Revisiting Tales of the NYC Postcard Tributes

To find out more about the 60 Postcards journey so far, you can read a summary here.

Within a week, I’ve heard of two people embarking on postcard adventures of their own. It reminded me of the NYC tributes and how many of those stories are yet to be told. With a promised move towards the creation of a tribute collective (in November this year), I wanted to revisit the four postcard messages I have shared before; a taster of things to come…

Grand Central Terminal: A Postcard for John

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Postcard Message:

“Great! You found me!

My name is Jo, I live in Dorset, England. I’ve written this card in memory of my brother John who sadly lost his battle with cancer 7 years ago, age 56. During his life John loved to travel so I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to join the ’60 Postcards’ Project and let his memory do some traveling.

Now you have found this, please do get in touch. I’d love to know about you and were/when you found my card. 

Here’s hoping, Jo xx’

R E A D   M O R E…

*****

Pauline and Jo: A Tribute Filled With Friendship

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Postcard Message:

“We always knew Jo would go before us. She’d been diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at 14 but ‘made it’ to 45 so we sort of thought she was invincible.

Jo had been my best friend since we had a fight over a boy in the playground in the 80’s. That boy (& many others) went by but we remained the best of friends even though I moved 200 miles away. Her legacy lives on through her beautiful daughter who through the grief aced her A Levels & this month starts uni.

Jo would have been so proud and I’m so proud to have had such an amazing best friend,

Pauline.”

R E A D   M O R E…

*****

Lucy & Linda; A Message on The High Line

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Postcard Message:

“To whoever finds this postcard – local or traveller, I send you positive energy from London, UK.

I am writing this to spread the memory of my mother – Linda who passed away in 2003. 3 months before this we took a trip to NYC having the trip of our lives. It remains a very special place to me due to these memories of happy times. My mum wanted to travel and see the world a great deal more than she had the chance to. I’m lucky enough to travel monthly with work and take her memory with me. Most recently to Greece – as on the front of this card. 

Tell your close ones you love them today. Lucy 🙂 x”

R E A D   M O R E…

*****

A Heartfelt Note for Rose on the Brooklyn Bridge

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Postcard Message:

“Hi there,

Please don’t throw me away but take a few minutes to read.  

This card is in memory of my mother, Rose, who loved New York. Sadly I never really knew her. She gave birth to me in Dublin in 1953 when she was just 17. She looked after me for 18 months but in May 1955 gave me up for adoption. I was adopted and went to live in England. She then set off on the boat for New York, where she worked hard and made many friends. It wasn’t until 1987 when I decided to trace her that I found she had been taken ill in 1974, returned to Ireland and died aged only 39. I met her sisters and brother and heard who an amazing, loving and lovely person she was. I don’t know if it’s genetic but my daughter loves New York and would love to live and work there.

Not a day goes by without me thinking of Rose and I’m sure that between 1955 and 1974, while living in New York, not a day would have gone by without her thinking of me and praying that life worked out OK. I can let her know now that it did. 

Thanks for taking the time to read this. Tony.”

R E A D   M O R E…

*****

Thank you again to Jo, Pauline, Lucy and Tony for sharing your words and memories.

I look forward to posting more of the NYC postcards in the coming weeks along with other articles from readers. If you have created a tribute in memory of someone or would like a platform to share your story, then please email me on 60postcards@gmail.com. Come join the collective.

Speak soon,

Rachael x

A Heartfelt Note for Rose on the Brooklyn Bridge

This blog began as a way to document my personal tribute to my mum. To celebrate what would have been her 60th birthday, I scattered 60 handwritten postcards around Paris in her memory and I wrote my email address on them in case anyone was to find one. (You can read more in my Glamour article here.)

Since then, the project has now moved forwards with the overwhelming amount of messages received from people who are sharing their own stories. I invited readers to become a part of the magic via 60 Postcards Stateside and I set off to New York City to scatter the individual notes.

Today’s post is for Tony, who wrote a heartfelt note to his mother, Rose.

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“Hi there, 

Please don’t throw me away but take a few minutes to read.  

