Want to know where I’ve traveled? Just check out my refrigerator, which is covered from top to bottom with colorful, magnetic mementos of the places I’ve been. When I travel I collect magnets. I have magnets from countries, states, cities and attractions. I have plastic magnets, ceramic magnets and metal magnets. I even have a magnet made out of compressed volcanic ash. Some are hand-painted, some sculpted; others are photographs or shaped to represent the attraction.
Though I’ve been collecting magnets for many years, it’s only in the last two years that I’ve begun doing so religiously when I travel. Why magnets, you ask? Well, they’re relatively inexpensive — though even I sometimes balk at paying $10 for a hand-made piece. They’re small, so easy to fit into an already over-full suitcase. And I love watching my fridge fill up with reminders of where I’ve been. So far I have 39 magnets. (I used to have 40, but my cat decided my sculpted ceramic replica of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona made a great toy.)
Whenever possible I try to select magnets made by local artisans. They tend to be unique — and often funky — and I like being able to support the local community with my purchase. It’s so much better than dropping a few bucks in a tourist trap on a magnet that was probably made in China (of course, I’ve got some of those as well!).
Here are a few favorites from my collection (mouse over the images to learn more about them):
— written by Dori Saltzman