The Odd Things We Bring Back From Our Travels

_MG_6256I’m cleaning up around the house today (surprise!) and I came across the item pictured at right.  It’s a roll of toilet paper brought back from Nepal.  Why did I feel it oh so important to bring back a whole roll, still in its protective wrap?  I’m not sure.  I’m used to carrying a small roll with me while trekking or in highly polluted areas to help clear my nose, but why on Earth did I pack a whole roll in my checked baggage (baggage that was overweight, thanks in part to this nefarious roll of toilet paper)?

We all bring back mementos from our travels in one way or another.  Some are memories, but a lot of us bring back stuff.  The good stuff.  A feather here, a rock there or something bigger.  But what about stuff you never meant to bring back.  Have you opened up your bag when you arrived home and thought, “Why the hell did I bring this all the way home?”  If so, share your story in the comment section below.  The best response will get my roll of brand new Nepali toilet paper.

5 Replies to “The Odd Things We Bring Back From Our Travels”

  1. Mary-Alice

    It would have to be the Tibetan monk’s boots — what was I thinking? They were beautifully embroidered and had an irresistible curled-up toe, but they were a very perishable white, and the bottoms were just stiffened (and I mean STIFFENED) fabric. Completely unwearable, and surprisingly bulky. Someone should sell an iPhone app that shocks you senseless when you start counting out the cash for impractical ethnic clothing items.

  2. Katie

    Mine’s not a “how the hell?” story…but anyways.

    I bought this mug in NYC from one of the shops. It says “Wicked” on it because at the time I was thoroughly obsessed with the musical. This mug made it across the country and through several moves unscathed.

    Specimen 2, a funky mug from Cost Plus with a cool green pattern, couldn’t even survive the trip from the bag to the counter. It broke falling out of the bag onto the counter at my parents’ house within 30 minutes of my purchasing it.

    I think I still have the Wicked mug in storage somewhere. 🙂

  3. Cailin

    I went to Europe in December 2007 and at one of my many stops to pick up snack food along the way I bought some pretzels that came in a weird green box like container. I still have them in my room somewhere, still unopened. God knows why I brought them back with me and why they weren’t thrown out, but now I’m not even sure where they are.

  4. Eileen

    oh dear. Ima (sic) have to tell the story of how I almost singlehandledly caused an international garlic smuggling incident.

    I was traveling in the skinny part of the bottom of South America, where every day or two (and sometimes every hour or two) you cross a border between Chile and Argentina. I was old hat at it already, and had separated out my freshies (fruit and veg) from my dry food, like powdered milk, cocoa, sugar and mate, all of which can cross the border with no problem. The fruit and veg had to be consumed or donated on the Argentine side before crossing in to Chile.

    So when I got to the border with Chile and was asked to open my backpack, I bantered to and fro with the border dudes, talking about how I’d come back and teach them all English. He asked me what was in a smaller zipped canvas bag, and I proudly said, “comida” (food), thinking that all my freshies were safely on the Argentine side.

    And he thrust his hand to the bottom of the canvas bag, rooted around and said “Y esto?” (What’s this?). I had inadvertently stuck garlic in with the dry food, and this funcionario (public employee) had found it.

    There was much eye rolling and gnashing of teeth and pleading and filling out of forms that would have me registered as an illegal carrier of garlic for the length of Chile (I am not making this up), but which (thankfully) did not fine me the $200 that this status normally brings with it.

    So that’s the story of something I almost brought back home with me, garlic from Argentina. Except I’d actually bought it in Chile to begin with. And most likely it was originally from China. And when I got where I was going I noticed two more cloves stuck in there.

    Happy TP auctioning! (I have a funny TP story somewhere, I’ll send it to you sometime)

  5. Shelby Gonzalez

    Ooh, I want to play! One of my prized and, yes, odd travel keepsakes is a pigeon whistle from West Java. It was given to me by an avid pigeon-racing enthusiast and all-around awesome guy who helped me (read: saved my miserable ass) when I got appendicitis. [GROSSNESS WARNING] If the doctor had gotten his way, I would have gone home with an even odder souvenir: my infected appendix in a jar. He came into my room the day I was leaving the hospital and said he had a present for me. Then, with a flourish worthy of a stage magician, he produced a jar containing–well, I’ll refrain from describing it. Let’s just say it was clearly not a healthy organ. I considered taking it for about a millisecond. Then two thoughts interfered: 1.) What if I dropped the jar in transit? Like, say, in the airport? 2.) I’d rather not be detained for human organ trafficking. Oh well.


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