This card is in memory of my mother, Rose, who loved New York. Sadly I never really knew her. She gave birth to me in Dublin in 1953 when she was just 17. She looked after me for 18 months but in May 1955 gave me up for adoption. I was adopted and went to live in England. She then set off on the boat for New York, where she worked hard and made many friends. It wasn’t until 1987 when I decided to trace her that I found she had been taken ill in 1974, returned to Ireland and died aged only 39. I met her sisters and brother and heard who an amazing, loving and lovely person she was. I don’t know if it’s genetic but my daughter loves New York and would love to live and work there. Not a day goes by without me thinking of Rose and I’m sure that between 1955 and 1974, while living in New York, not a day would have gone by without her thinking of me and praying that life worked out OK. I can let her know now that it did. 

Thanks for taking the time to read this. Tony.”

I know Tony, as the daughter he refers to in his message is one of my closest friends, Beccy. Yet, this postcard came as a complete surprise and I felt so moved when I read about his search for Rose.

Beccy was with me for that very first trip to Paris and I lived with her for 4 years – she was there through it all. She flew off to Canada last year but we were able to meet in New York on her way home and so, naturally, we wanted to do this one together.

I hadn’t ridden a bike since I was about 12 so why not give it a whirl for the first time in years on the TERRIFYING roads of New York? Sure. We went to the bike hire shop in Brooklyn, signed a disclaimer saying that we would be responsible for our own deaths (great) and set off for the Brooklyn Bridge via Prospect Park and many a gorgeous NY street. I was wobbling about like crazy but we ignored the beeping cars, embraced the downhill straights and enjoyed a pit stop for an ice cream en route.

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Our plan was to leave Tony’s postcard for Rose on the Brooklyn Bridge – a structure full of history, brimming with tourists and a gorgeous spot connecting Brooklyn with Manhattan. Beccy tied it to the railings with ribbon, we hopped on our bikes and rode away – hoping that it would be read.

The beautiful, Rose

The beautiful, Rose

In Tony’s letter (to accompany his postcard) he describes how, despite the fact that he was unable to meet his mother in person, he has now connected with new family members and they continue to tell him all about Rose and her warm and wonderful nature. I had the pleasure of meeting one of his cousins in NYC , too.

I’ve sobbed all over again writing this one up. It is an incredible story. There may be heartbreak in the separation of Tony from his mum, but there is so much beauty in the fact that he is still able to get to know her through others. And now, she lives on through him and his children too.

Tony, Rose – I will be raising a glass to you this evening.

With love,

Rachael x

Every single one of these postcards has a different story, a unique message and an overwhelming amount of warmth and love embedded in the words. If you would like to do a postcard tribute of your own, please do get in touch – I would love to help.

Email: 60postcards@gmail.com

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Lucy & Linda; A Message on the High Line

Bringing you news once a week about the ongoing 60 Postcards project (you can read a summary of the story in Glamour Magazine, here).

Earlier today I was in the creative cafe, Drink Shop Do, having a coffee and a chat with Lucy. I didn’t know Lucy before our meet but I did know a little about her already, as she heard about 60 Postcards Stateside in Emerald Street a few days ahead of my journey to NYC. Her postcard arrived just in time. Phew.

There is nothing like sitting down and chatting away with a total stranger who just ‘gets it’. Although the experience of losing our mum’s fell at different stages of our lives, the conversation flowed with openness and ease. We could share, rant, laugh, reflect and feel completely comfortable talking about the taboo topic of loss in a, ‘This is how it is’ way. Completely refreshing.

Today’s post is about Lucy’s note for her mum……

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“To whoever finds this postcard – local or traveller, I send you positive energy from London, UK. 

I am writing this to spread the memory of my mother – Linda who passed away in 2003. 3 months before this we took a trip to NYC having the trip of our lives. It remains a very special place to me due to these memories of happy times. My mum wanted to travel and see the world a great deal more than she had the chance to. I’m lucky enough to travel monthly with work and take her memory with me. Most recently to Greece – as on the front of this card. 

Tell your close ones you love them today. Lucy 🙂 x

The High Line in the Meatpacking district was high (ahem) on my list of things to do during my trip. Somehow I had managed to miss it on my first NYC visit. It is a walkway of greenery set above the streets, running over Chelsea up to the Lower West Side. It sounds pretty self-explanatory but I still wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I hopped up the stairs and realised how much of a hot spot it really was. I held Lucy’s postcard tightly in my hand and could only hope that I would find a quiet moment to leave it.

