A helping hand – Paying it forward.

Following my guest post on the 60 Postcards blog, I received an email entitled ‘Wow’ from Jo Easton.   Jo said she was travelling to the Las Vegas & San Francisco in the USA later in the year for her daughters wedding & would like to get involved in my project & hide a couple of cards while there.  Mum, Dad & I had a wonderful holiday traveling around that region a few years before Mum had her stroke, so I jumped at the chance of having some cards hidden in these areas. Here is Jo’s story:

A bit about me and mine…

I’m originally from Welling in Kent (another coincidence, so did we!) but moved to Wimborne in Dorset in 1989 with my Husband and two children and that’s been our home ever since, we love it.
My Daughters name is Emily and she met her partner Nic ( now husband) in the Wynn hotel Las Vegas, 5 years ago. They didn’t actually start seeing each other at that point, just sending the odd text when they returned home, however she met him again a couple of months later quite by accident on a night out in London, the rest is history. Having met in Vegas they decided that they should get married there, so on the 28 October 2015 in a lovely ceremony at the Wynn hotel, they tied the knot.

I first came across your story on the 60 postcards blog. I have been following Rachel’s blog since it started and as you may know, she regularly features inspirational stories from other people and that’s how I came across your story. I’m not sure why, but there was something about your story that I found truly inspiring. I love that you have found a way to share memories, adventures and more importantly precious time with your mum through a common love of travel. It’s also great that you did so much travelling together before she had her stroke.

As I mentioned in my original email, I was fortunate to have my postcard (dedicated to my late brother John) hidden in the Grand Central Station in New York as part of Rachel’s 60 Postcards Stateside project. Your story gave me an opportunity to ‘pay it forward’ so to speak and help someone else with their quest.
It’s not easy deciding where to leave such an important message, particularly in Las Vegas! I decided on the Yardbird restaurant for two reasons, firstly our family and friends spent many happy hours eating, drinking and more importantly, chatting there. It was a really lively place with a real buzz about it. The little hooks under the bar seemed to cry out for a postcard.    

The second one in San Francisco was easier. We were out walking on a bright sunny day and got to union square. The ice rink had just been set up and a few brave people were showing off their skills (or lack of them!). There was a little coffee shop just at the edge and from there I could see the railings with a few people standing by them watching. It seemed a really good place to hang a card with a hope of it being found.    I’m glad you liked the ribbon idea, not original I’m afraid, Rachel tied a couple of hers to things, including my card in NY.

I’m so pleased you have had a response from someone, it must be so exciting for you and your mum. Fingers crossed you will get more responses in the future too.

Wishing you all the very best with the project.’

Congratulations to Emily & Nic, may you have many happy & prosperous years ahead of you.  Thank you so much for getting in touch to volunteer to hid the cards for me Jo, especially at such a busy time for you and your family.  Mum & I feel privileged to have been thought of at such an important time in your lives.  Anne & Sarah xx

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I’ve got a finder!!!

Yes, It’s really true and very exciting…

On Thurs 5th November at 4pm whilst sitting at my desk in the office, I noticed the e mail I’d been patiently waiting for in my Inspiredtravels71 inbox. It was entitled ‘Postcard in Lille’. My tummy did a little flip, while I tried to contain myself, I doubt my colleagues many who know nothing of this project would appreciate me whooping and jumping for joy!

I quickly opened the email, from Pierre who’d found the card hidden by my friend Sandra in the book L’Art Nouveau in her hotel in Lille in October. Pierre was a man of a few words but those few words were very important, to me at least.  He confirmed the location of the card that he’d found which enabled me to verify to my list of hide locations that it was a genuine find. Pierre also congratulated my on my funny initiative.  I’ve emailed Pierre for more information and wait to see if he replies, but given recent tragic events in France I understand that he has more pressing matters on his mind for now. I hope he and his family remain safe & well.  Thank you Pierre, you really did make my day ❣

I wonder who my next finder will be???

What an eventful summer

Summer 2015 was a bit busy for Inspiredtravels71!

Lots of friends & new contacts from the last blog post were requesting postcards to hide away on their travels. To date there are approximately 90 cards hidden out there in the big wide world. Considering I only went public with the project in June 2015 is pretty amazing, thank you so much to all of you who have helped out. 

Each postcard is hand written, I choose to keep it this way as personally I think if I were to find one & it were hand written rather than just a message stuck on it I would be more inclined to respond. What do you think? Any suggestions or comments welcomed.   

