At the beginning of this year, I found a stack of love letters from my great-grandfather to my great-grandmother, dated 1946. They had just married. After reading them, my head was filled with ideas. Let me explain the brainstorm which led to this beginning…
– the letters from 75 years ago
In his letters, they shared experiences, love, thoughts, compassion and more. I realised that, the two newly-wed lovers were getting to know eachother through those scribbles. In Denmark, a young woman, Lizzie, who worked at a soap and perfume shop in Copenhagen; while in Germany, a young Sargeant and translator, John, was seeing the consequences and aftermath of war, translating in the trails, while also visiting most cities and towns in the region of Rhine.
Without the explicit words, you can sense their longing for one another. Even as they carry on with their daily lives, they wish that they were together. The war had brought more than 5 years of uncertainty in life, closed borders and an enforced way of living, without liberty.
– how the idea unfolded
Covid-19 has made travelling different to all us. In fact, the Danish borders hadn’t been closed since the war. Restriction brings on creativity with what you have and, possibly, an added appretiation for what you have in front of your nose. I can say that small trips made me happier than ever before and it made me love even more the travel memories I already had, instead of planning new ones.
Having read those letters, I found that it was the format I was looking for, to start writing – it was going to be letters. I feel happy just thinking that I will travel to my favourite places again, through my photos and memories.
I will reflect on what I learnt, what I enjoyed, what I felt, what I remember from each place. A story, rather than travel tips. I will also devide them into places, rather than countries.
– letters to John
I want to find a way to address them to my great-grandfather, whom I would have loved to share the stories with. I want to tell him what I brought back, in my heart, from those travels. I used to be obsessed with remembering all the places, shops or cafés I had visited, to share them as tips, but it pressured me. Instead of slowly digesting the trip after I got home, I would hurry to write it all down and document everything. I think I found my way of sharing the stories with you, but I think I need to find the how still.
I always brought back a souvenir for my greatgrand-mother when I had been travelling, when she was still here. Therefore, in a way, I see this as my wee souvenir for him.
Also, the purple ribbon is the original one that my great-grandmother used to keep them together. Some things need to be kept the way they are.