10830466_10152822099985873_6320938512997195063_oI walked along the urban park, taking it all in. I went through a group of stalls – one of which was selling old postcards. I was tempted to buy some but I have more postcards than I have ever owned in my life right now, and I certainly didn’t want to get any mixed up with the heartfelt messages I was carrying with me. I got about half way along the High Line when I took a stop break on a bench. Behind me was the buzz of the city and in front of me was the beautiful view of the Hudson River. This was it. This was the place. I didn’t want an audience for what I was about to do so I waited for a flurry of tourists to pass by and as the path became free of wanderers, I tied the postcard to the side of the bench, took a few snaps and flurried down the nearby stairs back down to street level.

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The scattering moment has been made even more special after meeting Lucy in person. We talked about how difficult grief can be, as sometimes you want to talk and other times you don’t. That fact reminds me of why I believe using creativity can be so beneficial when dealing with the loss of a loved one. You don’t need to talk at all. You can remain completely anonymous or you can choose to share to the world. Even just reading other people’s stories can help ease the pain.

I adore the closing line of Lucy’s postcard, ‘Tell your close ones you love them today’. It is such a lovely call to action for whoever may find the postcard and to anyone reading this blog post now.

Linda and Lucy – this one’s for you. Thank you for being part of it.

Rachael xx

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Pauline & Jo; A Tribute Filled with Friendship

Bringing you news once a week on the ongoing 60 Postcards journey (you can read a summary of the story in Glamour Magazine, here).

It continues to be a very busy time at the moment – rushing around for meetings, doing research, filling the diary with events around Christmas (which I still can’t believe is almost here). I have also been enjoying my notifications from the Timehop app, which reminds me that at exactly this time last year, I was finishing the first draft of the book (and having several panic attacks in the process!).

So, today’s post is about another wonderful NYC postcard from my stateside mission (you can catch up on the plan here).

Over to Pauline…..

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“We always knew Jo would go before us. She’d been diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at 14 but ‘made it’ to 45 so we sort of thought she was invincible.

Jo had been my best friend since we had a fight over a boy in the playground in the 80’s. That boy (& many others) went by but we remained the best of friends even though I moved 200 miles away. Her legacy lives on through her beautiful daughter who through the grief aced her A Levels & this month starts uni.

Jo would have been so proud and I’m so proud to have had such an amazing best friend,

Pauline.”

The friendship between these two ladies shines through in both the postcard and letter. As I have said to Pauline, I have no doubt that the fantastic support of her friends and family were the reason that Jo beat the odds and kept fighting. I know that this is very raw for Jo’s loved ones, as it was only last February that she passed – I am just so pleased that this note was packed safely into my bag for the journey to New York City.

The scattering….

It felt like I had walked to every corner of Manhattan and back on the day I left this message. I had worked up quite the appetite and as the Lincoln Centre for Performing Arts was on my way back to the Upper West Side where I was staying, I decided to find somewhere to grab a bite. The Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Centre was the chosen location – a perfect people watching spot in the window of the Indie Food and Wine restaurant.

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The NY Film Festival was on while I was visiting, so there were lots of industry folk and film lovers floating about. I ate my food very slowly as I watched the passers-by and I was beginning to daydream (as I do so well) when I felt a tap on my shoulder. A lady smiled at me warmly and asked if she could put her coat with mine on the seat in between us. ‘Of course!’

I slipped back into my daydream but couldn’t help but notice that the lady and her friend next to me were totally engrossed in a wonderful interaction. Chatting and laughing – as if they were the only people in the room – it made me smile. I was thinking about friendship and suddenly realised that this would be the perfect place to leave Pauline’s postcard. I psyched myself up, got into ninja mode, grabbed my coat (being as quiet as possible) and snuck the postcard onto the seat. I walked out quickly and calmly (and with a grin from ear to ear). I had to take a diversion so that I didn’t walk past the window in full view of the ladies, who may or may not have noticed the handwritten note that was hiding right next to them.

When I sent Pauline an email with info and photos showing where her words had been scattered, the last thing she wrote in her reply was, ‘Nice touch with the cinema. So thought through’. This left me a little confuzzled to say the least. The link I had picked up on was one of friendship. It was when I had a look at Pauline’s twitter account that I realised she works for BAFTA. Serendipity has surrounded this project from the very beginning until this very day.

