by Nikki McKee
I have a suitcase that sits on the top shelf in my garage storing my winter woolies. It is older than me and it began life 40 years ago when my Grandma at age 56 went travelling for the first time.
She had always wanted to travel and as a teenager had planned to go to Hawaii to work as librarian. But WWII came along and, in the words of my now 96 year old Grandma, “stymied everything”. Kids soon followed and that meant travel was well and truly put aside.
When she was 56 and all the kids had flown the coop, Grandma set off as a solo traveller and later returned home to collect Grandpa so they could travel together.
Grandma gave me her suitcase a few years ago. She knew I liked things like that and she no longer travels so far, and these days has a far more modern suitcase.
When preparing our Alaska Cruise and Canadian Rocky Mountain Tour I immediately thought of Grandma's suitcase as it has a big Lake Louise sticker on it. Our tour includes a visit to Banff National Park and Lake Louise, so I rang my Grandma to ask her about it.
My Grandma shared with me how much she loved the lake, in fact so much that she turned down a planned afternoon tea in favour of having a stroll along the lake. When she spoke of the lake’s beauty, it was as if it were yesterday she was standing on the shore.
My grandparents went on to travel extensively into their 90’s and had many tales to tell. My Grandpa has died now, but my Grandma still enjoys hearing all about my travels. As much as I love her suitcase, I have to admit I have a more modern one these days!