For many people, traveling is a dream waiting for fruition.
When the children grow up… when we retire… when we win the lottery...
One of the most shocking travel sentiments I’ve ever heard was:
“If I can’t see it all, I won’t bother going.”
Obviously we realize that two or three weeks’ holiday only allows us to see and experience the tip of the iceberg when it comes to visiting foreign communities.
Although I’ve only seen pictures of icebergs, the “tips” of those icebergs are breathtaking. Would I never want to take an Alaskan Cruise simply because I cannot experience what is below water level? Although I’ve heard what lies beneath is grander by far, than what is visible, I would miss what is accessible, because of an impossible expectation.
“The sun rises and the sun sets; and hastening to its place, it rises there again.”
That’s the good news! The world will probably still be there when you finally have the time or the finances or the courage to travel! Granted, things may have changed during the relentless march of time, but once you are on your expedition it would be expedient to relish the innovations, the transformations, and the contrasts. Lamenting lost opportunities will only tarnish what joy can be experienced when you finally rendezvous with your indissoluble globe-trotting dream.
There is something magical about breezing into new environs, taking what you see at face value and enjoying the cultural diversity of wherever you find yourself. Personally I’ve found that stopping and talking to local people gives a refreshing perspective to the holiday destination. It connects you to a place more intimately than merely visiting the local attractions, as intriguing or captivating as they may be.
It’s long been advised one should review the integrated elements of vacation; the planning, preparation, and anticipation; and consider these as part of the “ mental break” a holiday provides. Proffered as being the secret of true relaxation and allowing you to enjoy any travel to it’s fullest, it would seem undeniable that a large percentage of stress release comes from the anticipation of the vacation, rather than the trip itself. How do we know this? Consider the phrase “I need a vacation after my holiday” which rings out with regularity among enthusiastic, exhausted travelers.
What if going on a journey could be as easy as being slipped into an envelope and posted to the holiday destination of your dreams? That could definitely relieve some of the travel tension.
In elementary schools across North America, there is a story about a little boy who could do this very thing. He was small and thin enough to fit into an envelope and off he would go to adventures around the country and even off to foreign lands.
I’m sure this book was written a few years back when email wasn’t so common and the local post office was a place where postal workers whistled while they worked, sending and receiving mail with clockwork regularity! We are assured this story is indeed a child’s fairy tale, because in the real world the post office has issues beyond being incredibly slow, and unfortunately these days “going postal” doesn’t mean traveling by post.
Even if it did, in that envelope, you could end up taking six weeks to get to your destination… not to mention the cramped quarters and lack of amenities in the mail bag! But, if you were looking to go economy, this would definitely be the ticket! Best case scenario, you arrive at your destination in ten days and the envelope isn’t swiped out of the mailbox!
The adaptable little wayfarer, aptly named, “Flat Stanley”, has achieved such educational acclaim that teachers plan whole “units” around his exploits with the intention of demonstrating to students the diversity of their own country and enabling them to experience a world beyond their borders.
Flat Stanley stands in front of the Danube River with the Freedom or Szabadság Bridge in the distance
I answered the call to be a “host” when a former student asked her Facebook friends if anyone was willing to have her daughter’s Flat Stanley to come for a visit.
She ended up with several enthusiastic responses, and asked the volunteer auxiliary if we would host some of the other 2nd grader’s Flat Stanleys, since it seemed not all the students had someone with whom to share this project.
My rationale was “ Why not?” Remember how much fun was it to get something in the mail when you were a kid? And what about getting a ‘REAL’ stamp from a foreign country? I’m all for using Facebook in the support of good causes, and building a child’s world view is definitely worthwhile!
The request was twofold: Flat Stanley was to have a picture taken with his host, somewhere indicative of the locale; and could he please have an “outfit or costume” from the area. It would be rather like playing paper dolls again, and waking long-dormant designer skills once reserved for Barbie and the gang!
Flat Stanley as a Hungarian Cowboy or Magyar Csikós
In the end, I felt a single picture could not do Flat Stanley or the children justice, after all, Hungary is a tad more interesting than visiting somewhere like Pittsburg! Putting my creative juices to the test, I made a mini-travel slide show to show similarities and differences of living in Hungary vs. living in America.
I’ll see if I can upload Flat Stanley’s adventure for you too, and maybe the next envelope you slip into will bring you to Budapest! Because of course, you know, what you experience in this blog is only the tip of Hungary’s iceberg!
I did manage to upload the Smilebox for you! You can access it here, by clicking on the PLAY button, or catch it on the “HOME PAGE” as “Going Posta!” Enjoy!
| photo credits: world travellers Idea go iceberg Liz Noffsinger
beach boys Africa Flat Stanley misel