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

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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

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.

 

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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)

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

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???

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.