My Travel Souvenir: Photographs

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I've never been big on buying souvenirs, yet I quite often envy those of others. We got this painting from our trip to Thailand. We got this sculpture from our trip to China. We got this handmade molcajete from Mexico. All these individuals must be privy to some secret, because I rarely am able to find things like this on my own adventures. Instead of having a home filled with artifacts that provide connection to my experience and travels, I have a hard drive filled with photographs. Maybe that is really all I need.

To me, photographss are like windows back in time. When I see one, I start to remember that moment again. The temperature outside. The conversation. The experience. The taste of an anise cookie.

That's precisely why they are so dear to me — and why it's hard for me to leave my camera at home. It's not that I don't see things I want while on travel, it's just often the case that I can't have it. I don't want any chorreador (used in Costa Rica to brew coffee). I want that chorreador — with the hammered metal cup and the one that has no doubt heard countless stories while coffee dripped from its cloth filter.

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I want the cast iron plate this woman has used for years to make tortillas — over a fire kindling beneath a bed of rocks.

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I want a miniature Millenium Bean...

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and a miniature Puppy.

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I want this leg of Iberico — but I hear customs would just take it and eat it for me.

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But maybe 'want' is the wrong word, because with these photographs I 'have.' 

There may not be a lot of artifacts in my living room when you come over to my house, but there are these photographs, and these memories. Maybe that'll do just fine.

(Images: Chris Perez)