We stopped buying souvenirs when we were digital nomads. Read on to see the fridge magnet that turned us back into holiday fridge magnet collectors.
We collect memories instead of souvenirs. This saying was our mantra for three years while we traversed the world as digital nomads.
This lifestyle kept us constantly on the road, staying in cities for as short as a day and as long as two months. It also meant that we lugged four seasons of clothing and a ton of electronics everywhere we went.
To make this lifestyle work, we had to make changes in the way we traveled. We started staying in short-term apartments instead of luxury hotels. We also stopped buying souvenirs.
In the old days (prior to 2016), we bought souvenirs everywhere we traveled. We purchased little statues and art to display in our Philadelphia home, and we always bought a fridge magnet to proudly display on our refrigerator.
The miniature statues, art and magnets all ended up in storage when we packed up our house to travel. We plan to find them one day now that we’ve moved to Lisbon. But that day hasn’t happened yet.
Fridge Magnets as Travel Souvenirs
We weren’t alone. Surveys show that refrigerator magnets are the most popular travel souvenir.
This popularity makes sense considering that fridge magnets are inexpensive, colorful and easy to carry. For many travelers, these magnets are tiny travel trophies that don’t break the bank or the wallet. This popularity is prevalent all over the world though perhaps especially in the UK.
To celebrate the love that everybody has for fridge magnets, Daniel Scott Kitchens held a competition to find the world’s best holiday fridge magnet. The winner received a £100 Love2Shop Holiday Gift Card as a prize. How cool is that?
The judges may have chosen a magnet that’s tacky or one that’s tasteful. Or maybe it was weird to you and us. As they say, one person’s junk is another person’s treasure.
The deadline for entries ended on August 28, 2019.
The Holiday Magnet That Changed Everything for Us
Digital nomad life was wonderful but two years was enough. The lifestyle started losing its luster in Athens when Daryl’s iPhone was stolen on a metro.
A two-month stint in Da Nang nailed the coffin – we needed a base. We loved living in one apartment – we slept well and felt like part of an ex-pat community. Plus, we got more work done without constant movement.
Leaving Da Nang made us sad. The Vietnamese city had become a home-away-from-home and we weren’t looking forward to upcoming push that took us to Bangkok (twice), Chiang Mai, Sri Lanka, London (twice), Memphis, Fife, Edinburgh, Lisbon (twice), Hamburg, New York, Philadelphia and Buffalo. Just remembering those travel days makes us exhausted!
As we left Da Nang, the apartment manager gave us a magnet as a goodbye gift. Our initial thought was to leave the magnet behind since it went against our travel mantra. But we didn’t. Instead, we carried the tiny souvenir with us in three continents until we finally landed in Lisbon, our new home base.
That little magnet quickly became a touchstone and quickly became our favorite magnet. We soon realized that we wanted a refrigerator where we could start a new fridge magnet collection.
Our New Fridge Magnet Collection
Now that we live in an apartment in Lisbon, we no longer need to lug around heavy suitcases when we travel. We travel lighter and can easily return to Lisbon with a new fridge magnet after each trip.
Our new fridge magnet collection is small – only four so far. In addition to the Da Nang magnet, we now have magnets from Burgundy, Flåm and Amsterdam.
These magnets make us happy every time we open the refrigerator to get milk for coffee or grab a piece of fruit. Since we have a lot of trips planned for the near future, the collection should grow quickly
Perhaps we need to change our mantra. From now on, we collect memories and magnets. Problem solved.
Holiday Fridge Magnet Competition
Hopefully, you entered David Scott Kitchens’ holiday magnet competition if you collect magnets when you travel too.
Entrants posted a photo of their favorite magnet on Daniel Scott Kitchens’ via Facebook, Instagram or Twitter along with the #FavouriteHolidayFridgeMagnet hashtag. Some entrants submitted their favorite magnets via the competition site.
Entry deadline was August 28, 2019. You can check the full terms and conditions if you’re curious.
About the Authors
Daryl & Mindi Hirsch
Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.
Original Publication Date: August 16, 2019
Monday 25th of January 2021
Great collection of fridge magnets I love the designs I want to make like them but in a domed fridge magnets style. Thank for giving ideas.
Tuesday 3rd of September 2019
I know exactly what you mean. I used to collect shot glasses from every trip but quickly started getting too many. Not good when you insist on 'christening' every one you get ;)
But it didn't take long before I realised I couldn't keep doing this! However, some trips are extra special and it's nice to have a little something to prompt those happy memories. That's why I like only being a part time traveller. It means I can have a base to keep these special trinkets. My cushion from Svalbard, earrings from Canada, beautifully carved wooden photo frame from Thailand... all these little things make me so happy because they remind me of a great moment in my life :)