I'm coming out of the closet about a secret shame. I collect fridge magnets.
It began during a trip to Tonga with Nathan's family a couple of years ago. We had a few hours to kill at the Nuku'alofa airport and I had a couple of dollars to get rid of.
I bought a wooden turtle magnet with Tonga written on its back, and so my slightly geeky obsession with collecting travel magnets began.
Like most travellers, I have limited money, and limited space in my bag (buying a Lilo hasn't helped), so magnets are a pretty good choice of purchase.
I don't get to buy the shoes, books, or that massive, giant wooden bust of Shakespeare I really wanted (it seemed like a good idea at the time), but being able to buy a magnet every few days gives me a little spending high and satisfies my shopping needs.
Among my favourites from this trip so far are a mini-cheeseboard from Paris, clogs from Amsterdam, a yellow taxi from New York, and these creepy dancing potatoes from Idaho.
Nathan was initially not into my game. In fact, "not into" is an understatement. When we were in LA I wanted to buy a $2.99 Hollywood star magnet and he was like "That's coming out of your budget." Cheap bastard...
However, then we met Rich from Perth. Rich is also collecting magnets and has rules for when you're allowed to buy them, such as only when you've stayed the night in a city.
Suddenly, Nathan has crossed the divide, and is now hitting up souvenir shops on every Croatian island we land on, discussing the qualities and failings of various magnets.
While this is good in one way - now they're coming out of both our budgets - I notice my collection is becoming less about the cute miniatures and more about bottle openers attached to women in bikinis.
Given the abundance of souvenir options in these shops, I assume there are many people out there with similarly shameful travel collections.
I have a friend who used to collect shot glasses, though gave up after about five. I've also met people who collect T-shirts, pins, beer mugs and postcards. I even know one person who collects underwear from all the cities she stays in (bought new, I believe, not permanently borrowed from clothes lines).
I don't appreciate travel spoons.
I am enforcing a not-looking-until-trip-is-over policy with our magnets because I want them to be more of a surprise when we open them at the end, but the number of little wrapped packages through my bag is growing rapidly.
Sort of wondering how I'm going to fit them on a fridge. Also not looking forward to being stopped at customs and having to watch an officer unwrap each one.
Does anyone else want to admit to a travel collection? It feels good not to live a lie ...
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