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My family has always been into gift giving.  Whenever my parents traveled they would spend part of the trip choosing gifts to take home with them.  That’s how we learnt how and who to bring gifts for. When my siblings and I were in boarding school we started each semester off by distributing gifts to our friends. ( Years later I visited my high school roommate when she moved from Japan to LA  and was hugely moved to see a small collections of things I had given her– a mini vase from Greece, that kind of thing). In college and during grad school trips home meant buying gifts for everyone.  Now that we all live at home again , trips away from home mean gifts on our return.

Perhaps its a little odd to see travel and gift giving as connected but somehow it always been a  way for us to share an experience:  the pleasures of taking a break, the excitement of exploring a new place.

My younger brother just got home from a trip to Ladakh. He came home with the most amazing stories and gifts for everyone. As the youngest in the family, he has gotten away with being more of a gift receiver than giver but as his travels have gotten more adventurous so have his gifts choices.  From my sister, my mother and me, he got shawls that this part of India is famous for.  He explained that the wool was grown in Ladakh but that the shawls were woven elsewhere in Kashmir. He also managed to pick the shawls that showed he had  paid attention to the colors we like to wear.

I love the stunning pick shawl he picked for me but even more than that I ❤ being part of a family that see  travel and gift giving as serious and interconnected activities.