Alaska, Iceland, Paris.

Postcards aren’t just a piece of paper with a quick note on it to a distant friend. Postcards are snapshots of adventure and beauty in discovering somewhere other than home.

I open my mailbox to see the familiar “Greetings from Skagway, Alaska” attractively displayed above the picture of a welcoming city street. A surge of envy shoots through me while reading his scribbled note. It takes me back to sitting in a crowded van, messily scrawling words onto the back of scenic postcards as the bumpy roads bring me from state to state.

Traveling to California in that black Dodge van during the midst of summer reminds me of crossing borders of all kinds. There is so much more to the world than Litchfield, Maine. Hours would pass as I stared out the tinted windows. My world slowly transformed. Pine trees turned into endless cornfields. Cornfields turned into infinite yellow grass, and then to bare sand scattered with tumbleweed and scraggly bushes. And finally, the lush, green, leafy trees and bright blue ocean that stretches as far as the eye can see. Rows and rows of golden almond trees with the occasional outcast of a palm tree. This is California to me.

Adapting to a foreign atmosphere is refreshing in many senses. New faces, new roads, and being in a new environment overall is liberating. There is no pressure to conform or impress because everyone and everything is unfamiliar. You are seen as a blank slate – the past is of no concern, and you’re thousands of miles away from where these things matter.

Florida, Georgia, Germany. My collection of postcards is always growing. Each card comes with a tale of untraveled roads and the discovery that goes hand in hand with being far away from home. As Skagway, Alaska’s taunting whisper of “Wish You Were Here” grazes my eyes, the hypnotizing rows of almond trees flash through my mind.

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