I would like to send my love to Pauline and to Jo’s family. What an incredibly strong woman Jo was, and she now lives on through her daughter and all of the people she touched in her life.

I look forward to sharing more of these notes with you very soon.

Have a lovely week,

Rachael x

60 POSTCARDS MEET UP – JANUARY 2015

I am very keen to arrange a meet up for blog/book readers on a weeknight in the last 2 weeks of January (in London).

It will be an informal eve of chats, drinks, NYC tales and also an opportunity for me to let you know the ideas I am working on behind the scenes for the next stage of the 60 Postcards project. I would really appreciate some group feedback from those who know the story so far!

Just so that I have an idea of numbers, please may you register your interest by voting below. Thank you!

 

 

 

Grand Central Terminal: A Postcard for John

Bringing you news once a week on the ongoing 60 Postcards journey (you can read a summary of the story in Glamour Magazine, here).

I returned from NYC a little while ago and, as promised in my last post, from here on I will be blogging about some of the postcards that I scattered around the Big Apple on behalf of other people – a mission of remembrance that I feel so honoured to be a part of.

Here is Jo’s story…..

The Postcard

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“Great! You found me!

My name is Jo, I live in Dorset, England. I’ve written this card in memory of my brother John who sadly lost his battle with cancer 7 years ago, age 56. During his life John loved to travel so I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to join the ’60 Postcards’ Project and let his memory do some traveling.

Now you have found this, please do get in touch. I’d love to know about you and were/when you found my card. 

Here’s hoping, Jo xx’

Jo has followed the 60 Postcards blog for a while now and I was excited to see her at the Wimborne Literary Festival talk last week, which prompted me to begin with the story of her postcard in memory of her brother. Jo’s letter was so honest and heartfelt, explaining about her brother’s wonderful character and love for living life to the full. I really wanted to find the perfect spot for his tribute.

As I mentioned briefly in, The One Where 60 Postcards Hits NYC, I had contacted NYC blogger, Ashley, before the trip. Ashley and Sara are two friends that set up a lifestyle site called Wanderlust in the City (WebsiteFacebookTwitter) and I came across it as I was searching for tips about the city. I decided to reach out and get in touch as I thought that with their knowledge of NYC, they may be able to lend a helping hand.

Ashley and I met near her office and headed straight for the nearest Starbucks so that we could have a chat and make a scattering plan. We picked out Jo’s postcard and, with her words about John’s love for travel, Ashley suggested we head for Grand Central Terminal. It was the perfect place – such a transient hub – full of history and buzzing with travellers and tourists.

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We stopped for a couple of photos outside the front of the station. There was a lady close by who was curious as to why we were doing that – assuming that we must be tourists. I explained that I was from London, Ashley explained that she lives in NYC and when the lady then asked how we knew each other – Ashley and I glanced at each other and laughed as we realised that unless she had a spare hour, it would be difficult to explain the whole story. Photos done – it was time to head in to the station.

We stood looking over the main concourse, scouring the area for the perfect postcard spot. There was a row of ticket booths and some of them were not open for business at the time. I had attached a piece of ribbon to the card so we were able to tie it to the railing underneath one of the booth windows.

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Just as Ashley explains in her blog post about our day (60 Postcards in New York City), the hardest part for us was to walk away without looking back. Our scattering had been seamless, however, my goodbye with Ashley was not as I managed to spill coffee on her as we hugged goodbye (sorry again, Ashley!).

I feel honoured that with John’s love of travel, the memory of him could travel with me across the pond and was left in a place perfect for him. I have no doubt that Jo’s words on that postcard have been read – by one or by many. I haven’t had a response from a finder, but you just never know.

Jo and family – thank you so much for being part of this.

With love,

Rachael x

Paperbacks, Postcards & The 2 Cents Collective

Bringing you news once a week on the ongoing 60 Postcards journey (you can read a summary of the story in Glamour Magazine, here).

Yet another apology from me for another spectacular disappearing act. Might start calling myself Houdini? I am most definitely back to blogging now and have decided to reduce my posting down to one a week (in order to lower my blood pressure levels and give you a little less waffle to wade through)!

