Poems for Travellers and Future Explorers

My Sisters

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, but one of my projects for 2013 was to start mailing postcards to my sisters from all the places I visit. I am the oldest of four sisters, two of them under 13. I know that they miss me, and I miss them a lot too.

We haven’t had very much contact this past year, and they’ve recently been going through some tough family challenges. I wanted to reach out to them again. The two older ones have already had their fair share of rough waters, and it sucks to see the little ones still going through bumpy times.

My hope is that these postcards will be something they can collect, and that will help them feel connected to me even though I’m far away. Although they’re not old enough to visit me on their own, I hope that I can inspire them to someday take journeys of their own and travel on their own terms.

There’s so much more to the world than what they have seen, and I wish for them many adventures. When I was growing up, I would have loved to know someone who was traveling and forging a path for me to follow, opening my eyes to new possibilities (sometimes our own spaces can feel claustrophobic). I hope to be that person for them.

Today I bought my first postcards, and wrote the following poem for them. I’m sending each of them different verses on their postcards, so when they combine the cards, it will be the entire poem. I thought I’d share it here as well.

I also added another two poems that I wrote with the same intentions, for future postcards and travels.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

For Elizabeth, Emma, Kayla, and Naty. You guys are awesomeness in tiny packages.


With Far Away Love From Your Sister


It’s a really big world.

But also, it’s small.

Just when you think that you have seen it all

There’s one tiny detail you missed or forgot,

One part of the world where you did not stop.


It’s a really big world.

But also, it’s tiny.

There’s old and there’s new and there’s rocky and slimy.

There’s mountains and deserts and valleys and trees.

How cool is it that you can go where you please?


It’s a really big world.

But also, it’s little.

North, East, South, and West. And don’t miss the middle!

You’ll have lots of time to go where you choose.

There’s so much to learn—how can you refuse?


So when you can travel, pack water and snacks.

Go far and go fearless and never come back.

Go up and go down and even go sideways.

Anything’s possible when you decide it!


Say goodbye to old things; say hello to the new.

Say thanks to all those who help you pass through.

Sometimes you’ll need help; sometimes you’ll help others.

You’re certain to find a new sister or brother.


Go out where there’s people, and explore where there’s none.

Forget all the rules; don’t forget to have fun.

Be safe but be fearless; be silly but wise.

Keep your helpful hands busy. Smile with your eyes.


It’s a really big world.

But also, it’s home.

You’ll find other travelers; you won’t be alone.

And when you decide it’s your time to come through,

You’ll find me here waiting… still waiting for you.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *


On Money and Important Stuff (And Stuff That’s Not Really That Important After All)


What will you live on? How will you pay rent?

These are the questions some folks will present.

Well-meaning questions from people who care,

But they sometimes forget how things work out there.


Some things are important and some things are not,

And some things can trap us and tie us in knots.

Some things like money will come and will go,

And some things like time are best taken slow.


Lunches and beach days and hot tea and brunch:

These are all things that shouldn’t be rushed.

Whether you’re rich or whether you’re poor,

A long lunch with a friend, we all can afford


Some of us travel and some of us stress.

Sometimes we’ll do both, but one is the best.

Don’t rush; take your time. There’s plenty to see.

Don’t worry; go slow. Might as well climb that tree!


Good friends are important, and family too.

Houses and cars are just part of the glue

That hold things together, but not everything sticks.

Some things like giggles and laughs might not mix.


So seek to be happy, whatever the cost.

Seek to be free, even if you get lost.

Seek to help others and always have hope.

If you see someone slipping, toss them some of your rope.


If you’re poor, that’s okay. If you’re rich, that’s fine too.

Do what you love, even when others boo.

Take what you need and need what you keep.

Breathe deep, eat good food, and catch up on your sleep.


Remember it’s never as bad as it seems.

You need less than you think to go after your dreams.

Don’t let all those little-big things hold you back.

They’re not that important—you’re on the right track.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *


On Dreams


Dreams are a funny, peculiar thing.

They hug us and cheer us and help us to sing.

But often they’re fragile, so easy to break,

So easy to lose and then it’s too late.


Dreams are what help us keep thinking ahead.

We see things that might be, dream them up in our beds.

But even in real life, our dreams can come true.

I’ve seen all this happen; it can happen to you!


All you must do is never give up,

And always remember each dream that you’ve thunk.

Write them down, say them loud, hide them deep in your socks.

When things start to look gloomy, take them out of their box.


They’ve got special powers to keep your hopes up,

Turn your frowns into smiles, get you over that rut.

Keep all your dreams safe; don’t forget that they’re there,

Even way after you’re old with grey hair.


You’re never too young or too old or too slow—

Just give them some water and help them to grow.

It’s never too late; dreams can really come true.

I’ve seen all this happen; it can happen to you!



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10 responses

  1. Oh Vanessa, these poems were just beautiful. As a mother with children and stepchildren who are more than a decade apart in age, I know how important it is that the younger ones have strong relationships with the older siblings. My youngest two have been through some extremely difficult times and I only hope that their older half-siblings can make the kind of encouraging effort with them that you’ve made with your younger sisters. You are the kind of young woman who would make a parent proud.

    Thanks for reminding me that it’s never too late to dream! I lost my mother about a year ago and she was my Big Encourager, so I’ve really missed that.

    Your encouragement of your sisters has reached out and helped me too! :)

    I’m looking forward to coming back and hearing about your adventures.


    • Thanks Shannon, that means a lot! The two youngest and my half and/or step sisters. It’s hard to feel connected sometimes because of the huge age difference, but I hope I can be around when they need me.

      • You are off to a great start with the poem/postcard idea. And I love the fact that they will all get to put their heads together to make the poem complete. Very creative and unifying! They will be thrilled! Best wishes!

  2. I love this. It really is AWESOME! I too have a young sister back home (14). This is such a great idea. I think I may borrow some of these thoughts with a twist…and hopefully help her keep her chin up and her eye to her future. Life Is So Good! Thank-you for your posts. I do truly enjoy them. 😃

  3. A couple years ago I spent 9 weeks riding my motorbike around southern Australia. My partner couldn’t come with me so I sent her a postcard every single day. I bet your sisters will love your postcards and poems as much as my partner loved mine.

  4. Nice, Vanessa! The poems made my heart feel warm and I like the purpose behind them. You are a good big sister. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.

  5. Hey Vanessa,

    I woke up this AM with this thought: “Nothing to do and Nowhere to go.” I immediately thought of you guys and your adventures!

    You really have a way with words. Great stories, great poems and certainly a great sister!

    Love the idea of splitting up the poems to combine later. That’s an adventure on its own :).

    As a father of three, I wish to at least in a small way, encourage my kids with all my mini adventures too. Failing that, send them to your blog. ;)

    True inspiration!

    I’m still a bit ‘soft’ after yesterday’s 50K and maybe I had too much coffee!!

  6. That’s such a gorgeous idea to send a verse to each sister on a postcard – and also to send your sisters postcards to collect. They must all be inspired for a life of adventure with a big sister like you! I’m enjoying penpalling with a few dear friends, notes on paper is the one treasure that I will allow to enter my tiny little van home! Katie. XXX

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