Today I’m really excited to share a guest post from Sarah, a good friend of mine. Sarah’s recently launched a fantastic project called Inspiredtravels71. It’s an idea I’m proud to support and it would be great to get more people involved 🙂
Hi, I’m Sarah, a 40 something from Kent, England.
Back in March this year I finished reading Rachael Chadwick’s book 60 Postcards whilst on a touring holiday in Spain. I could really relate to her grief, it’s one of the only books I’ve read which had me shed a tear.
Although my situation is very different, I could relate to it as my Mum, Anne, had a major stroke 9 years ago. Although we are lucky enough to still have her with us, she is severely disabled, needs everything to be done for her, and has completely lost her independence. That is just not my Mum!
Prior to her illness she was extremely active, always out and about and the life and soul of any party. That few seconds back in October 2007 cruelly swiped the ability for that life away and left her with a body unable to function in most normal ways, exhausted with fatigue and at times unable to clearly remember or register what’s going on around her. So although I am lucky that she is still here, I grieve for my mum the way she was.
As requested when starting the book I purchased a postcard, this was done in Barcelona, my favorite European city. Once I’d finished the book, I had a burning desire to use it to do something to help improve things for my Mum. To help to fulfill her want to travel, which post stroke is very difficult, and to brighten the routine in her day. So the planning started…
I decided that it would be fun to start a similar project to Rachael’s by hiding postcards for people to find. I scribbled out a brief message which changed several times and then set up an email address dedicated to this project (firstname.lastname@example.org). In the message I asked the ‘finder’ to give their recommendations of places I could visit and talk to my Mum about. Once I had refined the message, I wrote out my first postcard.
When we headed out on the next day of our tour, I took my postcard with me, and decided to hide it when we stopped for lunch. We were on a day trip in the Pyrenees and stopped at a cafe bar in Font Romeu for lunch. I decided on my hiding place and carefully left the postcard, feeling like a criminal. I’m not sure that you can be arrested for hiding a postcard but I felt like I would be. Shortly afterwards I left the cafe feeling very pleased with myself and bought another postcard in preparation of my next hide.
In June this year I started to feel brave enough to talk to people about my project. I have been overwhelmed by the response I have received. Everyone is extremely enthusiastic about the idea, and I’ve had offers of help from donations of postcards for me to use, to people wanting to write and hide cards for me. I’ve currently got friends travelling around Europe buying and hiding cards for me, as well as taking cards back to Australia to hide there for me too. Since going public around 90 postcards have been hidden at various locations around the world.
When I say hidden, it can be anywhere from your local shopping centre, a day out here in the UK somewhere local to you – Dungeness, Windsor Castle, Bath, Stone Henge and at the theatre in Dartford and 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 and join in the fun, because you can, I’m waiting to hear from you…
Each week is bringing new discussions and the opportunity to interact with new people. I’m having fun, enjoying sharing tales of how the project is evolving with both my parents and enthused by the offers of help I am getting.
Just last week I heard from my first finder, I can’t explain how exciting that was. All I know at this stage is his first name and where he found the card. I was elated to hear from him and have emailed back for more information. Although it felt like an eternity, it was less than 6 months between going public and hearing from my first finder. Considering that the cards are being hidden far and wide, I think that’s really quick! I’m having great fun and have got interesting conversations to have with my beloved Mum each week.
If you want to hear more or join in the fun, please contact me on Twitter (@travelinsp) or via my email address above to find out more.
You can also follow my blog at inspiredtravels71.wordpress.com.
Come and join in the fun, you know you want to…😉