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: