Our departure date (Nov. 7th 1990) arrived and my sister and I (with a friend) boarded a KLM flight to Amsterdam. Once we were settled into our seats and had soared high up into the sky, my sister and I eagerly opened the handwritten letters given to us by our parents to be read on the plane. Little did we know that this small gesture would become a family tradition.
After that trip, every flight I took whether it be from Victoria to Ottawa or Ottawa to Victoria when I was living away from home, my boyfriend (and eventually husband) and family members would always slip a note into my bag "to read on the plane." I also wrote letters to my sister, Stephanie, when she flew to France for a student exchange as a teenager and again when she flew to Belfast, Ireland to attend a year of university. I have written letters for my husband when he flew to Ottawa from Victoria to start a new job and when he flew to Toronto on business. I wrote letters for my dad to read on the plane when he has travelled to Nepal, Africa and New Zealand and countless other places.
This morning, my niece Sarah, who is 12 years old, boarded a plane for her very first big trip away from home. She is travelling to Arizona and Nevada for a week and a bit with my parents. When she was only six weeks old, my dad gave her a book called, "I See Something Grand" which he had picked up during a trip to the Grand Canyon. She was his first grandchild and inside the book, he wrote her a note promising to take her to see the Grand Canyon when she 12 years old or so. And now he is.
My letter to read on the plane was lengthy and talked about the excitement of visiting new places and talking with the locals and trying out new food and seeing new sights. I told her about her mother's travelling bug and how her mother had travelled to Europe, Asia and Australia before she settled down to have children. I told her that she may get bitten by the travel bug after this trip. I enclosed a photo of her mom and I in 1990 on our first big trip away from home. My younger sister, Stephanie, as well as Sarah's mom, also wrote her letters to read on the plane.
|My sister and I in Galway Bay (1990) on our way to the Aran Islands, Ireland|
Although I don't get the opportunity to travel much anymore, I know that when I do, I still look forward to these little messages of farewell and bon voyage!