What is going on behind the scenes? I am developing a framework and a creative business model for the future plans of the 60 Postcards project. The very personal tribute I began remains as a wonderful starting point but now heads towards becoming more of a concept – a support service – offering help to those who have lost, exploring the creative angle towards dealing with grief and creating a safe and open environment for people to share stories and to connect.

Almost all of the 60 Postcards Stateside (NYC) postcard info sheets have now been sent to the tribute writers and I am delighted to announce that we have had a few finders! Exciting stuff.

Another part of my 60 Postcards work that is about to kick off is preparation for the release of the paperback for February 2015. As book lovers and fellow writers will know, there is a fresh market out there in the paperback world and Simon & Schuster UK designer Anneka has created a brand new cover to reflect that. And here it is…….

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Needless to say, when I nervously opened up the design from my inbox, I was blown away once more. Tears of joy trickled down my cheeks. It is pretty, Parisian and perfectly captures the narrative. I’m in love.

Other lovely recent news is that 60 Postcards is going to be published in China! Totally random and wonderful. Can’t wait to see what it looks like! (And wonder if they will understand the Made in Chelsea reference amongst others!)

The 2 Cents Collective

Now for a flashback to my New York trip. When I was hanging out in a coffee shop in Manhattan, I came across a postcard. (Of course I did). It was the last one of its kind. It took me 2 seconds to read and by then I was totally invested in the 2 Cents Collective.

The 2 Cents Collective is the brainchild of Brooklyn based, Maple. Maple has a close bond with her 14-year-old sister, Allison, but the distance between them is 800 miles. Her love for her sister and desire to give her as much advice as possible led her to think about how she could help other young people, too. On September 16th Maple launched her campaign which asks people, “What advice would you give to someone turning 16 years old?”. People can get as creative as they like with it (details below). And although this will help so many young people, Maple’s aim is to have this made in to a coffee-table-style book to present to her sister for her 16th Birthday. What a beautiful gift.

 FOLLOW 2CENTSC – WEBSITE  |  FACEBOOK  |  TWITTER

2CentsCollective

Give your Advice! 

Maple would really like this to kick off in her hometown of Charleston but welcomes advice from all over the world. if you do one thing this week amongst your work and play, please make it this! It is such a fantastic idea and a lot of fun to do as we think back to our younger years. I am sending mine off tomorrow! Here is what to do:

1. Think of advice you would give to someone turning 16 years old.

2. Write, draw, paint, collage, sculpt, highlight, record it – whatever.

3. Send it in via snail mail (134 Franklin St. #4Brooklyn, NY 11222) or online.

4. Influence somebody.

(Your advice will be anonymous unless you state otherwise.)

Postcards, words of advice – all inspired by a family bond. It is no wonder I love this collective so much. Maple – wishing you all the success in the world and I hope that I may be able to meet you when I visit NYC again in the future!

So there we have it – paperbacks, postcards and a heartfelt collective.

What is coming next? Well it is about time I start sharing the incredible stories of the postcards I took with me to New York!

Speak to you next week.

Love as always,

Rachael x

Ps Message for any Dorset readers….

I am speaking at the Wimborne Literary Festival this Friday 3-4pm at Allendale House. Tickets are £6 if you would like to come along! Let me know if you book as would love to meet people afterwards.

The One Where 60 Postcards Hits NYC

Bringing you news once a week on the ongoing 60 Postcards journey (you can read a summary of the story in Glamour Magazine, here).

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I hoped that this trip would be special. It really has knocked my expectations out of the park, though, and continues to be more magical than I imagined. It has been non-stop exploring, eating, drinking, laughing, wandering and postcard dropping. I am not quite sure how I am going to document absolutely everything on here at the moment – just so much has happened! Until I make a game plan, here is a little summary…..

Location, Location, Location

After a frantic and disorganised start to my accommodation, it has ended up working out wonderfully.

On my first night I headed to Stephanie‘s place in west Midtown. As she was in rehearsal until later, I dropped in to a local café for some much-needed coffee fuel as the jet lag was wearing me down. It was amazing to see her and to meet her best friend, Uthman, who was dancing around the lounge (naturally). It made me feel so grateful for those handwritten postcards in Paris which have resulted in a beautiful friendship across the pond.

