2017 is well underway now and so much is happening at the World War II Research and Writing Center. Shifting things around to add some amazing new services later this year to make your experience of researching, writing, traveling, and preserving the stories of our WWII soldiers, sailors, and Marines, more incredible and healing. The majority of my education articles are only going out through my newsletter. One was sent this month. Have you signed up so you receive this valuable information?
As things shift here the last few weeks, I’ve felt a bit uninspired to write for the website. I realized last night, it is in part because of an influx of new WWII clients with which I have been busy. We have also reached the part of Chicago wintertime where we hardly see the sun. That is a bit depressing. Last night I pulled out my Germany travel book to see where I’d like to visit when I’m in Europe this year. If I could instantly zap myself somewhere, I’d transport myself either to a tropical beach where there is sun, or Europe to journey through battlefields, castles, cemeteries, churches, fortified villages, museums, and find more stories to tell along the way. Europe feels more fun than sitting in cold, dark, Chicago.
I love exploring new places in Europe, whether they are related to World War I or II, or not. It is good to have a balance of both war and peace. I enjoy climbing endless stairs to reach the top of a church steeple or tower to admire the view. I like exploring stairways between buildings or within castles, to see what is around the next bend. The architecture everywhere you look is incredible, whether old or more modern. Everywhere you go, you touch the past and the present, all full of history. Some places I feel a strong past life connection to, while other places just exist. No matter where I travel, there are traces of war going back centuries.
I love staying in historical places, old chateaus with the feeling of ghosts wandering the halls and stairways, places that have tiny nooks where you can sit and think or write, hotels that were once Headquarters for our US troops during the war, farmhouse B&B’s, and even more contemporary lodgings. Each has their own story and when you take the time to connect with the owner and hear those stories, they can change your perspective on your travels and your life.
My favorite times on each trip, are those when I feel fully connected to wherever I am and have time to sit and absorb it all. Time to write in my travel journal so I capture the memories, essence of a place, realize new things about myself, and dream new dreams. Time to take as many photos as I want, from as many different angles, to capture what is beautiful and feels good for me. For many reasons, there were not enough of those moments on my trips the last two years. This year I promise myself to have more moments like that.
Contemplating potential travel this year, I wonder where I should go and what I should see. So many possibilities!!!! Having visited parts of France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany, and Austria, I plan to add England (London and Oxford) to my list this year. That much is certain.
I wonder in what places my soul will feel at home. What churches will bring peace. Who I will meet along my journey. What new things I will learn to share with others.
Thankfully the internet is full of websites for tourist destinations and the bookstore has a lot of travel books and magazines to browse. The travel books I already own are tabbed with bright colors indicating things on my wish list to see. Through all my personal and client research, there are many battlefields I wish to visit. Walk where the soldiers walked.
As winter moves on, are you also planning European travel to see and experience new things? Are you planning to walk where your soldier walked during the war? What places have you visited that touched your heart? Where does your heart and soul yearn to go next? What places do you wish you could visit again? What experiences do you wish to have again? Are there places you suggest I visit (if I haven’t already?) I’d love to hear about your trips. Please share with our readers in the comments.
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