Travel at Home

How We Travel at Home

Travel at Home

During these unprecedented times when exploring our world has been put on pause, we must find new ways to revisit our journeys and nurture our spirit of adventure. So, we reached out to our staff and leaders to find out how they bring travel into their own homes and revisit some of their favorite destinations—from arts and crafts and small souvenirs to photographs of their most memorable travel moments, here are all the ways they’re keeping their travels alive while staying at home.


Guillermo Knell, Expedition Leader  

I always I like to bring something from my trips that reminds me of the place I visited, whether it’s an artisan artifact, a textile, a small piece of pottery, a mask (I have several)—anything representative of the area or site.  

I also love to take pictures, which are shortcuts for bringing back to memory those incredible experiences. While I’m taking pictures, I always think about where to place it at home. My house has these souvenirs all over it, reminding me of all my travels even while I’m at home.


Freddy Avalos, Expedition Leader     

When I go to the Amazon Rainforest or Machu Picchu, I bring some souvenirs home that I haven’t necessarily bought. They can be seeds, leaves, stones—something I see during my trips and can use to teach my curious little daughters. I like to see their interest when they touch leaves or seeds with different colors, sizes or different textures.

I also collect photos of my travels. I love to photograph wildlife. Even if I am not a trained photographer and don’t have a professional camera, I just enjoy wildlife and like to capture it in photos. Taking pictures of wildlife is a real challenge, especially if we are driving the skiff in the river as it is impossible to keep steady. Sunrises and sunsets are also my favorites.

I love to see my pictures and create an album with them—they bring me happiness and tranquility. I also like to share them with my guests, so they can take home a good souvenir. I also suggest they create their own photo album of the trip and share it with their friends or family to be our new ambassadors of this unique destination in the world called Perú!


Angel Cárdenas, Expedition Leader  

I always try to buy some little souvenir that has the name of the visited place; usually a magnet, key chain or something else that is easy to find. I always buy more than one to give them to my family and friends.     

What I really like is to photograph everything, especially wildlife. I'm a bird watcher, and I have lots of bird albums of each place I visit. Many of these pictures are shared with the guests to help them bring back good memories from the trip.   


Steve Cox, International Expeditions Cofounder & Executive Director

During most of my early travels, I wanted to bring back something that was indicative of the places I have been and also something that people might use in their everyday lives. Pottery, musical instruments, interesting tools, carved stools, paintings or carvings and anything else handmade that was beautiful.

As example, back in the late 1970s I was in China before it was generally opened up to Americans and visited a place where inlaid wooden Chinese screens were being made by hand. I saw a really old one that was nailed high upon a wall and used as a model for the carvers to go by. That was the one I was most interested in, so I asked if it was for sale. They could not believe I wanted that old thing, so they said sure and I bought it. About four months later, it was shipped to Birmingham.

I have always been drawn to handmade items like this, because there can be beauty and great design in things that are used in someone’s daily life.


Jack Stein Grove, Marine Biologist   

Journaling has always been an integral part of my travels. Although I started keeping a journal when I was in high school, it wasn't until I graduated from college and set off under sail to the Galapagos that my journals became biologically important. Of course, I also make entries of a personal nature, but over the past three decades, my annotations about natural history are most relevant. At the present moment, with more time at home than expected, I am enjoying the opportunity to review the journals. It has also been fun to highlight the places I have been in the geographical dictionary that has been sitting on my bookshelf since the advent of the Internet.     


Elke Hinson, Expedition Advisor Lead

I love supporting local artists, so I have purchased artwork from around the world that is now displayed throughout my house, transporting me to faraway places whenever I look at it.

Elke Hinson Souvenirs

 Some of my art souvenirs include a 1950s nostalgia piece I purchased on Obispo Avenue in Havana, Cuba, which is a nod to the Havana Club; a painting of a wolf I purchased Ushuaia before sailing to Antarctica; a photograph of Dorian Bay in Antarctica that I shot myself; as well as a couple cultural pieces I purchased in Melacca, Malaysia and Siem Reap, Cambodia.


Mark Brazil, Ornithologist     

I rarely buy stuff, preferring to bring back samples of local foods that travel easily and pack small without adding too much to the weight of my luggage. Recent purchases abroad have included a jar of a favorite jam (diddle-dee from the Falklands), pickle or chutney (lime and mango from Sri Lanka and India), and local teas and coffees (from Finland and Colombia).

When I travel to new places, I often take furoshiki with me as gifts. These beautifully patterned Japanese wrapping cloths pack light, and take up less space than a T-shirt and can be used in so many different ways. Not only do they make great gifts, but they make great contact points with local guides, specialists, lodge owners and so-on—bringing a little of my home to theirs.             


Bolivar Sanchez, Naturalist   

I always like to bring local organic coffee from the places I visit, so I can share it with my family and friends as we talk and laugh about my adventures. I’ve learned that if there is something I like, I buy it. Experience has taught me that if you wait, you may not find it again. Another souvenir I like to buy is a painting. I like abstract art, so when I see something that calls to my mind and heart I get it, take it home, and frame it.

One of the things I also really enjoy when traveling is to sit in a little bar, have a drink and watch life unfold before my eyes.       

Most of us that love nature and adventure travel also love taking pictures, and when exploring the Galapagos Islands and other places, I take pictures and videos of my guests with my phone. At the end of the trip, I put a video together and give it to them as a souvenir so they can share that with their family and friends.     

 Bolivar Sanchez painting and coffee

Good memories last forever, and there are quite a few things that help us think of them more often.

We hope you enjoyed this short travel at home escape with our staff and leaders; we look forward to the day when we join together again to experience the world’s most magical wonders!

If you would like to share what you collect during your travels, we’d love to hear from you! Please send a brief summary, and photo if you like, to [email protected], with “My travel souvenirs” in the subject line.