A ‘novel’ 7th Finder!

Mary from Los Angeles, California was visiting London, one of her favourite travel destinations she tells me, when she popped into the famous Foyles Bookshop.

Foyle’s was founded in 1903 by brothers William & Gilbert Foyle. It has expanded & moved several times most recently in June 2014 to it’s current 107 Charing Cross Road location. The new Foyles flagship houses a range of over 200,000 different titles on four miles (6.5km) of shelves – the equivalent of lining one bank of the Thames with books from Battersea Power Station to the Tower of London.

Whilst browsing the fiction section Mary picked up Victoria Hislop’s latest novel ‘Cartes Postal from Greece’. On opening the book she came across the InspiredTravels71 postcard I had hidden there just a few weeks earlier. Mary was enchanted by her find & wanted to get in touch so copied down the details on the back of a Boots receipt & put the postcard back with the hope that someone else might find it at a later date.

Mary tells me that as her father, best selling novelist Sidney Sheldon loved to travel & gained much inspiration for his novels from time spent overseas, so as a child she travelled extensively with the family. It was during one of these trips at the age of eight that Mary found her love & spiritual home in England, she says ‘she’s never looked back’. She spent 2 years at boarding school in Oxford & returns annually to the UK to visit her favourite haunts especially London, & a few new ones too. Luckily Mary’s husband & daughter share her love of England.

Mary, herself a well known novelist, shares these favourite travel memories from her trips overseas :

‘I especially remember a trip I took when I was eight to the Valley of the Butterflies in Paros, Greece. This was probably the favorite day of my mother’s life.

Mary’s mother, actress Jorja Curtright on her journey to Valley of the Butterflies, Paros Greece.

A guide took us, via donkeys, down into a deep valley. It was very quiet – we were the only ones there. The trees, I remember, were covered with a gnarly brown coating, which the guide hit with a stick. Immediately, the coating revealed itself to be the folded wings of thousands upon thousands of orange butterflies. The sky was filled with them – an incredible sight.

The orange butterflies at Paros, Greece.

She continues ‘That was about fifty years ago, so I don’t know if the valley is still there, or has been destroyed by pollution, or overrun by tourists. But it was a magical place.

A second favorite travel memory happened last year. I’m an avid collector of dolls house miniatures, and had heard of a town in the Cotswolds called Bourton-on-the-Water which had a miniature replica of the village itself. My daughter and I decided to visit. It was quite an adventure getting there — by train, then by foot, then by bus, then by foot again. The village itself was wonderful, and the miniature village was enchanting beyond belief, a tiny and complete representation of every actual store and house. And it was totally up to the minute — whenever there was a change of ownership of a shop, the miniature counterpart was faithfully changed as well.

Mary’s daughter Rebecca at the miniature village, Bourton-on-the-Water, The Cotswolds.

I especially remember the kindness of the townspeople. I guess they don’t get many visitors from America, and everybody was so solicitous about putting us on the proper buses and making sure we got where we needed to go. It was a marvelous adventure indeed.’

Thank you Mary for taking the time to respond to the postcard you found & for sharing your delightful favourite travel memories with me, my readers but most importantly, my mum Anne.

Sarah x


Two bestsellers & our sixth postcard ‘Finder’!

When I heard there were two new paperback books I town with ‘Postcard’ related titles – ‘The Postcard’ by Fern Britton & ‘Cartes Postales from Greece’ by Victoria Hislop – I rushed to Bluewater armed with postcards ready to hide.

I headed to The bookstores in Bluewater and quickly hide half a dozen cards in the new paperbacks mentioned above. I excitedly tweeted about the hides in both books & was excited when both authors retweeted.

A week later & I received an email from a finder who prefers to stay anonymous that had been discovered on of my card’s in the Victoria Hislop book they’d purchased that day.

This is my sixth ‘Finder’ following in the footsteps of Pierre, Bob, Tina, William & Amy.

Don’t forget, if your heading out on your summer holidays soon to ask me for some postcards to hide!

Who will be the next finder?

Sarah xx

Ciara’s Story – What a big heart for a little lady.

When 6 year old Ciara heard about Mummy Tina's find at Thorpe park, she too wanted to join in the fun. 

On a sunny(ish) May Day bank holiday, Ciara, brother Bertie 2 & Mummy, set off into Hastings with the aim of hiding a postcard for Inspiredtravels71. 

Ciara searched high and low for the perfect spot to hide her card. I think she did pretty well don't you? She was even rewarded with an icecream afterwards. 

That's not the only help she has generously given to my project. 

Ciara has also coloured in some postcards for me to go out & hide:And look at this amazing painting she made for my Mum to put a smile on her face:Thank you so much Ciara for all your help. What a big heart for a little lady. 💗💗💗

Gracelands glory on the Lisa Marie

On my summer holiday touring the ‘Deep South’ of America I scattered postcards as I travelled around the various cities & states visited. As you can read in the link, to my delight I got a finder in Chattanooga when visiting the famous ‘Choo Choo‘.  

