When you travel, what do you like to bring home with you? My “rule” for trips is usually an article of clothing (which I know won’t last forever but is still fun), a piece of jewelry and some kind of art (painting, sculpture, etc. but small enough to fit in my luggage). Obviously I want to find things that will remind me of where I have been and transport me magically back there in a single glance – which is a lot of pressure to put on inanimate objects, but hey, why not try, right?

If you are like me you are also in search of the perfect gifts for your best friend(s), family, co-worker covering for you, cat-sitter, etc. It’s great when you find something that works for everyone (indigenous item like coffee or wine (before the liquid ban in carry-ons of course), shot glass, sand, etc.) I sometimes give myself a pass from finding the perfect gifts for everyone and instead just get things for people if I just happen to come across something that is perfect for them. Those are the best gifts anyway.

But sometimes I am like a crazy person on a mission, I know – shocking. I just want the people in my life to know that I was thinking of them while I was away and it was really no trouble at all to commission half a Malagasy village to make every woven thing in their catalog. Actually, it was no trouble, they needed the income and it was my absolute pleasure as I love to give (and receive) gifts. So fun!

In case you were wondering about my three items from Madagascar that I am counting as my official souvenirs:

1.) Okay, if I was creative and not going anywhere formal, I would wear this. It is a sarong. Okay, I would wear it by the pool maybe. The clothing item was hard to come by as almost 100% of the clothing available was shipped from the US and other industrialized countries who donate clothes. Seriously, things I wore in the 3rd grade were in piles at the local market.

2.) This is apparently is something that the witch doctors buy at the market and wear as a pendant on a necklace. No one could tell me why or what it represented. I am leaving it on my desk for now as I don’t want any bad mojo around my neck until I know for sure what it is exactly.

3.) It’s art and art can go inside! Double whammy! I am planning on picking three of my favorite pictures and hanging this in my office at work. One of the many beautiful woven items I brought home.

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