I once knew a very glamorous woman who bought herself an Hermès scarf every time she went on vacation. As a souvenir. Hey, she had the money, she liked Hermès scarves, she frequented places where Hermès stores were likely to be located, and when she wore them, they helped her to remember her travels.

I think we all should stop judging her.

I’ve previously mentioned that I’m not much of a collector when I travel. I’ve never bought magnets, shot glasses, key chains, t-shirts, coffee mugs, or, I claimed, anything else to commemorate the trips I’ve taken.

But that’s not strictly true.

I did go through a phase where I tried to buy a piece of jewelry on every trip that I took. This came to an end when I visited Hong Kong and realized that much of the jewelry I could easily afford to purchase, wherever I traveled, was likely manufactured in one of the factories that supplied the city’s street markets.

And also that I couldn’t afford to regularly purchase jeweler that was a whole lot better than that, if I was also going to spend money on travel.

So I’ve stopped buying jewelry on each and every trip, but when I do buy something when I’m traveling, the chances are very high that it’s going to be jeweler.  And each piece really does mean a lot to me.

For instance, at this very moment, on my left hand, I’m wearing a long ring that stretches almost to my knuckle. In the center there are three amethysts set vertically, two tear shapes framing one round stone. The stones are set in delicate silver scroll work that always reminds me of the pavilions, where I waited for a ferry to take me to the Lake Palace in Udaipur.

Lake Palace Udaipur

I bought the ring in India, gosh, it has to be getting to six years ago now. My dear friend Diana helped me to haggle for it, which is an activity I especially suck at. I don’t remember what I ended up paying, but I do always think of her when I wear it, and her amazing bargaining skills, and of how our friendship endures even though I haven’t seen her for a while, and of course I think of our epic India adventure.

 

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Alison J. Stein

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