A life long ambition was to visit ‘Gracelands’ and this was what inspired the trip for me. To me, Graceland was the epitome of the American Dream.Following on from the tour of that famous home, it’s grounds, the on-site museums and of course the stores (it’s rude not to!😉) that were included in our tour ticket I still had some time to spare. So I popped to the ticket office and purchased an add on ticket to visit Elvis’s custom designed planes. Elvis’s first purchase was the Convair 880 from Delta Airlines in April 1975 which he named the ‘Lisa Marie’ after his beloved daughter. While the plane was undergoing renovation he purchased the smaller Lockheed JetStar which he named ‘Hound Dog II’.

When I stepped on the Lisa Marie I hunted for a place to hide a card. I quickly found the perfect spot in the hook that was traditionally used by the stewardesses to hang their jackets on as they worked. 

Once I had returned home, I had a lovely email from Amy of Ohio who had found my card when she visited with her husband Troy & his parents from Belgium. The family had driven 8 hours to make their visit when they found my card. 

Amy, Troy, his parents & a couple of hairy (or was that Harley) bikers? That’s another story...

As well as Gracelands, the family also visited Sun Studio, Slave Haven (Underground Railroad Museum) & Beale Street during their trip to the region. 

On returning home they visited the Ohio Caverns, Jungle Jim’s International Grocery Store & Greenville Falls. Sounds like they had a fun packed trip, as did I.Ohio Cavern, beautiful huh?

Thank you Elvis for overseeing this find, for a fantastic holiday visiting all of your old haunts & for the legacy of your amazing music which never dates. The late, great Elvis has left the building! Ah ha ha.

Pardon me boy. Is that the Chattanooga Choo Choo?

On the second day of my recent holiday, touring 'The Deep South' of the USA, I finally remembered that I was meant to be hiding postcards on my travels…oops!

When we stopped in Chattanooga to visit the famous Chattanooga Choo Choo, I left the coach, postcard in hand determined not to forget & to find a suitable hiding place. I found a hiding spot & finally remembered to make my hide.



This is where I chose, in the drivers cabin of the train

Well as it goes, I chose the perfect spot as later that day William and his friend Jennifer stopped off at the Choo Choo for an overnight pit stop on their road trip home from Iowa to Jacksonville, FL. They'd been in Iowa as William's daughter Sarah was marrying Peter there.

Whilst exploring the grounds of the hotel, William climbed into the drivers cabin & found my postcard:

William said that the message he read touched his heart so he made contact to find out more about Mum & the project

Here's a picture of the proud dad William & blushing bride Sarah

The happy couple – Sarah & Peter

Wishing Sarah & Peter a lifetime of happiness & a special thank you to William for being a part of Inspiredtravels71.

Sarah & Anne xx

(Photo's courtesy of Jennifer seen here with William)

Six hens & a postcard find!

When commuting chum Vikki said she was heading to Thorpe Park with her son Jordan I cheekily asked if she’d take a couple of postcards along to hide for me. She agreed, so I quickly wrote a couple out on our morning train journey in readiness for her trip. 

Before she went, Vikki had carefully planned where to hide the cards, & quickly went about her task when she arrived there on Sat 16th April 2016. 

In the early hours of Sun 17th April I awoke & checked my phone (as you do!) only to find an email entitled ‘your postcard…‘that was it, I was a member of the wide awake club!

Tina had been at Thorpe park on Saturday also ,with her sister Leah, for their friend Katie’s hen party. During their day Tina had found Vikki’s card & replied that very night.  

 Tina (in Khaki), Katie (well, I think you can guess who’s the bride to be…) and Leah to Katie’s right.
Vikki remembers seeing the girls having fun during their day around Thorpe Park. 

Tina lives in Hastings with her two children Ciara & Bertie. When asked where here favourite place to travel to was she said ‘my favourite place is my hometown of hastings, i love to go to the beach with my babies and enjoy the sun when its out lol.. ‘ How lovely is that to be so content with your life that you live in your very own paradise?

Since hearing more about my project Tina is keen to get more involved by sending me cards from her hometown Hastings & hiding a few with her sister & daughter. 

Katie is due to marry Mark at the end of April 2016. I thank them for letting Inspiredtravels71 encroach on their celebrations & wish them a very long & happy life together. 

Thanks to all of you involved in this hide/find & for your continued support/ involvement in Inspiredtravels71 project. We really do appreciate it. Anne & Sarah xx

What a difference a year makes – Inspiredtravels71 1st Birthday post

Inspiredtravels71 is a year old today! Wow, where did that year go? And how things have evolved beyond my initial vision! 

  So what started as an idea to buy a postcard & hide it at the next location I travelled to, has now evolved to people all around the world hiding and donating cards to the project.  
 There are now over 200 cards hidden, in hidey holes far & wide. From just around the corner from my home to right across the other side of the world. I’m planning to plot a map of the hides (by country) if anyone can recommend an app/website…

Hidden by friends, family & complete strangers who are now friends. What a whirlwind of a trip the last year has been.   

  Bring on April 2016/7. I can’t wait to see where the next leg of this adventure goes!

Thanks again for all the support, hides,donations and ideas given.  I hope some of you recognise your pictures/cards above. Keep them coming… Anne & Sarah xxx