This is part of a series on my blog all about my favorite travel accessories for the wanna-be-stylish female traveler. Also check out my reviews of Speakeasy hidden pocket scarves, Allett travel wallets, and Tieks ballet flats.
I've got a bit of an obsession with buying jewelry when I travel. It's uncommon for me NOT to pick up a new ring or necklace or pair of earrings when I visit a new place.
For example, my jewelry box currently contains:
- A Claddagh ring from Ireland
- Hand-painted earrings from Thailand
- A blown-glass necklace from the island of Murano in Italy
- A Greek-patterned ring from Santorini
- A hand-made necklace from Croatia
- Carved Maori bone necklaces from New Zealand
- A leather bracelet from Greece
- A black pearl ring from China
I love buying jewelry abroad, because it's actually a useful souvenir. Instead of sitting on a shelf or hanging on a wall, I can actually WEAR it. And, when I wear a lot of these things, people ask me where I got them and I get to relive some of those great travel memories.
But the problem is that I can't wear all of these bits and bobs at once. I would look ridiculous.
However, I've now discovered a way to wear ALL of my travel memories (or, at least my favorite ones) at once: with an El Camino bracelet.
I first heard of these bracelets from another travel blogger. They're kind of a more streamlined version of a charm bracelet — but made for the travel-obsessed like me.
Basically, you buy “steps” for countries, regions, and even cities you've been to. (You can also get custom steps made for any other travel-related events or places you may want to remember.) You then put these steps on the bracelet, kind of like charms/beads on a Pandora bracelet.
The design is sleek and simple — not too flashy; neutral enough to more or less match anything.
I got a dark green double-sized bracelet (so it wraps around my wrist twice) and 3 steps to start with. I chose the USA and New Zealand (the two countries I've lived in) and London (my favorite city in the world) along with some spacers and a green region step that represents Asia.
I've been wearing my El Camino bracelet EVERYwhere, and I love looking down at my wrist and being reminded of roadtripping across the United States, bungee jumping in New Zealand, and going to the Olympics in London.
I love this piece of jewelry so much that I decided to invest in a bunch more country steps and region steps to cover the 5 major parts of the world I've visited.
I've decided to have my bracelet represent ALL of my adventures (well, eventually…), but you could easily focus yours on a specific region or part of the world.
Do you like buying jewelry that reminds you of your travels?
*Note: I did receive a free “starter kit” from El Camino, but I have since purchased more steps on my own — and will likely buy more! As always, I would never recommend something to you that I wouldn't buy for myself.
Amanda Williams is the award-winning blogger behind A Dangerous Business Travel Blog. She has traveled to more than 60 countries on 6 continents from her home base in Ohio, specializing in experiential and thoughtful travel through the US, Europe, and rest of the world. Amanda only shares tips based on her personal experiences and places she's actually traveled!