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 BrittonĀ & ‘Cartes Postales from Greece’ by Victoria HislopĀ – 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

Finder number 2!!

Yippee!!  I have myself a second finder!

Following Inspiredtravels71‘s appeal for help at Christmas (more details here), I received lots of generous donations of postcards from friends & family far & wide.

One cold, dark December evening, I returned home from work to find a bulky brown envelope with my name on it laying on the doormat. I eagerly ripped open the envelope & found this …

 A collection of 70+ postcards from Mum & my friend Carole, who we knew through craft classes we all attended some 25+ years ago.  They are pictures taken by Datford Photographic Club & collected from the Ellenor Hospice annual calendars & BBC Homes & Antiques magazines. 

When looking through the collection that Carole had donated, one card jumped out at me & took my attention.  I instantly knew where this card had to be hidden.  It was a picture of a Southeastern train travelling through the pretty Kent countryside & a local viaduct.

 Using their services to commute to & from work each day, I instantly knew that I had to hide that card on one of their trains.  I wrote the card out & carried it in my bag for a few days waiting for a trip where my carriage was quiet enough for me to hide the card.

On Friday 12th Feb 2016 on my train journey from Cannon Street I struck gold.  There were only 2 other commuters in my carriage, both engrossed in their own worlds, so as I stood to get off the train, I hid my card.

    The following morning, there was an email in my inbox entitled travels, asking for more information about the project.  After confirming that the find was genuine I sent more information about Inspiredtravels71 and asked Bob (Finder No.2) for more information.  I’m delighted to have a second Finder but particularly as this card was one of my own hides, & found so quickly. I’m waiting to hear back from Bob, I’ll update this post if & when I do.

So it’s true, you really can hide them snywhere and get results, even in clear view! Any wannabe hiders out there? You know you want to!

Who will be Finder No.3?  Come on ladies it must be your turn next!

A generous response to a Christmas plea for help!

At the beginning of November 2015, I posted a message on my Facebook page asking friends and family if they were able to send me a postcard instead of a Christmas card so that I could then use it for my Inspiredtravels71 project.   My Facebook plea for help. 

I didn’t know what sort of response I’d get really, nor did I mind as I love getting Christmas cards and display them as part of my decorations.   Donated postcards displayed as part of my Christmas decorations. 

I know a few people read about my project as we’ve discussed it, but didn’t know how many people had clicked on my blog post links to read more about the project. It seems more people do than I thought!

I’ve received 150+ postcards as a result of my plea for help.  Wow, thank you all so much to those that helped me. A result way beyond my wildest dreams! I received postcards from friends and family both here in the uk & from all around the world (Canada, Australia, Iceland, Poland, India & Mexico to name a few). Such a wide range of pictures & slogans which make it all the more interesting when I’m writing the cards out. Friends from work traveling home for the holidays took cards to hide & collected cards for me in New York, Kenya, Tokyo, Russia, Budapest & Madagascar. 

What a lucky girl I am to have got all this help from one plea for help. 

Thank you all so much, I truly do appreciate everything that you’re all doing to support my project, Mum does too. She’s loving all the stories I have to tell her about the wonderful things happening. 

I’m looking forward to seeing how the project grows in 2016 & if I get more finders. Here are a few pictures of the donated postcards I’ve received…