When I returned from my backpacking trip, I unpacked all the boxes I sent home like a kid on Christmas morning. Some of the stuff had sentimental value, some of it was just as cool as I’d remembered when buying it, and a small percentage fell into the “why the hell did I buy this” category. Going forward, I’ll be sharing some of the cool souvenirs I picked up on my journey.

To kick things off, I present a rectangular box with turquoise and coral inlay. Both stones are very common to Tibetan crafts. On the box, you’ll see the omnipresent “Om” symbol. The actual religious object, which looks akin to a dagger, is full of iconography starting at the top with an animal head, then moving into the lightning bolt (if I recall correctly) which has the red coral in the middle of it, and then a dragon’s head from which the turquoise-tipped point emerges.

Tibetan box and 'dagger'

The Tibetan gentleman (pictured) who sold it to me on a side street in McLeod Ganj, India explained the symbolism of it all to me (with help from his Mom), but I soon forgot. Someday, I will look it all up again.

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  • David Lee

    In late 2007, I quit my job and left the comfortable life in the USA for the open road with nothing but a 20-pound backpack, a …

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