By Sharon Kurtz
I had barely unpacked my carry-on bag and tossed in a load of long-overdue wash, when I discovered a forgotten souvenir of my travels tucked in the side pocket of my bag. It was reminiscent of an unopened present discovered beneath all the torn wrappings on Christmas morning.
As a person who takes great pride in packing light, and I mean light, there is never space for bulky souvenirs in my carry-on bag. As much as I have coveted hand-knitted Irish sweaters and hand-painted tiles from Lisbon, I remind myself there is no extra room to spare and I leave empty-handed.
Packing light means supplementing my travel needs at local markets; what fun. Shopping locally is an adventure. Everyday products seem more exotic when the brands are unknown, and I must figure out the contents from the picture on the box. I often find something small yet intriguing that easily fits in my bag. Kitchen products are a favorite purchase as they remind me of my travels long after I’ve returned home. Washing dishes is somehow easier when I use the colorful dishcloths picked up in Madrid.
Once while in Reykjavik, a small box of sea salt with beautiful artwork of a Nordic mermaid, worthy of framing, caught my eye. I brought it home. I have savored that salt in the ocean blue box.
I will be saddened when those last few grains spill out of the box. The salt will be gone but my memories of Iceland will remain.
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