I don’t buy souvenir’s when I travel because frankly, I don’t see the point. Do I really need some tacky fridge magnet shaped like a sombrero to remind me that I went to Mexico? Um, no. Thank you. And ditto with hula girl dashboard dolls from Hawaii, Nevada license plate hand bags from Las Vegas or kangaroo back scratchers from Australia.
I mean, what are you expected to do with that lava rock you pocketed from that volcano in Costa Rica? Store it in a keepsake box with your seashell collection from Bali? Frame and mount it on the wall? Do you buy “I love (insert random city)” t-shirts and keychains because it brings you a sense of vacation closure? Does it make you feel better about heading home to Jersey City now that you’ve taken a little piece of your vacation with you (even if it’s only in the form of an Elvis Presley Snowglobe from Graceland)?
Or is that postcard collection really just an adult version of an eight-year-old’s recess sing-song “Na na na nana! Na na na nana! I went to Aruba and yooooou didn’t!”?
Is souvenir shopping just a subconscious attempt at making ourselves feel superior over our friends and family?
I recently read an article about how jetsetters are being replaced by netsetters, which is a term coined to describe 20-somethings who travel mainly for the opportunity to brag about it on facebook, twitter or their travel blogs.
This quote from The Daily Mail describes it nicely,
“When you’re sat at your desk on a rainy Monday morning in Britain, there’s nothing quite like seeing social netsetters showing off their photos on their profiles, with smug grins on a sun-kissed beach or near an international beauty spot. It’s clear people just love showing off online.”
So I suppose before I congratulate myself on the fact that my bedroom is delightfully tacky-souvenir free, I should first consider this blog, which is perhaps…
the biggest vacation souvenir of all.
So what do you think? Do you collect souvenirs? Are you guilty of being an occasional netsetter? And where do you draw the line between well-intentioned travel blogging and self-absorbed navel-gazing?