Why I Travel (Part 1): Postcards from Grandma-MA

“Dear Jamie, Think you could eat all of these bananas and pineapple? Are you looking forward to Easter? We will be home by then. Love Grandma. April 1, 1993.” “Dear Jamie, Think you could eat all of these bananas and pineapple? Are you looking forward to Easter? We will be home by then. Love Grandma. April 1, 1993.”
“Dear Jamie, Think you could eat all of these bananas and pineapple? Are you looking forward to Easter? We will be home by then. Love Grandma. April 1, 1993.” “Dear Jamie, Think you could eat all of these bananas and pineapple? Are you looking forward to Easter? We will be home by then. Love Grandma. April 1, 1993.”
Front postcard Image of docking ships during a golden sunset sent to me by my grandma in 1988 Front postcard Image of docking ships during a golden sunset sent to me by my grandma in 1988
“Dear Jamie,
Was good to hear your voice on the telephone the other day – you sounded really grown up! Have fun at school and take good care of Miss Caitlin – we wish we could see all of you so much. Love, Grandma. June 1988.” “Dear Jamie, Was good to hear your voice on the telephone the other day – you sounded really grown up! Have fun at school and take good care of Miss Caitlin – we wish we could see all of you so much. Love, Grandma. June 1988.”
inspiration for why I travel, why we travel, why I started tellittomewalking.com and the dímelocaminando spanish audio language learning podcast

Front postcard Image of docking ships during a golden sunset sent to me by my grandma in 1988

Blizzard in the suburbs 

The mailman

And the poet walking.

-Jack Kerouac, Book of Haikus

I never really knew my grandmother.

I mean, I know of her, what my mama tells me of her, but to tell you the truth, I can count on one hand how many times we ever spent time together.

And those memories are fuzzy, as I was young, distracted, occupied with Ninja Turtles, Bart Simpson, and terrorizing my little sister. Not to mention, my grandma-ma lived on the other side of the country, over 3,000 miles away.

What was a kid to do?

I do have other memories of her, though — hundreds of them — post-marked memories that sit in my mama’s closet, collecting dust in a pink box and day-by-day yellow with age.

I really know my grandmother through postcards, 5 X 7 photos with short handwritten notes from far off lands that she would send to me even before I was ever able to read.

“Dear Jamie, Think you could eat all of these bananas and pineapple? Are you looking forward to Easter? We will be home by then. Love Grandma. April 1, 1993.”

inspiration for why I travel, why we travel, why I started tellittomewalking.com and the dímelocaminando spanish audio language learning podcast

“Dear Jamie,
Think you could eat all of these bananas and pineapple? Are you looking forward to Easter? We will be home by then. Love Grandma. April 1, 1993.”

You see, the woman who gave life to the woman who gave me life — my grand-ma-ma — was a traveler.

She and her husband, my Gran-pa-PA, were both travelers.

And even in their old age, they still somehow managed to get up and go – all over the world — and my brother, sisters and I followed them (twitter before twitter was twitter, ya dig), tracing their path, one postcard at a time.

They send us postcards of the great white marble mausoleum of Taj Majal in India.

nspiration for why I travel, why we travel, why I started tellittomewalking.com and the dímelocaminando spanish audio language learning podcastFrom the Kingdom of France, Paris, the “city of lights” and it’s world-renowned landmarks.

And from the Big Island of Hawaii where hot spot volcanic lava reaches temperatures of almost 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit, and the lush tropical rain forests of the Waluia River Valley in Kauii, the Fern Grotto where mother nature reigns supreme green.

inspiration for why I travel, why we travel, why I started tellittomewalking.com and the dímelocaminando spanish audio language learning podcast

I received postcards of orange orangutans chomping on leaves in Malaysia and snap shot sightings of black bears in Yellowstone National Park.

She sent postcards of antique cricket cages from China, images of the Great Forbidden City Imperial Palace, and humbling views from the snow-capped peaks of Mount Reineer in Washington State.

I loved these postcards.

I was always drawn to the colors, the mosaic of imagery they depicted, especially when all laid out next to each other.

I loved running my fingers along the edges, feeling the wear and tear, the frayed corners, imagining just how many miles, how far each one had traveled.

But what I loved most about them were the exotic notions of place they provoked in my mind as a young one — the idea of a world out there that stretches far, far beyond the tree lined streets of Ann Arbor, Michigan.

It was these postcards, in all their simplicity, the pictures and my grandmothers words that somehow gave me an inarticulate lust to just…

go.

And from there my world-view begins to expand…

What inspires you to travel? Can you trace a line to where your wanderlust originated? Why do you travel?

 

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