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

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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

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)

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  

A helping hand from a family favourite!

When I read on her Twitter feed that the lovely Fern Britton, Sunday Times Bestselling Author, was getting ready to publish her new novel ‘The Postcard‘, I decided to send her a tweet telling her about my Inspiredtravels71 postcard project.   Fern retweeted my message telling her 600+ followers that my project sounded ‘wonderful & rather magical! And to please check it out!’

As my project seemed to have grabbed Fern’s attention, I sent a cheeky message asking if she’d agree to hide a few cards for me. To my delight she said yes!

I hastily wrote some cards out and sent them onto Fern.  It’ll be exciting waiting to see if we get another finder from these! I’m overwhelmed by Fern’s generosity to hide the cards for me at what must be an extremely busy time in her publishing schedule.

When I told Mum the good news, she was delighted. She’s always enjoyed watching Fern on the tv at every opportunity & now enjoys listening to her novels via Audible. Mum’s looking forward to listening to ‘The Postcard’ when it’s released and watching how our story of these hides unfolds!

If you’re reading Fern, thank you again. Sx