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Travel Souvenirs

©flickr/Merlijn Hoek

©flickr/Merlijn Hoek

Some people collect snow globes, some folks bring back refrigerator magnets and some collect “Do not disturb,” signs. Wait, am I the only one who collects “Do not disturb” signs?

We All Collect Something

When we travel we like to bring home more than just good memories. We want something concrete to remind us from time to time of the fun we had, something that triggers those memories and let’s be honest, we want to brag about where we’ve been.

I have a drawer in my file cabinet full of pictures I haven’t opened in years; I bet some of you do too. With our phone cameras, we take more pictures in a day than were probably taken in all the years of saying “Cheese.” Selfies are the rage and so commonplace, no one wants to see them. Photos are nice, don’t get me wrong but just try getting the neighbors to sit through 3 hours of photos from your trip to Europe and all of a sudden, they’re all washing their hair that night, even the bald guy next door.

Snow Globes

Nothing says I’ve been to Jamaica better than a snow globe from Negril. Obviously some people still collect these archaic souvenirs or you wouldn’t see them in gift shops from Italy to Vegas and Alaska to Tahiti. I think it’s a dying breed that collects these, but they’re dying hard. Some are actually works of art while most are as tacky as well, a snow globe from Jamaica. Wikipedia says they started in France and if Wikipedia says they started in France then they started in Austria.

Refrigerator Magnets
These are the smallest, cheapest and easiest to find souvenirs there are. Trust me, I have a freezer in my garage covered in them. Every time I walk into my garage I see them and remember something about my trip. It may be as simple as which street vendor I bought it from or what the weather was like there that day. The problem is: then I can’t remember what I wanted in the freezer.

This used to be a great and free way to remember your travels. Every establishment around from your hotel, to the amazing restaurant you’ll never forget, to the nightclub you barely remember visiting used to supply these free. It was the best way to advertise before the internet and was handy for smokers as well. In the past they sometimes got used accidentally but now that no one smokes they are a safe memento, other than the fire hazard. The problem is, since no one smokes, no one provides matches anymore.

Ball Caps
Ball caps aren’t for just ball players and truckers anymore; they’re for balding guys like me everywhere. I buy a ball cap in every country I visit and unlike the photos no one wants to come over and see: I get to show these puppies off every day. I have quite a collection of ball caps which keeps getting larger and larger, just like my bald spot.

Do Not Disturb Signs
Yes, the Wife thinks I am a little disturbed as well but let me explain. If you enjoyed sleeping in and taking naps as much as I do, you would understand. Plus, this is a freebie, provided by your hotel; they just don’t know it. I only take the ones that have the hotel name on them and I have a collection that will rival any snow globe collection anywhere. I know this may be considered stealing but how many of you have, accidentally of course, found a hotel towel in your suitcase? I don’t take towels but I do take “Do not disturb signs,” so if you ever follow me in a room someday, sorry about housekeeping waking you up that first morning.
Michael Ryan


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