“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.”
~Henry David Thoreau, Walden
It’s about a five-minute drive from our home in San Diego to the post office where our mail is delivered. With the local NPR station to keep me company, I welcome the daily excursion as a chance to hear news updates or catch snippets from an interesting feature story.
On a recent afternoon, singer-songwriter Rosanne Cash was talking about where she finds inspiration for writing music. I didn’t know very much about her work, but I was immediately struck by the eloquent way she wove her words together when she spoke, almost as if she were reading a poem.
“We’re all just radios, hoping to pick up each other’s signals,” she told the interviewer. But it was this line that caused me to linger in the parking lot and grab a notebook from my purse:
“Some songs have been postcards from my future.”
Postcards from the future. It’s a profound thought for life in general, but also an interesting idea for defining travel plans and dreams. If a postcard from my future had been tucked among the mail that day, where would the postmark have been stamped? What would the message have been? Would I have recognized the destination photo on the front of the card?
I remember an assignment our kids were given in their high school English classes to write a letter from their future selves. The idea was a prompt for them to imagine where life would take them and what they hoped to accomplish. The letters were to be sealed and safely stored to read at a future time of their choosing. Postcards from the future.
We talk so often about bucket lists and trips of a lifetime – now more than ever in these days of testing the travel waters with cautious optimism. The pandemic was a harsh reminder of how quickly our plans can change and that it’s never a good idea to relegate something we really want to do to the “someday down the road” list.
Maybe a postcard from the future could help crystalize our travel priorities. Perhaps it could spark us to separate the tantalizing journeys from the destination dreams that lie deep within our travel hearts. And even if we don’t literally put pen to paper, it may be worth taking a few moments to listen to our future selves.
We might even get a glimpse of where we’re headed.