The Tale of Souvenirs and Why We Buy Them

Wherever you travel, you are bound to take a little something from there as a reminder. Though some may think that collecting these souvenirs, may it be a magnet or a t-shirt, to be ‘uncool’. Some of us who do collect these trinkets do so by being tad bit self-conscious, double checking the tags of the item whether they were made somewhere else or not.

The term ‘souvenirs’ dates back to the 1700s, but grew in epic proportions during the 20th century, together with the emergence of tourism and the accessibility of travel. It is in our nature to collect and boast about where we have been and what we have done, so getting our hands on these not-so-cheap tokens of remembrance does the job.

From the early days of cave dwellers, humans have been decorating their caves with items and drawings they have hoarded throughout their time. Even in ancient Egypt, when Prince Harkhuf travelled to Sudan and came back with leopard skin, ivory and incense to present to the Pharaoh. It was in the time of the ancient Greeks and Romans when manufactured items like painted pots and silverware became an industry.

So even before, we have had the urge to take a piece of memento to take back with us. Its as if getting a souvenir will make one feel extraordinary and different from others. Many would buy magnets, plates and even spoons to display in their homes, acting as some sort of evidence of your travels. 
Image credit: Przemek Pietrak

Bringing home a piece of remembrance from your travels is not considered a bad thing. Collecting these trinkets is just our way of having a physical remembrance of where we have been. From t-shirts, hats, key chains and bottle openers, you name it, we might all have it.

But what makes a good souvenir? Is it the eye-catching designs or is it the obvious design of a landmark? In all honesty, there isn’t really a perfect souvenir. Everyone has their own version of a perfect souvenir, may it be a postcard or a rock you found on the ground. As long it gives you reminders of your travels and gives you a sense of nostalgia, that’s what makes a good souvenir.

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