Last Spring, Wanderlust Journal posted a submission call for postcards, fifty-word micro-essays about travel with an accompanying image. Easy enough, I thought. In addition to thousands of digital files on my computer, the closet in my home office is stacked with boxes of photos, scrapbooks, and envelopes filled with ticket stubs and brochures from tours, museums and other attractions. Surely, among all that travel memorabilia, I could find something that would inspire fifty words.
As I began sifting through papers to determine what story to tell, the existential questions which seem too plentiful at mid-life began to flood my mind. What had I learned by living in or visiting other cities, states, and countries? Was I seeking escape or in search of new spectacles? Or was there something more to be gained through journey? What was the point of all those voyages?
In “Postcards from My Future Self: Spain,” I share one of my lessons. I love flamenco. I love the athleticism of the dancers, the Spanish guitar, and the singing that often sounds like crying. I have loved it enough to see Ballet Folklorico at Lincoln Center in New York City but when I was in Seville, I traded the opportunity to see a traditional show for the chance to feel desirable. From my vantage point today, I’d make a different choice. Since I can’t change the past, I’ll put that knowledge in my suitcase for the next trip or, better yet, use that information to guide me anytime.
Writing a fifty-word story proved difficult, not easy. However, brevity yielded enormous inspiration. Thank you to Sarah Leamy at Wanderlust Journal not only for publishing my work but also for providing a challenge that turned into a series. In each of the Postcards from My Future Self, I write about travel through the lens of time and experience, connecting to broader cultural themes. Over the next few months, I’ll have many more to share. Meanwhile, Bon Voyage.