Souvenir Shopping abroad
Who doesn’t love to shop while visiting new places?
I had the joy of traveling to 5 different countries while I studied abroad in Seville, Spain. I traveled to the United Kingdom (Gibraltar), France, Portugal, Morocco, and Italy. On most of these adventures I brought only a backpack, which my host mom could not believe. I had to pack sparingly and even though I tried my best to bring as little as possible, I never had much room for souvenirs.
So I decided to get creative when buying souvenirs for friends and family as well as myself. First I thought of buying postcards, scarves, and magnets, which I did end up buying as well. But my best idea was to start my own art collection. I did not go around buying large canvases costing hundreds of euros. Instead, I gave myself a budget of how much I would spend on each painting. My budget was normally fifteen euros and sometimes I went a little above or a little below.
I had a new found interest in the street artists at every city I visited as I walked along looking at all of the art proudly displayed at the bases of glorious monuments of architecture and history. I purchased small water colors from street artists in Rome, Florence, Paris, Lisbon, and eventually Sevilla. I chose paper rather than canvas because it is cheaper and it takes up practically no room in a backpack.
One of the best experiences of buying art around Europe was meeting the artists and learning a little bit about their story. I asked all of the painters if I could get a picture with them and I attached a few photos below.
I plan to hang these water colors of the Duomo, the Roman Colosseum, the Trevi fountain, the Spanish steps, the Eiffel Tower, a street of Sevilla, etc. in my dorm room to remind me of my study abroad experience and the memories that I had.
To conclude, I highly recommend stopping and taking a closer look at all the colorful art around you while abroad and maybe bringing some home with you as a souvenir that was carefully created in that city rather than made in China. Lastly, meet the artist and get to know them because it will make the experience of purchasing a painting more memorable and personal.