Beccy arrived the next day and off we went to our Airbnb pad in Bushwick, Brooklyn.  We were a little apprehensive as the taxi pulled up into a deserted industrial estate, but once we walked around the corner we saw just how cool it was. Street art, galleries, vintage stores and coffee shops galore – this place has a real East London vibe. It’s New York’s Dalston (except it’s even more hipster). Vogue rates it as one of the top 15 coolest neighbourhoods in the world and that was judged in September – if they knew I was going to visit, I may have ruined it for them. I’ll never be ‘cool’.

Next up I stayed with lovely James (brother of my great friend, Emma) on the Upper East Side and given the fact that James and his girlfriend had never met me before, they couldn’t have made me feel more welcome! They gave me a set of keys and told me to drop in and out as I pleased and I loved hanging out with them for beers and chats (and educating me on baseball).

I swung up to the Upper West Side a couple of days later to stay in Rachel’s room while she was off for a weekend in the Hamptons. I lived with Rachel when I first moved to London and I have loved being able to hang out with her as she settles into New York life as a masters student at Columbia.

A few blocks away was my next abode where I hit my next Airbnb, hosted by John, Marcus and Randy. Owner of the flat, John, also owns a bar just moments away where I listened to some great (and horrifying) karaoke.

Planned and Surprise Meetings

 

1077813_10152694164825873_7461421021505324876_o-2Before I left for NYC I had been in touch with some people about meeting up. Most of them are friends but two were people I have never met. Ashley is one of the girls who runs a NY & LA blog called, Wanderlust in the City and we got on fabulously as we chatted about the project while we searched for a spot to leave a postcard together.

Meghan Markle is mostly known for her part as Rachel Zane in the USA TV series, Suits. She also runs a successful lifestyle blog called, The Tig. I emailed her blog team about my NYC mission (if you don’t know about that, read more here!), as I wanted to spread the word about the project in the hope that perhaps they could put a tweet out. Never, ever did I imagine that Meghan would get back to me personally saying that she would love to be involved. She was so lovely and so supportive of 60 Postcards. It is great to have her as part of #Team60Postcards.

I have met many new people along the way but the two most surprising have been at book events. Caitlin Moran and Lena Dunham – utter legends – were two people I never thought I’d meet in life, let alone in NYC on this trip. Both with new books out, I was lucky enough to get in to hear them speak at their separate events, get a book signed and even chat to them briefly in person. AND Lena has one of the 60 postcards. Wow. Now, lets all tell her to read it! (Look out for a tweet tomorrow. Retweet away!)

60 Postcards Stateside  

Postcards have been scattered left, right and centre and I still have a few more planned for over the weekend. It has been terrifying but fun, emotional but an honour and I can’t wait to tell you all about it!

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To everyone who wrote a postcard, you can expect the following when I return:

  • A map marking the postcard’s location
  • Information about the hiding spot
  • A few snaps of the area and the postcard where it is left
  • A description of what happened when I left it

What else has happened? I saw Adam Driver from Girls on my flight (must have been a sign), listened to the most wonderful gay man trying to calm down some angry youths on the subway by throwing imaginary glitter on them, I’ve bought shoes the wrong size by mistake, experienced my first bike ride for years on the treacherous roads of New York, danced at a drag bar, got sunburnt in Central Park, drenched in the rain outside the Lincoln Centre this morning and left many bars feeling tipsy and totally in love with this city.

I may only have a few days left here but I don’t intend to waste one minute of it. The fun isn’t over yet. I still have work to do, events to attend and one more meeting with an inspirational man.

Sending love from NYC.

Speak soon,

Rachael  x

The Lost, The Found & NYC Bound…

Bringing you news once a week on the ongoing 60 Postcards journey (you can read a summary of the story in Glamour Magazine, here), and on Friday I share a story of an inspirational person, project or cause.

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I lost the plot last weekend, for sure. ‘Moving house is stressful’, people warned me. ‘I’ve got this’, I thought to myself smugly as I looked around my room, absolutely certain that I could do it with my own bare hands. It’s just up the road – no need for a man in a van. More fool me.

I’m in now, but as I began to unpack (or at least attempt to move things from one bag or box to another), I seemed to embark on a journey of the lost and found…

After four years in my last home I had accumulated more crap than I ever thought possible and it is no wonder that things had gone awry between flats, especially given my decision to throw half of my belongings out ready for my new clutter-free existence. The problem with that came when I realised a few pretty important items were missing: paperwork, a couple of notebooks, chargers. (I’m still hoping they show up at some point.)