So I busily tried to keep up with the requests from people for postcards, by writing them out on train journeys, in my lunch hour, of a weekend or evening wherever I could find a few moments. A couple of friends offered to write some for me too, which they then hid away for me in various locations both here in the UK & overseas.   When I say to hid them, it can be anywhere from your local shopping centre (I’ve hidden one in Bluewater), a day out here in the UK somewhere (Dungeness, Windsor Castle, Bath, Stone Henge & at the theatre in Dartford & London) are a few examples of day trip hides, a restaurant you eat in or if you are going overseas there too. Don’t think that just because you don’t have a big overseas holiday booked you can’t get involved & join in the fun, because you can. They can be hidden absolutely anywhere near or far, the more places the merrier.   I went on my holidays too, it was nice to be able to hide some cards myself, as well as hearing about the innovative places others had come up with hiding them.  During this holiday it was my Dad, Malcolm’s (Mum’s full time career) 70th Birthday. It was good to spend special times with them both, they helped me hide a couple of cards too, it’s fantastic that they too want to get involved. It’s also lovely to meet strangers in a café when I’m writing cards out & to fill them in with details of the project & watch their reaction to it. This helps motivate me to keep putting in the hard work after a full day at work.   

The 21st October 2015 was the 9th anniversary of my Mum surviving her stroke. It’s a time of mixed emotions for her & the family. Devastation at remembering events of the day & recognising the enormity of how not just her but all of our lives have changed but also a time to celebrate that she continues to fight on & still be here with us.  I’ve just received a request for 30 postcards from a friend of a friend who is going travelling & going to leave a trail on his route. Yes, I do have writer’s cramp but thankfully my friend Liz has volunteered to write some of the cards too. Phew, thanks Liz! 

So the project continues. Still no finders to report to date, but I continue to live in hope, just, I’ll admit I am getting a little impatient …  To any friends out there reading this who usually send me a Christmas card (which I do love to receive), if not too much trouble, would you mind sending me a blank picture postcard this year (i.e write on a post it note, not the card) so that I can use it for the project? 

 Thank you Sx 

Getting brave and going public…

When I first came up with the idea for my Inspiredtravels71 project in March 2015 I was on a touring holiday around the Province of Barcelona in Spain. I was so moved by the book I’d just read 60 Postcards, that I kept talking to the tour rep Maureen & several other travellers about the book and my idea for a project. They probably thought I was a bit crackers, but listened intently to my ramblings and made encouraging comments & suggestions.

On returning from that trip I continued my mission solo. Until June this year, that is, when I was on a trip in Norwich. I’d decided that on my last day there I would hide a card somewhere in their famous store Jarrolds.

Jarrolds in Norwich,
Photo credit: pbase.com

When it came to lunchtime a friend, Anna asked to come for a walk with me, so off we set. I thought I’d better warn her what I was going to do in case she thought I was acting strangely and misbehaving.

I explained the project & why I was doing it and she was excited by the idea. We lost each other in the store so when we caught up later that day, I filled Anna in on where I’d hidden the card and more about how I saw the project work. She loved the idea and said if I wanted to she could take a card back to Poland for me and hide it somewhere there. I was thrilled at her offer of help and prepared a card for her to take that evening.

A month or so later we caught up by email and Anna filled me in on the location of the card  she’d hidden (somewhere in the shopping mall pictured below. I’ll say no more!) and told me that she’d been back to see if the card was still there. She’d got the bug too!

The shopping mall in Poland where a card is hidden…somewhere!
Photo credit: Malls.com

Anna’s reaction to my project gave me the courage to speak to others about what I was doing. The responses I’ve had have all been extremely positive, with offers of help from friends and even people I don’t know.  If you’re interested in hearing more or want to know how you too can get involved please contact me.

Still no finders yet, but I continue to wait patiently.the adventure continues.

 

How it all began…

In April 2015 whilst on Holiday in Santa Susanna, Spain I finished reading the book ‘60 Postcards‘. If you’ve not read it do, but be warned you will need a tissue in parts as it is a tearjerker but inspirational at the same time. Before reading the book you are told to buy a blank postcard and you’ll find out why later in the book.

My mum had a major stroke in October 2007 just a week after the family all returned from a holiday of a life time in Orlando, Florida. The stroke left Mum partially sighted and unable to use the left side of her body. We are extremely grateful that she survived it, but both her and the families lives changed in unimaginable ways that day.

Mum often says that she would like to get on a plane and visit places where favourite memories were made. Unfortunately that is impossible due to the severity of her disability.

So with my postcard I decided to start this project inspiredtravels71.

My first postcard was purchased in Barcelona my favourite city. I wrote a message explaining Mum’s situation and asking the finder to e mail me with details of their favourite place to visit so I could use this as inspiration for future trips to take and then tell Mum about. I decided if she couldn’t travel herself, I was going to help her to in her mind by sharing stories of my trips with her. So inspiredtravels71 was born.

 To date I’ve hidden 11 postcards in various countries & locations. As the project progresses I’m getting braver and starting to talk to people about it.

Responses have been great from offers of hiding a card for me, to collecting cards on their travels, for me to then hide too. The encouragement and reception I’ve had to the project so far is overwhelming.

Although I’ve not had a response from a finder yet, I’m sure it’s just a matter of time. It’s exciting to see where the adventure will lead me.