I have always loved to travel and I have been blessed – from an early age – by parents who encouraged me to do so. They let me fly on my own to Paris when I was a youngster, knowing that my great-aunt would be at Charles de Gaulle to meet me. I still have a photo, somewhere, of me on that trip, feeling very grown-up and looking very, very young.
I don’t think I realized at that age what a gift travel is, and as I grew up when flying somewhere was still considered the height of luxury, I very clearly remember the idea of getting dressed (properly!!) to go to the airport. With the advent of People’s Express (yes, I’m dating myself – look it up), and mass air transit, wearing a suit and tie or a dress and gloves has long gone the way of the dodo bird.
Travel posters help us remember places we have visited and loved, as well as entice us to come up with lists of places we wish to visit before we die. Vintage travel posters celebrate places, cultures, stereotypes of the best and worst kind… they are like vacation snapshots taken by some of the best poster artists during the golden age of travel.
For eons, my family would go to the same place, year after year (kind of like lemmings) at Christmas. We would endure some horrendous travel experiences (delayed or cancelled flights which would force us to take a bus to some far off city to catch a connection) which would invariably result in my father – a very refined gentleman most of the time – taking a brief catnap on an airport floor somewhere, with a newspaper over his face.
(I used to be half mortified/half hysterical when he would pull this routine, but now, as a grown-up, I realize he was just conserving his energy. Smart guy, my dad.) When, finally we would get to our destination, the feeling of returning to a familiar and well-loved place would erase the fatigue of the journey and replace it with a sense of well-being. One day on the beach and everything else was forgotten..
I miss that place and those times. I miss the knowledge that no matter how hard it was to get there, we would all gather in the same place, at roughly the same time and see the same folks on the beach. I miss it, but remember it so well that I can call it up in my minds eye with not too much difficulty… and my posters, well they just help me visualize it in better detail!