Friday, July 8, 2011

Eco-Souvenir-Giving-Person... Tips!

Île-du-Prince Edouard (PEI) was beautiful... who knew? (Actually I'm sure lots of you knew that, I just haven't been since I was five!).

Besides the ridiculous amount of yoga on the ocean, restauranting with in-laws (...yep...) and reading, I picked up a few things as souvenirs for friends. Now, I have a pretty large hate-on for those ridiculous tourist knick-knack-y stuffs. You know, little statues that say 'Cancun' or whatever. Not only are they almost always made 'Not in the visited country' but they never get used, collect dust and are immensely wasteful. I think my extreme aversion comes from my dad's friends.

Ok, I'll explain quick- my family never could afford to travel 'down south' every winter- which was fine by me. My parent's friends often went every year though, and always always brought back some stupid little knick knack. Shot glasses (with lead so we can't use them), creepy seashell dudes playing cards... you get the picture. They now line every shelf and wooden window covering at our cottage. Ugh.

My goal when I travel? If I'm bringing something back it's going to be local, usable and hopefully sustainably made. Of course the best thing would be to just bring back the pictures to share... but some of us have kitten sitters and friends who we just want to share a piece of our travels. So here's a break down of Eco-Souvenir-Giving as I see it:
Lobster traps in PEI are 'old school' and made of wood. Which is weird since in Yarmouth County, traps are wire, weigh a zillion pounds. The Captain (see pic below) explained that since they don't fish very far out in the ocean, and in the summer time the traps don't take as much of a beating. Also, the lobsters in PEI will choose the wooden traps over the wire ones...

BEST: Sustainable, locally made and totally usable.
First thing to think of while searching- instead of buying more 'stuff', purchase something that they can actually USE. I mean, drink or eat. Clothing can be tricky, accessories- same (unless you really know their taste), so edible items are always a winner.

Then focus on where it's made- locally by a small funky artisan is best. That way your gift will truly be special and unique.

Follow this up with a good dose of sustainability and you're good to go. Honestly though? I try for the first two then worry about the third, otherwise I'd go bonkers.
I took some pictures of the smaller lobster boats for my dad and brother- if you look closely you can see the Captain of CaT Sass (teehee), who we of course chatted with. Otherwise we'd be creepy picture taking tourists...

Some ideas? Locally brewed micro brewed beer. We picked up Gahan House, brewed in Charlottetown beer for our friends. Local wine, like the tasty Rossignol wine we brought back for our kitten's Tante and Uncle. Nova Scotia even has local distillery, Ironworks. Trust me, alcohol can TOTALLY be wrapped up in a few sweaters and bags and survive the flight home.

Jams, preserves and such are always fun. We brought back two jars of locally made fancy jam from PEI's Preserve Company (Strawberry and Grand Marnier or Blackberry-Champagne? Yes!). They actually make the jam onsite.

A really fun idea, my friend Jen brought us back some locally grown and roasted Hawaiian coffee beans, Maui Coffee. Although we can get locally roasted, coffee beans do not grow in Nova Scotia. How cool is that?

Of course, the closer to home your summer travel adventure keeps you, the more sustainable. Sometimes just exploring your own Province (or State) is a fantabulous experience.

AND- Make practicing yoga in some fun outdoor space a part of your Adventure!


article and photographs copyright of EcoYogini at


  1. Sounds like a GREAT trip. I love PEI. It has been4 years since I have been is almost time to go back and explore the local fare rather than only have my head underwater in the seagrass! :)

  2. and you can take and frame a lovely photo for them from your journey!

  3. Love this post! I have realized over the years how wasteful it can be to buy a bunch of cheap plastic tourist crap to show appreciation to others who are house- or pet-sitting. But these ideas are great!

    In Paris, I was lucky enough to find some useful stuff for the family. Chocolates, a French baby book and T-shirt for my nephews...stuff like that. Things people could eat or use!! :)

  4. Totally excellent point! I always make sure when I buy souvenirs that they are locally made and whenever possible I try to buy them from individuals (e.g. market sellers) instead of from stores.

    I think your photographs also make great souvenirs! If you could print them and buy a local wood frame or something that would be lovely. :)

    Other ideas: locally made clothes, a painting or drawing by an artist from the place you are visiting, or any form of foodie delights (jams, oils, wine!)

  5. My hubby bought a PEI rock at a yard sale in PEI. How's that for eco-friendly! Or maybe it's not since PEI doesn't have a lot of them:)


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