#7 - 10 amazing countries, 10 keepsakes

Friday, November 08, 2013

One of the things that really gets me excited is exploring new countries and cultures. I've done my fair bit of back packing over the years, roughing it in some pretty interesting conditions, and also splashed out at the other end of the scale too.

In general I try not to buy too much stuff when I travel. I firmly believe you should be able to carry everything you need on your back, and am bewildered sometimes at airports when I see people dragging huge suitcases along. Do you really need all that stuff?

If I do acquire a keepsake - I always try to get something that I know I'll have use for in the future... and most of the time I manage to stick to this rule.

Here are some of my more recent finds...

Cast Iron tea pot from Japan
1. Teapot, Japan.
I lived in Japan for a year back in 05/06, and it was without a doubt the best year in my life. So many new experiences and friendships. This teapot is made of cast iron, and is great for brewing tea as the cast iron distributes the heat evenly inside the pot to better extract the flavours. It also keeps my tea warm for about an hour.

Hand printed writing paper from India
2. Hand printed writing paper, India
At the end of 06 I back packed through India for three months. It was a humbling, inspiring and challenging time, which has kept me very grounded since.

Hand woven belt, Todos Santos, Guatemala
3. Hand-woven belt, Todo Santos, Guatemala
In 2009 my hubby (boyfriend then) and I took six months off to backpack through Central America. Guatemala was our third country on that trip. We went completely back-road during our time there, hitch-hiking to get around, and making the most interesting of friends. One of our stops was Todo Santos, which is slowly now reappearing on the tourist trail, but was taken off about twelve years ago after a tourist was lynched to death for picking up a child. At that time we were there, there were no hostels/hotels/accommodation, so we found a family to stay with for a few nights. And the mother taught me to weave. The end result is what you see in the picture. This took me three days of really hard work. I'll never again question the price of a hand-made product from a developing country.

Coin Purse from the Cusco Christmas Eve Markets, Peru
4a. Hand-made coin purse, Peru
I picked this up in the Cusco Christmas Eve Markets in 2009, and use it as a coin purse when I go travelling.

Finger puppets, Peru
4b. Finger puppets, Peru
Quite a common souvenir in the Lake Titicaca region of Peru, but cute nonetheless. I bring these fellas out at Christmas time. They make me smile. It's worth noting that each one only cost me about 20p, but I've since seen similar finger puppets being sold at markets in the UK for about £5-10. I can only hope some of that profit goes back to the actual makers.

I heart Wales egg cups
5. I heart Wales eggcups, Wales
My hubby bought these for me on a trip to Wales in 2011. For those of you that don't know I'm a big fan of eggs, and have one every day for breakfast :)

Hand-painted bowels, Greece
6. Hand painted bowels, Greece
In 2011 we spent a month in the Greek Islands. It was a fantastic summer holiday. These little bowels are everywhere and not particularly unique, but I love the colours and they look great on my windowsill.

Painting, Bali
7. Painting, Bali
Hubby chose this painting in 2012, when we were on holiday in Bali. We hired scooters and spent a day driving around the island. One of our favourite spots was the famous terraced rice fields. This painting came from a little shop overlooking them. The whole picture is made up of dots of paint.

Fantail wall hanging, New Zealand
8. Fantail wall hanging, New Zealand
Hubby bought and gave this to me the day before our wedding in March this year. The Fantail, a native bird to New Zealand has a tail that opens like a fan, and is one of my favourite birds.

Flower vase, Seoul South Korea
9a. Single flower vase, Seoul, South Korea

Flower petal vase, Seoul South Korea
9b. Single flower and petal vase, Seoul South Korea
I bought both of these vases earlier this year when holidaying in Seoul. I love the the simplicity of the pottery. 

Flower petal vase, Seoul South Korea
10. Dried lavender, Croatia
I bought this lavender on our summer holiday in Croatia this year. It is currently making my underwear drawer smell lovely :)

And here is a photo from each country... ahhhh the memories.

Walking the streets of Tokyo, Japan
1. Walking the streets of Tokyo, Japan

Mother and child, India
2. Mother and child, India

Weaving in Todos Santos, Guatemala
3. My 'tutor' for a week helping with my weaving, Todo Santos, Guatemala

Man's best friend, Colca Canyon, Peru
4. Man's best friend, Colca Canyon, Peru

The Welsh proms, Cardiff Wales
5. The Welsh proms, Cardiff, Wales

The Acropolis, Athens, Greece
6. The Acropolis, Athens, Greece

Rice terraces, Bali
7. Rice terraces, Bali

Foxton Beach, New Zealand
8. Hanging out at Foxton Beach with our nephew, New Zealand

Cat Cafe, Seoul, South Korea
9. Lily Cat Cafe, Seoul, South Korea

Enjoying the sun, Croatia
10. Hanging with my hubby, Croatia

Happy travels everyone (and sorry this post is a day late)!

You Might Also Like


  1. Loving the finger puppets from Peru - so cute! :-) x

    1. Thanks, I really love them too :) They are one of my favourite Christmas decorations.

  2. Beautiful post. I completely agree with your mentality of being able to carry everything home with you. I love that your keepsakes are wee mementos of your experiences but none of them are too big or flashy! x

    1. Thanks Emma. When I was younger I used to buy a lot more, but these days I try to ignore the feeling of 'I must buy something' and look out for smaller quality items.

  3. So many beautiful items, I love able to bring something home from each place I visit. My dad's friend went to India and he gifted me some beautiful Silver Elephant ornaments.


  4. Oooooh.... this post makes me want to go travelling again. You have such good taste in souvenirs!

  5. I think I'm in love with your Korean vase! x

  6. We have similar bowels from Greece! They're gorgeous. And I have teapot envy... maybe I should travel to Japan to find something similar. :)

  7. Your photography is gorgeous! And I totally stocked up on the llama finger puppets too. You had some really good finds - like the egg holders, I've never seen that before!