This post is inspired by Saturday’s fushmush, where Jess posted pictures of her pins, squashed pennies, Euro coins and Christmas decorations and posed the question, ‘what do you collect when you travel?’
The first answer here is, of course, ideas for blog posts/diary entries/travel articles/future novels. I often take notes in a journal, write on maps, or take photographs to prompt my memory when I’m back home (wherever that home might be).
Then there’s the postcards. I buy a lot of postcards – perhaps 2-3 for every new place we visit. Most get sent, but I’ve probably still got 20 or so postcards in our stationery drawer, some dating back to our honeymoon over two years ago.
But our most tangible souvenirs are probably the magnets. Again, we started collecting these on our honeymoon. The first one was bought at Singapore airport, when we were only 12 hours away from New Zealand and continued to collect them ever since. We’ve got too many for our half-size fridge but, so far, we’re managing to display them all on two sides of our hot water unit.
The rule originally was one magnet per city we stayed in overnight. Travelling around the Greek Islands, we soon learnt to distinguish between the magnets made especially for a city and those which gave the ‘flavour’ of the place (windmills, beaches) with the name written in felt-tip pen. In the photo above, you can see our magnets from Europe: the Vatican guard from Rome; gondola from Venice; beer opener from Munich. I think the only place in Europe we didn’t get a magnet from was Genoa in Italy. Genoa wasn’t a particularly touristy place – we couldn’t find an internet cafe either.
As time’s passed, and we’ve spent more time travelling around the UK, we haven’t stuck so strictly to the overnight stay rule. So we’ve got a magnets from the Cadbury Chocolate Factory and the Prime Meridian of the World alongside the ones from Cambridge, Whitby and Oxford. We’ve also picked up magnets from some of the West End plays we’ve seen, such as Wicked and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. One of my favourites is the small metal Globe Theatre magnet on the left here – a reminder of our summer as stewards at the theatre.
They’re not, on the whole, expensive magnets. Some, such as the Dracula magnet from Whitby, are incredibly tacky. But I like that we’ve taken the time to choose each one, and I like the stories they have, and the fact that they’re small and fairly unbreakable and they they can come with us in suitcases wherever we move to next.
That was way more than I intended to type tonight. My fingers hurt!