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I try not to purchase a lot of crap on the road. The only thing I buy from each place I visit are magnets, which is something I’ve done for years. When I’m done with this trip I’m sure I’ll have to install metal cabinets in my kitchen because there is no way my fridge will hold everything (it barely did when I moved).
That being said, you can’t really travel around the world and have nothing to show for it when you get back.
So far I’ve purchased a small stone Moai on Easter Island, some necklaces in Hawaii (fish bone and olivine), a lavalava on American Samoa, and a Siapo this last weekend in Samoa. I’m going to buy a kava bowl before I leave, its just that they are wooden and heavy and a pain to ship back to the US.
I try to not just buy random things, but things which are unique to where I’m traveling and have some sort of meaning behind them. The saipo I purchased in Samoa was from a guy who walked around selling his own stuff, so there is a bit of a story behind it. The kava bowls are pretty much made for tourists, but I found a guy who hand makes them, and I’ll probably buy one from him.
I also have to remind myself that I’ve barely started on my trip. While traveling in the Pacific is slow, I’ve only been to 10 countries so far and most of the trip still lay ahead of me. If I go nuts buying stuff now, most of it would probably just sit in a closet when I get back home.
I’m also hoping to take enough quality photos during the trip to be able to plaster my house when I get back. I’d like to get a few printed on large, gallery-quality canvas. Of the hundreds of photos I’ve taken so far, I’d estimate that only five or so far good enough for that, and maybe only one or two from the Pacific will end up making the cut.
I think my house will end up looking more like a museum.