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True “World Travelers”

One time while staying at my grandparents’ house as a little girl, I remember my grandmother showing me various articles in the upstairs closet including one which was of a box of postcards they had received (and sent themselves) from destinations around the world. I think I was about 10 or so at the time and this was when my desire to travel and see the world was just starting to take root. Needless to say I was extremely interested in the contents of this particular box.

Since I was at my grandparents’ house for Christmas this year, my grandmother got the box out for me once more and I sifted through it. I marveled at the variety of far flung destinations that were included in it, almost all having been sent by one man, my grandfather’s brother or “Uncle Bob” as he has always been known to me.

Uncle Bob loved to travel. Although he is 92 now and doesn’t leave his New York City apartment all too often, back in the day, he went to more countries than most people could ever begin to imagine. He of course visited all seven continents and one of the coolest postcards I found was the one he sent to my grandparents from Antarctica.

Like many men of his generation, Uncle Bob’s first ever travels were not the type of ones that anyone would ever willingly want and during World War II he served in the Pacific Theater. Here he is in 1942 at basic training in Alabama before he was sent overseas.

After the war he returned to Pennsylvania and attended business college on the GI Bill before ultimately moving to New York City in the 1950s and where he has lived ever since.

His favorite mode of transportation seemed to be cruises, but not just any cruises, the Cunard Line’s Queen Elizabeth II to be exact. He went NUMEROUS times on their Around the World cruises. It was through them that he visited such far flung destinations as the Indian Ocean islands of the Seychelles and Mauritius as well as destinations that for kids who grew up during the Great Depression, would have seemed like a dream to visit.

Peru

India
Egypt

Today, wanderlust is a common feeling for many people but for someone of Uncle Bob’s generation, it was basically unheard of. And yet Uncle Bob went out and truly saw the world and if I were to say where I got the travel bug from, it would probably be him.

Tokyo, Japan

And yes, he even visited Japan which for the soldiers who fought against the Japanese during World War II, was a big deal.

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9 Comments

  • Reply
    Jo Ann M.
    January 2, 2014 at 7:51 pm

    What a great tribute to your uncle! Uncle Bob sounds like a fascinating person! I love the postcards, especially the one from his trip to Antarctica. Aside from the postcards, has he ever written about his travels? Which country did he enjoy the most? I’ll bet his stories are riveting!

    You are so lucky to have someone like Uncle Bob in your family. I can see how he inspired you to travel. I’m sure he is thrilled that you are such a dedicated traveler!

    • Reply
      Julie Tulba
      January 3, 2014 at 1:01 am

      Uncle Bob is the most solitary of figures πŸ™‚ A talker he is not! My mom has said he’s always been this way. But no, I don’t think he ever kept journals or anything of his travels unfortunately.

      Yes, when I saw the one of Antarctica I was blown away. But all of his travels are amazing considering he grew up in the midst of the Great Depression. I’ll have to ask him which country was his favorite although knowing him, he’ll probably say he doesn’t know.

      When I flew to Korea alone at 19 he did remark that I had some guts to do so and coming from him that’s quite the compliment πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Angela
    January 2, 2014 at 10:06 pm

    Love this! I have been collecting post cards from my travels, but I think I might start writing on some and mailing them. It is great that you have someone that shares his travel stories with you. My grandfather likes to forget what he did in the war and does not talk about it unless I pry πŸ™‚

    • Reply
      Julie Tulba
      January 3, 2014 at 1:03 am

      Sending postcards to themselves was something my grandparents always did on their travels. It is a great way to collect stamps from abroad! And also see how fast (or slow) it takes for your card to reach the final destination. I try to do it but more often forget.

      War is morbidly fascinating (I feel at least) but I’m sure if you were in one it would be something you wouldn’t want to talk about.

  • Reply
    Julie Tulba
    January 3, 2014 at 1:00 am

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • Reply
    Rebecca
    January 5, 2014 at 11:53 pm

    I loved growing up hearing about the places my mother and her friends visited in the 1960s, crossing the Berlin Wall, Siagon, lining up on Christmas Day in London to wait for your appointment to call home. It was definitely a different era and one I still love to hear about.

    • Reply
      Julie Tulba
      January 6, 2014 at 2:53 am

      It was a different time indeed! I’m always fascinated to hear about air travel back in the day, when white tablecloths, candles, and gourmet meals were given to anyone πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Laura
    January 6, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    So cool that your uncle and grandparents were able to travel so much. When I was young I remember my grandpa going all over the world on business and it seemed pretty glamorous! He has some interesting stories about meetings in Rio, visiting a small town in rural China where the entire village came out to “see the white person” and some interesting leisure trips with my grandma.

    • Reply
      Julie Tulba
      January 7, 2014 at 1:17 pm

      Although stuff was different (and harder then), I really would have loved to have been able to travel during the glamor days, i.e. the PanAm of the 1960s. Love it-“to see the white person.” But I’m sure in some areas of the world, that awesome designation still applies πŸ™‚

      Today people flit about like it’s nothing but it definitely was a big deal 50+ years ago!

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