Then came the possessions I found: tickets, cards and letters. My own reactions took me by surprise. Mum’s handwriting was something I felt too broken to see soon after her passing but this time it felt comforting, in a way. A message from her in a Christmas card from 2011 read, ‘I hope you get all that you wish for in 2012’, which hit me hard. Though, on reflection, it was more of a quick, sharp pain than the constant ache I used to feel. Sympathy cards and letters of condolence were tough to read at first but they also gave me strength, as I was reminded just how wonderful my family and friends are. It was a significant moment for me. The words I always despised to hear, ‘It gets better in time’, finally began to make a little more sense.

Thinking so much about Mum led me to think about my postcard project – the next adventure to NYC – and it was at this point where I could almost sense her eye roll, chuckle and sigh as I scrambled, frantically, through my belongings to find the fundamental item for my trip. I had LOST my flipping PASSPORT. Thankfully, after about 15 minutes (felt like more) of muttering, ‘No, no, no, no, no’, I managed to retrieve it. A classic case of taking the ‘safe place’ too far.

So the passport may be back with me but I explained in my last post that I had not been overly organized on the accommodation front for New York. Well, it was only last night that I managed to secure a roof over my head for the first six nights. Paris postcard finder, Stephanie, is kindly putting me up for an evening. I am going straight from the airport to meet her at her dance studios to watch a rehearsal. I couldn’t imagine a better (or more apt) way to start the trip. Then I am hitting an Airbnb with my friend, Beccy. As for the rest of the trip….ummmm….your guess is as good as mine (but someone kindly pointed out that the subway is open 24 hours, so I should be OK.)

Now, somehow, it is the day before I fly and I face the same old pre-holiday quandaries. I haven’t lost the stone I had planned to because, honestly? I haven’t really tried. I haven’t bought a new wardrobe because I spent too much going for a ‘couple’ a few too many times. I haven’t got a gorgeous glow to my skin because I’m a little too afraid to go back on a sunbed after the time I made the error of putting the eye protectors on my……(don’t. Just, don’t). BUT, I do still have time to dye the greys out of my hair. Result.

I wonder if I will ever be a proper, real life grown up? As the thirty-first birthday approaches, I think it’s probably just time to admit that this is me. And now I better get ‘me’ checked-in online before I forget to do that, too.

Speak to you from across the pond.

Happy hump day (so to speak).

Rachael x

 

 

 

My Love for Your Postcards, NYC & More!

Bringing you news once a week on the ongoing 60 Postcards journey (you can read a summary of the story here), and on Friday I share a story of an inspirational person, project or cause.

‘Life admin’ – a phrase which haunts me but is unfortunately a necessary part of….well…life. New York planning and flat hunting have taken over these past couple of weeks. Thankfully a flat has been found. And the best bit about it, is that my new pad is moments away from my current abode. As if I could ever leave Kings Cross when it feels like home to me now? Even this morning I was strolling (running) along the canal when I bumped into the lovely Naomi from Pop up 38 who is in the local area!

Now I am back, here are the latest 60 Postcards updates!…….

60 Postcards Stateside, Scattered for You! THERE IS STILL TIME!……

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I have been blown away, moved to tears and completely honoured to receive such beautiful postcards from you as part of my next mission to scatter postcards around New York City on your behalf. Thank you so much to those who have sent them in and I promise to be in touch via email next week.

I know that I originally set a date and decided on 60 Postcards, but given a few messages from people unable to send one in that time and by an overwhelming sense of passion about doing this on reading those I already have, I see no point in limiting this mission. I have two and a half weeks out there. So if you still want to be a part of it or know someone who does, there is still time! The new date for them to be received by is Wednesday 17th September.

***FIND OUT HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED HERE!***

NYC Meet Ups

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So, the countdown to my trip is on. One week today, I will be sat on the plane and giddy with nerves and excitement while watching as many films as possible! Standard.

Accommodation plans have been hilariously unorganised, what with permanent accommodation drama in my own city going on! I will be couch surfing and airbnb-ing with the odd hotel thrown in. You name it, I’m doing it. It will all be part of the adventure!

I am über excited about meeting people out there: old friends, colleagues, a uni mate, postcard finders and more.

