Sunday, March 21, 2010

Travel Journal for Ireland Contest

Last week I found out about a contest that was offering a free trip for two to Ireland. It was through the travel company that I used back in September when my mom and I went to Ireland. The rules for the contest were to tell, in a creative way, what package you would choose from their website, why, and who you would bring.

Well, I've so much wanted my husband to go back there with me, because everywhere I went last year, I thought of him and how we would enjoy the same places. So, I came up with the following little "Travel Journal" idea.

FYI: I didn't win the contest and was VERY disappointed! But I did have fun putting this together and thought I'd share it with all of you. It is not a calligraphy project, but more of a graphic design piece.


The Story Behind the Story

My mother retired from her job in July, 2009. One afternoon, while at my house for tea, she wistfully recalled a conversation she’d had with my father when they were young. In it, they talked about traveling to Ireland after dad retired because he was Irish and had always wanted to see the country from where his father’s family had come. Sadly, they never had that chance, as Dad passed away at the age of 52.

Suddenly, I had the idea that perhaps I could take mom to Ireland in celebration of her retirement, and to fulfill my parents’ dream.

Later, when my husband Brad came home from work, I asked him what he thought about the idea. Brad is a very hard-working, Chicago-tradesman. He makes a decent wage, but because of the way their union contract is set up, he doesn’t get paid vacations. When he does take time off, we save enough money both for vacation and to pay ourselves for his time off.

This wasn’t a huge problem when I worked full-time. But, since unexpectedly becoming parents late in life (after 15 years of marriage), we made the decision that I would stay at home with our child. Now, vacations are a bit of a stretch. Rarely does my husband take off a full week. Consequently, going to Ireland with mom would take a huge chunk out of our vacation budget.

So, I was pleasantly surprised when Brad looked at me and said, “Yes. You need to do this, and do it nicely.” I immediately went online and planned a tour that would give my mom and I a nice “glimpse” of Ireland. The trip was simply breathtaking and mom was in heaven!

While I was in Ireland, though, I kept thinking about my favorite travel partner back home and how he graciously gave up a lot for me to be there. Before our son was born, Brad and I would travel all over the U.S. We mostly camped and stayed in modest B and Bs, but it didn’t matter because we were having adventures together. Now, having this great adventure without him just didn’t seem right.

Everywhere I went, I thought of how Brad and I would embrace these experiences if we were together...

You probably can't read the plaque in the bottom photo on the left page. It says "On this site in 1897, nothing happened." 


kathy McCreedy said...

This is SO lovely... and I think your husband is a gem... what a generous, loving gesture for the two of you to do for your mom. And while I totally understand how you felt about being in Ireland w/o your hubby, you will treasure the memories you made w/your mom for the rest of your life. God willing, you and your husband will get there together, but in the mean time you guys did something SO thoughtful for your mom. You have SUCH a big heart! xoxo

Anonymous said...

Hi, Julie,
Your story and the scrapbook of photos is priceless!

Kate said...

I wish you would have won. Your journal is a treasure -- hopefully you and your husband will get another chance to go sometime!

Rita said...

This is just so beautiful. Thank you for sharing it with us.


WildmanDesigns said...

Thank you, everyone, for your kind comments.

Luce H. Zolna said...

It is beautiful. And I bet it brings back all the memories.


Lisa Holtzman said...

What a sweet story. You and your husband are both so kind and thoughtful. And the journal looks great! You should've won the contest!!

Lisa Holtzman said...

This story is so sweet. You and your husband are both so thoughtful and kind! It's sad that your father died SO young...I thought mine was young at 63, but 52...How wonderful that you could take your mom. You and Brad will find a way. I can't believe you didn't win the contest, the journal looks great!

zquilts said...

You've managed to give me shivers! This is a gorgeous post and a glorious book! I want - so much - to be able to return to Ireland before my time here is up - we still have relatives there I think .. it's a beautiful country ! Thanks for taking us all along on this trip!