they all find a good home. 

I would love to hear your thoughts about collecting souvenirs and what you do with them. Please share your story in the comments.