The Collector: Always caught up in world travel – the Magnet Collection a reminder of all the places you’ve been | Tech US News


Stepping into Jessie Lang’s Spokane Valley kitchen is like taking a trip around the world.

His dishwasher is full of magnets he picked up on domestic trips and his refrigerator is full of magnets he picked up on international trips.

As a child growing up in Northern California, Lang remembers looking at National Geographic magazines from school friends.

“I always wanted to travel,” she said. “My folks talked about traveling, but they never did. I was 11 or 12 before I saw the ocean and it was only a couple of hours away.”

His eyes sparkled as he remembered wading ankle-deep in the Pacific.

“Then I saw the Redwoods and I was hooked.”

In high school he studied Spanish and hoped to study in Mexico for a year, but that was not on his cards.

Most of her domestic travel occurred after she married and her then-husband was in graduate school. His work at EWU led them to Cheney, where Lang found purpose and passion in the fledgling recycling movement.

“I looked around and saw the waste and the need,” he said. “I started a small non-profit recycling center in Cheney.”

In 1989, she was selected to be Spokane’s first recycling coordinator. Soon after, he began booking an annual trip to a faraway land and when he retired in 2002 he upped his travel game.

“I visited 60 countries, the seven continents and most of the states of the United States”

Her travels abroad took her from Antarctica to Zanzibar and collecting magnets proved to be an easy and inexpensive way to remember her travels.

An iceberg with a perched penguin denotes his Antarctic adventure. To get there, she said, “You go to the end of the world and take a boat.”

When asked what there was to do on the frozen continent, she smiled.

“You looked at the penguins.”

A colorful carpet magnet marks your visit to Kyrgyzstan and beyond.

“I toured all the ‘stans’ along the old Silk Road,” Lang said.

In Morocco, she slept in a tent in the Sahara and rode a camel.

“Once was enough,” he said of the ride. “My camel was not happy with life.”

An elephant ride in India was more enjoyable, but seeing the huge disparity between rich and poor made her sad.

Although he has seen many of the wonders of the world, he really does not count the Great Wall of China.

“The smog was so bad we couldn’t even see our feet,” he said. “It was disappointing, but we saw the Terracotta Soldiers and that made the trip.”

Although Lang said she is not adventurous, she has taken a hot air balloon ride in Turkey.

“It’s an absolutely beautiful country,” he said. “I’m a chicken, but when I saw where they were going to fly over, I went. It was beautiful!”

Of course, trying the local cuisine is part of the travel experience. Lang ate guinea pigs in Ecuador and wild boar in Africa and, more traditionally, enjoyed pizza where he originated in Naples, Italy.

“I also acquired a taste for limoncello,” he said.

Lang has always traveled with tour groups such as Overseas Adventure Travel or Elderhostel (now called Roads Scholar). These tours offer opportunities to spend time with the locals you’ve come to love.

“People are a lot alike wherever you go,” he said.

As an example, he recalled traveling along the Amazon River in a boat. Their guide saw a man working on a canoe and asked if they could stop to visit with him.

He agreed and as he chatted with the tourists, his young son came running towards them with his arm in a sling.

“Her son had played Superman and jumped off the porch and broke his arm,” she said. “My son would do that too!”

She came to Mexico as she wanted as a high school student.

“I visited four times, two of which were volunteer holidays where I taught English to high school kids. I loved that.”

When asked to pick a favorite among the countries he visited, he said his standard response was usually, “Next.

“But how can you compare being in the Greek ruins with ‘Oh look! There’s a lion in that tree.'”

Unfortunately, an injury put an end to his travels around the world.

“I traveled until the late 70s until I fell and broke my hip,” Lang, 83, said.

His colorful displays of magnets remind him of the many places he has visited.

“There was a world out there and I wanted to see it,” he said.


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