My first ever trip abroad was back in 2008 when I studied abroad in Spain. After a month long intensive Spanish language program in Salamanca and El Puerto de Santa Maria, Spain, I strapped on my backpack for a 6 week trip through Europe. Throughout my travels, the urge to buy knickknacks everywhere I went was unbearable. But, my backpack was filled to the brim and I had to abide by the strict weight regulations for baggage of European airlines.
Sorry everyone. Hope you like postcards.
One day, while on a weekend excursion to Segovia during my Spanish program, I came across a street vender with little stuffed animal bulls (or “toros” in Spanish). I had a two year old niece back home and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get her a little toy from Spain. I told myself, “That’s it. You’re cut off. No more souvenirs.” But I was satisfied because at least I got something for my baby niece. It was just a couple of hours later when a stroke of genius hit me (a little bold I know). My friends and I were messing around taking funny pictures with my little Toro when I came up with the perfect idea to bring Europe home to my niece.
We all take a million-bajillion photos when we travel. I was going to take my little stuffed Toro and photograph him at all of the amazing places I went to around Europe. Once I got home, I would use a program like Shutterfly to create a picture book for my niece. I could then share my experience with someone as young as a 2 year old, show her the wonders of the world and she would get to physically hold Toro, a character from a story that had been to all of the places in her picture book. I would call this masterpiece,
“The Amazing Adventures of Toro the Bull”
Here are some moments I captured with Toro!
(Note: Not all pictures were used in the book. ie. Toro with beer, statues with man parts, etc.)
So as you can see, it’s not about bringing back gifts from your travels for every family member and every friend. The book only cost me about $20.00 to customize and have printed and the bull was something like 2 euros. My niece is 5 now and she still treasures the book. You can make something like this for anyone of any age too, not just for kids.