The Travel Wall

The Travel Wall

For only being 28 years old, Justin and I have been lucky enough to travel to some pretty amazing places.

After a couple years of dating in college, I made the decision to move back to New York for graduate school while Justin stayed in Washington, DC.  At the time, one-way flights between Buffalo and Baltimore were $39 each way {!!!}.  So Justin and I would take advantage of these great deals once a month, rack up a ton of Southwest’s Rapid Rewards Points, and then cash them in to meet up somewhere new.  We didn’t have a lot of time together, but we wanted to make the time that we did have count.

Our travels took us to New Orleans during hurricane season (fantastic, seriously), to a dear friend’s wedding outside Los Angeles (tear jerking), to South Carolina to visit family (heart warming), to New York City for Christmas (magical), and so on and so forth.

These trips are some of the most special memories I have of our relationship during the blur in my life that was graduate school.  In a time of constant studying and stress and keeping my head in the books, I was able to look up from time to time and find myself in a magical place with the person I loved most in the world.  We were poor students pinching pennies, but we were rich in love [and Southwest Rapid Rewards Points] and we were happy.  Looking at the pictures we took, the post cards we collected, and the maps we saved, I can’t help but smile every time.

As time went on and we grew older, our travels expanded.  I was lucky enough to tag along on Justin’s family vacation one spring to the Bahamas.  Then Justin decided since I was off in New York with my head in the books, he might as well move to China.  And you know very well I couldn’t let him be lonely and homesick over there by himself.  So at the end of a long semester I hopped on a plane and sat and sat and sat until 14 hours later we were together again and all was right in the world.  Not only did I get to visit Justin’s new hometown in Jiao Zhou, China, but my wonderful husband (then boyfriend) took me on a whirlwind tour of the country he was so proud of living in—Shanghai, Beijing, Chengdu, and Qingdao.  We got to climb the Great Wall, eat delicious dumplings, and most importantly, hold a baby panda.  For real.

After four long years of graduate school, we decided the only proper way to close out this chapter in our lives was with a much-anticipated and long-planned trip to Italy.  We had been saving for years and finally finally finally had enough pennies to go.  So we flew off to Italy for two weeks and got to see oh so many truly lovely and breathtaking things and places and people in Rome and Florence and Tuscany.  And amid all the magic and maps and wine and farms and fun, Justin proposed {!!!}.  It still makes my heart skip a beat thinking about it.  So you can imagine the number of photographs and special tokens we saved from that trip and all the big old smiles that are associated with them.

The happy ending, or shall I say happy beginning, to that story is that Justin and I finally ended up living in the same place again.  And when we moved into our first place together we just knew we had to find a way to showcase all our special travel memories.  Justin had a great big world map from his childhood bedroom that he had started to illustrate with all the places he had been.  After much negotiation, it was decided that I too, could put my travels on the map, and up on the wall it went.  Justin then had the idea that we should frame all our magical travel memories and hang them around the map.

So we did.

We spent hours pouring over old photos, reliving memories and telling stories from the moments we had forgotten, and laughing so hard we cried.  And in the end, we had a travel wall.

But then we moved.  And the wall came down.  And between there and here, many many new adventures were had.

So it was only fitting that the travel wall had to change.  This time around, I didn’t want to limit it to just photographs.  We kept a number of our favorite photos, and switched a few others out.  You can’t hang them all, but you can rotate.  This time around we added maps.  And more maps.  And a few other tokens that were carefully selected and treasure hunted from near and far until finally they were brought home to live happily ever after with us.

In our new place, the world map ended up in our family room while the travel wall got moved a bit further away to take advantage of a great long hallway with a big empty wall that needed some sprucing up.  And here’s what we ended up with:

I’m not sure if anyone else can possibly love it as much as we do.  I really can’t walk by it without smiling.

But if you do love it and want to make one of your own, check out my post on Rae’s Texas Family Room Makeover Part II: How to Create a Gallery Wall for instructions on how to hang your memories once you’ve had a good long laugh lovingly picking them out and framing them.

Happy Travels {even if it’s just down memory lane},



17 thoughts on “The Travel Wall

    • Ok, I don’t usually pick favorites, but ME TOO!! I had so much fun writing it, picking out pictures, and reliving all the beautiful memories. Perhaps we can build a travel wall together at your new place in SD??

  1. What a beautiful post! I think that if you have the chance to travel, and together with the person you love, it’s just one of the biggest happiness in the world, i agree. Me too I feel lucky for this. Have a great day!Cris

  2. Beautiful! Beautiful!! Thank you for sharing all your travels with us and such a pretty way to showcase it! =) I absolutely love your style and DIY!!

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