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.