The first person I will see is one of my closest friends, Beccy. I used to live with Beccy and she was such a driving force in the creation of 60 Postcards and came along to Paris when the magic first happened. Currently working at the Toronto Film festival, Beccy is then joining me in NYC for a 5 day catch up. We have been dreaming of meeting on an NYC roof terrace for years and she is the perfect accomplice to help with my new postcard mission!

Other people who I cannot wait to see are:

Stephanie – The gorgeous ballet dancer who found a postcard in Paris and who has become a great friend. The last time I saw her was when she flew over for my book launch!

Julie – A brief meeting while taking part in an Inside Out project in Times square is the only time I have spent with lovely Julie, but we are in contact and ready for a catch up!

Max – I dashed into the shop he worked in to drop a postcard off last year and now I finally get to meet him properly. It is perfect timing as I am going to join him for his birthday celebrations!

Rita – My lovely postcard finder from the Foxwoods theatre on Broadway has said that I may be able to get a tour of the theatre and go for a long overdue coffee!

Chloe – I met Chloe on my Business Design short course at Central St Martins. We may not have been in the same group during the week, but we can make up for it now as I am searching her out in NYC!

A Caring Hand – I got in touch with this children’s bereavement charity in the hope that I can go in to find out more about what they do. I have heard back from them and, fingers crossed, will have that opportunity!

I am also going to meet a girl who runs a successful lifestyle blog about NYC. She is going to help me with the postcards and blog about it while I am out there. I am also excited to meet a mystery postcard helper who a lot of you will know of….more on that in the future!

Apologies for my recent disappearance and I will be back to regular blogging next week.

I look forward to receiving your postcards.

Love as always,

Rachael xx

60 Postcards Stateside, Scattered for You

Bringing you news once a week on the ongoing 60 Postcards journey (you can read a summary of the story here), and on Friday I share a story of an inspirational person, project or cause.

This post is all about the launch of the next exciting phase of the 60 Postcards project and how you can be a part of it!

It is a plan that has been inspired by readers – by all of the heartfelt messages that I have received from those who have lost a loved one. Messages that remind us that grief does not need to be shouldered alone and how, when we share our stories, we can seek comfort in the fact that we can relate to one and other’s experiences. It may be the smallest of things that lead us to nod, smile or to cry in agreement.  Whatever it may be, I feel a strong sense of this project becoming a network as #Team60Postcards. I would love to take your messages with me on my next adventure to create a brand new group tribute. I will pack 60 Postcards in my suitcase – written by you – and scatter them stateside in New York City.

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Here is the plan and how you can get involved……..

The idea

60 Postcards in memory of loved ones, scattered around NYC.

The message

Choose one postcard and write your message on the back about who you are spreading the memory of.

How will the finder get in touch?

There will be a sticker on the front of the postcard, placed by moi, asking the finder to get in touch via 60 postcards contact details (as a central point for all messages – any received will be forwarded on!)

Sending the postcard

Place your postcard in an envelope addressed to the following:

Jo Hayes, Bell Lomax Moreton, Suite C, Victory House, 131 Queensway, Petts Wood, Kent,  BR5 1DG

Along with the postcard, please enclose a note with your name, email address and twitter handle (if you have one!).

It would be great to include half an A4 page with a little about you and what motivated you to send it.

Delivery Date

I understand that this is a big task to do – a postcard is such a small space to write such an important message on. But in order to be fully prepared before I head off they will need to be received by WEDNESDAY 17TH SEPTEMBER.

Which Postcards will go?

If there are more than 60 then I will plan something for the ones left over. All will be part of the project somehow but I may take the total number with me anyway! No postcards will ever be ignored!

My promise to you – the postcard writers:

This is, hands down, the most important challenge that I have taken on so far. I want to do it justice. I want to do it as well as I can for you. Anyone that sends a postcard must be aware that the only guarantee is that it will be scattered in a special place and I will email/tweet you a photo of where it is left. You will be part of #Team60Postcards.

And as for people getting in touch, we are going to have to keep our fingers crossed. That will be a bonus!

If you know someone who you believe would like to write a postcard then please forward this post to them, too!

I am really looking forward to hearing from you.

Some people scatter ashes. We are scattering words.

The show must go on……stateside.

Love,

Rxxx