Postcard MomentsPosted by in Travel
As I look back on our travels, there are moments that stand out to me in my mind like postcards. Beautiful places, important moments, and stand out experiences that are head and shoulders above the rest. They’ve created a kind of gallery of snapshots in mind, which I mentally thumb through at times, to relive them.
– Crossing the border from England to Scotland and driving up through the sheep-dotted hills of the Borderlands. I waited my entire life to go to Scotland, land of my ancestors, and when it actually happened, I cried with an overwhelming sense of homecoming.
– Gondola ride in Venice. This was one of those surreal moments when you’re doing something that is a bucket list item and is something so idealized that it doesn’t even seem real when you do it. I felt as if I was holding my breath the whole time, willing myself to remember every single second.
– Waikoloa Beach, Big Island of Hawaii. This was the beach of my dreams. Smooth, placid
blue-green water, flat sandy beach and shade from palm trees. I remember thinking, am I really here in this paradise?
– The bridge from the mainland to Hilton Head Island. The bridge gently spans over a Low Country tidal creek, which meanders among the weeds with pluff mud visible. I’ve had a thing for tidal creeks ever since.
– The waves crashing on the rocks outside a cottage in York Harbor, Maine. It sounded,
smelled, and looked divine, but it also brought back my childhood, when I spent two weeks each summer on the Penobscot Bay. It was like being reunited with an old friend. The ocean was still there, waiting for me.
– Ellis Island. Most people have their big travel moment at the Statue of Liberty, but for me it happened at Ellis Island. I could almost see, hear, and feel the immigrants walking from the docks and through the doors. They were still there in that big echoey building and I felt my connection to my ancestors deeply at that place. My skin prickled with their nearness.
– The library at Monticello, Virginia. Thomas Jefferson’s library room absolutely
overwhelmed me with emotions and strange connections. All of his belongings and furniture are there and the bed he died in is in the room, next to his desk. Another place that moved me to tears.
– The Blue Grotto, Capri, Italy. This moment felt surreal, as if I were watching it on TV. I will never forget the soul-wrenching blue of the water, as we rowed twice around the grotto, chills running down my back.
– The sky of New Mexico. People talk about Montana being the land of the Big Sky (I haven’t been there yet and I’ll let you know if I agree once I get there!), but New Mexico to me was about the wide open sky, which reached down to hold up the land.
– The view from Pike’s Peak. It was if we were on top of a tiny, pointy skyscraper, and all
the world was laid out beneath us to see.
– Touring the White House. Sometimes I think, was I really there? It seems amazing that we walked in the steps of the presidents and world leaders when we went through this iconic building.
– Glastonbury Abbey, England. The mythical burial place of King Arthur and Guenevere. The town is one nutty hippie hang out, but the quiet beauty of the ruins here spoke to me deeply, whether or not the leader of Camelot really did rest here. It was a place that felt sacred and spiritual to me, when very few places ever do. It was a moment of connection, seeing this place from the legend, when our children’s middle names and our dogs’ first names all come from Arthurian literature.
– Hell’s Gate, Kawartha Lakes, Ontario Canada. We rented a houseboat and explored this lovely area of lakes connected with many locks. The most memorable part of the trip was navigating Hell’s Gate, a very dangerous, narrow passage filled with rocky outcroppings. I don’t even think we have a photo of it since we were so busy trying not to wreck our boat! It was spectacular in the combination of water and sharp, pointy rocks.
– Wild horses crossing the road. We’ve encountered these twice – once on the highway in
New Mexico and once at the Assateague National Seashore in Maryland. Both times they were beautiful, free, and full of spirit.
– Lobster in the rough, Boothbay Harbor, Maine. Before we took the kids to meet my Maine, my husband and I went there on our honeymoon. We still believe that the only way to eat lobster is at a picnic table, with an ear of corn cooked in the lobster water, and a bag of potato chips, with the ocean over your shoulder.
– Swimming with the dolphins, Key Largo, Florida. I just remember laughing and laughing with pure joy as we swam with the dolphins and they pushed us through the water.
– Glacier Bay, Alaska. The utter stillness that surrounded our ship in the bay is something I won’t ever forget, then the quiet being broken when the glacier calved, making a big splash. It was dramatic and it was also terrifying. The glacier was light blue and the water was deep dark blue. The air was clear and biting, and it seemed we were alone in the wilderness.
– The Milky Way, Finger Lakes, New York. Although my family now owns a cottage in the Finger Lakes, for several years, we rented one on Cayuga Lake for a week each summer. One night, after we had put our preschool daughter to bed, we were sitting by the fire, stargazing. It was a remarkably clear night and the absence of ambient lighting made it possible to see what felt like the entire galaxy. We could clearly see the cloudy clusters of stars making up the Milky Way. My husband went inside and woke our daughter, bringing her outside, to stand at the end of the dock, so she could look up and see this beautiful universe she was our center of. She doesn’t remember it, but we do.
What are your postcard travel moments?
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I’ve never thought of them as postcard moments. You’ve sure had a lot of them! Some of mine go back all the way to my childhood. Walking along the strip at Bagnell Dam at Lake of the Ozarks with my parents when I was a teen, playing skeeball with them. Lying on innertubes in the lake on another trip, looking up at the stars and talking about our future with my best friend who came with us. Seeing the amazement in my husband’s eyes the first time he flew at night and saw the lights of Las Vegas far below in the dark desert. Thanks for helping spark some of these memories!
Those are great!
So many postcard moments! You’ve been to so many interesting places!! We just returned from a short trip to southern California. Looking out onto the ocean at Seal Beach was definitely a postcard moment for me. Here’s the post I wrote about it (the photo is actually from Hawaii…): http://jennifermargulis.net/blog/2012/10/project-discover-ashland-place-2-seal-beach-california/
What a lot of great memories. And it is SO important to relive those moments in your mind–over and over. It implants them so your memories will last longer. I do that, but my husband doesn’t, and he can’t remember nearly as many travel experiences as I can.
Good point. I don’t want to ever forget them!
I made a slideshow of many of my postcard moments here in NZ for the 7th anniversary of my immigration. http://frugalkiwi.co.nz/2010/11/7-years-no-itch/
Standing atop the pyramids just outside Mexico City. It’s so amazing to travel with your kids–you see the world in a whole different way.
Not travel per se, but I have daily postcard moments just driving around Traverse City/Old Mission. My amateur photography skills have improved with the advent of the iPhone camera. I’m sure people are probably blocking me on Facebook by now.
I loved this post. My favorite was the rediscovery of your childhood holidays on the Maine seacoast: “It was like being reunited with an old friend.”
That is how I feel about Maine! It is a magical place for me.
I had so many postcard moments in Montana that I moved there. And, yes, the sky is even bigger than New Mexico (I have been to both).
Montana is high on my list of places to go next!