St Lucian postcard Finder

When out with my secondary school friends Marie, Nikki & Sadye for our pre Christmas meet up, I was telling them about my InspiredTravels71 postcard project. I happened to have some postcards in my bag which I gave them to read, when finished I said keep them & hide them for me when on your travels either here at home in the UK or when you next go away.

When I next saw her Marie said she’d hidden her card in St Lucia when she’d had a trip with her family.Just a couple of weeks later I received an email from Bill informing me that he’d found Marie’s postcard in his hotel book exchange. Bill is Inspiredtravels71’s 11th finder, but Marie’s first.

Bill & his wife Anne, from New York we’re visiting St Lucia for five days. It was their first trip there and they enjoyed trying fishing, snorkeling, hot mud baths in the volcano & sightseeing during their stay.Bill tells me he’s always been a fan of postcards so this find was meant to be it seems. His daughter Suzanne had her own postcard project a few years ago. As a joke she sent her Dad 46 anonymous postcards in an attempt to drive him batty. It worked! he claims.Recently retired Heating & Air Conditioning Mechanic Bill tells me he’s looking forward to summer road trips exploring the States in more detail now he has more time on his hands.

On of Bills favourite holidays was to Italy with a group of 6 friends. They forgot their camera & so made a cartoon journal every day. It brings back good memories & still causes a laugh every time it comes out.

Bill’s planning to hide to postcard on that he found in a popular book exchange in New York.

Will he get a finder too? Watch this space… Only time will tell.

Sarah & Anne x

Swaziland Skip’s Retirement Travel – Finder 10!

When an ex colleague asked me for some me postcards as ‘their friend was always travelling’ none of us expected the friend to get a response so quickly!

Intrepid traveller Skip Macaulay was midway through the retirement trip of a lifetime covering such places as Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia & Namibia, when he stumbled across an InspiredTravels71 postcard in Swaziland.

Skip, from the US is blogging about his lovely trip and sharing some wonderful pictures of the faraway places he is visiting. He’s currently exploring Madagascar, it’s so great to be able to see these wonderful places through Skips photos.

Well done Skip, you are Finder no.10! Thank you for getting in touch & sharing you’re find.

It’s been a tough year here at InspiredTravels71, Mum was diagnosed with breast cancer in late 2017 & had a full Mastectomy in January 2018. I’m pleased to report that at last check she was cancer free & recovering well.

What better way to celebrate than our 10th Finder?

Sarah & Anne x

Finders Luck – Ninth Find!

If you’ve been following my blog & have read posts ‘Six hens & a postcard find’ and ‘Ciara’s story’ you’ll already know how Mum Tina found an InspiredTravels71 postcard while on her friend Katie’s Hen do. She then went on to hide a couple of postcards with daughter Ciara in Hastings where they live.

Last night I got that buzz for the ninth time, when I opened my email to read that I had another new finder!

Candy had been visiting friends in Hastings for the weekend and of course had to pay a visit to the beach. Whilst there she stumbled across the postcard that Tina & Ciara had hidden there earlier.

Intrigued & touched by the message she read, she put it in her bag intending to respond later. Fast forward 1year & on her day off, Candy rediscovered the postcard & decided it was time to respond.

Candy has had lots of great trips, her favourite travel stories are as follows: ‘My favourite trip was to cuba, i went to havana for 4 days then on to the beach in varadero after to relax. Havana was beautiful, colonial, dirty, vibrant and amazing place to be. My friend and i were invited in to random peoples houses for chicken rice and peas- their main meal in cuba and it was a surreal experience. We went dancing at outdoor parties with locals in the hot night air. There were classic cars and music playing and locals all sitting outside their front doors watching the world go by in the city. You may have been, but if not i totally recommend it!

I have just come back from marrakech in morocco, that was quite an experience, the main town is full of people selling anything they can from spices and beauty products and leather goods to scales to tell you your weight and snake charming and monkeys wearing sunglasses. Mopeds speed past you on the tinyest  of streets and even through the more indoor markets! At night it really came to life in the main square and was quite chaotic! I had to cover up all the time with shawls but still at night i received quite a bit of unwanted male attention, so you do have to be careful, especially at night.

The most beautiful place to me would be venice   In italy with all the canals and bridges, people say it gets quite smelly there, but i didnt think so. Defo one to go see tho! Amazing churches and museums and palaces and gondola ride is pricey but a must! -you can take your own bottle of prosecco on board if you wish!

Last but not least tropea in calabria italy has my favourite beach overlooked by a monestry. The town itself is bustling in summer and dead in winter but really rustic and beautiful with little streets to get lost in and amazing views to be seen and gelato and pizza to be eaten.‘

Wow! Some great recommendations there!

So the moral of this story is, if you’ve hidden postcards in the past for me don’t give up hope. As I’ve said to many people the really could turn up when you least expect it.

Thank you Candy for getting in touch & sharing your wonderful travel stories with Mum, the blog readers & I. Thank you also to Tina & Ciara for their hide.

This project wouldn’t work without your support & participation. A very grateful Sarah & Anne xx

Ten long years!

On this day 10 years ago our families lives, but especially my Mum Anne’s, changed forever!

At approximately 9pm the day after we’d returned from a family holiday to Florida, Mum had a major stroke. Luckily it was detected quickly & a nearby ambulance had her on oxygen within 3 minutes. This we are told most probably saved her life.

It has been an extremely tough journey, especially for Mum, but also for Dad Malcolm who for the past 10 years has been her full time carer, not just through the day. This is a 24/7 job.

Paying into our system in the uk doesn’t necessarily mean that you automatically get the support you need when you need it. It has been a continuous uphill battle for Dad to find out what is available to help Mum & support him. Once he has uncovered this he has then had to fight continuously to get what they need. It’s not been an easy ride for either of them.

I’m so proud of how you have both coped over the past 10 years. Your love for each other (celebrated 50 years of marriage earlier this month) & humour through the tough times has helped see you through.

Well done on reaching this milestone & keep fighting against the odds. Love you both immensely & am so proud

Sarah & Emma xx

Fig Tree Bay Finder

When Anna from Protaras Cyprus was delivering leaflets for the Mini Golf Centre that she works at, she stumbled across a postcard hidden inside a book, which when she turned it over had a hand written message from Inspiredtravels71.

On reading the message further Anna’s reaction was to smile, & although something made her question if it was a hoax she decided to send an email and find out more so she got in touch.

Anna tells me that she has hidden the postcard on in another tourist hotel.

The postcard that Anna found was hidden by Kim, a carer, who I met in America in 2016, when we were both touring the Deep South. We struck up a friendship over a rather poignant piece of street art…

During the trip Kim saw me busily writing out postcards and asked what they were for. When I told her about The project & my Mum’s situation she jumped at the chance to help hide & donate some cards.

Later that year Kim was taking her annual sabbatical with husband Phil to Protaras to celebrate their wedding anniversary. They married there on 6th October 2009.

The rest is history.

Thank you to Kim for hiding the card & Anna for responding to her find. Thank you both for being a part of Inspiredtravels71.

Sarah & Anne xx

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)