OK, so I have to confess. Like so many of the people I know, I not only write, but I do all kinds of craft work, and I have just almost completed the first real quality patchwork quilt, QS bed, and am only held up because I am in Mexico where quality batting and backing do not exist. Polyester rubbish, certainly, but I am hoping for something of the quality of the Australian-made 'Matilda's Own' batting and backing fabrics that are 100% cotton like those of M & S fabrics or Kona. So I have done the top and two matching pillow shams but have to wait till I head north to pick up some decent material. Annoying, as I am quite impatient to see this finished. The fabrics have mostly come from recycled bits and pieces, my stash that went back to the 1960s plus some really amazing fabrics (Kona etc.) that I picked up as I have travelled around the world. This is a great souvenir to purchase, by the way. No junk for the suitcase. Takes up little space (a fat quarter or less). And will always remind you of some happy holiday!
Writing my books has been a similar process. I have used much recycled memory. I have many souvenirs of travel that I have enjoyed or not enjoyed. I have met all kinds of people. In writing my book, I have put much of this into characters, settings and story. Read it and see if you can tell!