Like most travelers, when you visit a new and exciting place you want to take a piece of it home with you. Jade statues from China, a pair of wooden shoes from the Netherlands, mini Eiffel towers sold in Paris... NICKNACKS! Or as my mom calls them: Clutter. Over time and many new apartments and cities, I have come to hate my junk. It looses it's meaning and just becomes one more thing to dust. I mean, I seriously own a hammock from Brazil when I spent my entire 3.5week trip sleeping in one... I haven't had a YARD in 4 years, why did I buy a hammock?!?!?! Oh the mistakes I've made.
Finally, I have discovered a new approach. After establishing that I want something different, even one of a kind that really speaks from the heart of a destination, I was offered this advice: buy the something that grows with you. Buy Art. Over time, you'll learn more about your style and taste.
In 2008 I went to Prague and on the Charles Bridge the street vendors fill the sides of the path with their paintings, drawings, and photography. The choices were overwhelming and every piece was beautiful. Finally, I found two that spoke to me. 5"X7" Water colors of the bridge. They were perfect and easy to carry around for the remainder of the trip. Upon returning home, I had them frame and they have decorated my various apartments ever since!
Art! The perfect keepsake. It varies from affordable to priceless. It's easy to transport... for the most part. Oil paintings are the exception, the canvas can't easily be rolled and they are sensitive to temperature. The best part, is that every place you travel becomes a part of your home as much as its be become a part of you!