The true magic carpet

With a little help from Disney, Drew and Matt make an imaginary trip to Morocco. EPCOT Center, Orlando, Florida, August 2003

With a little help from Disney, Drew and Matt take an imaginary trip to Morocco.
EPCOT Center, Orlando, Florida, August 2003

“Imagination is the true magic carpet.”Norman Vincent Peale

Even when we aren’t free to travel because of health, finances or responsibilities, our minds are always free.  And now, with the entire world available literally at our fingertips, through words, photos, music and videos, our minds have even more fuel for our imaginary journeys.

If you’re reading this, you are looking at a computer or mobile device with internet access.  Quick — where would you most like to go right now?  What place on earth would you travel if you could be there instantly?  Do an online search, and click on “images” or “videos” or even “music” in the search results.  Almost anyplace you can think of in the entire world will have at least a few photos available to bring that faraway place within the reach of your thoughts for a five-minute vacation.

I realize there are elaborate scientific explanations as to how all this is possible.  I know it’s all zeroes and ones, and we have engineers to thank.  I know all that.  But I still think it’s magical.

Have an enchanted day – and send a few photos of your make-believe travels!

One year ago today:


  1. good morning, Julia. Ah, yes, a free mind…to travel. I’ve use books to travel for years! 🙂

    • I have too, Merry! And then when I visit a place (such as New York City) that I’ve been reading about for years, there is a familiarity to it, because some of the local streets and neighborhoods have names I recognize. It makes real-life discovery that much more fun.

  2. It is truly amazing and wonderful what we have at our fingertips. I can look up old clips from movies I want to remember or lines from books or as you say I can go ANYWHERE in a moments time and stay as long as I like. I can also use this tool to learn things very quickly, a drug a patient has asked if they need to stop or a symptom they are reporting and I don’t know what it is. I can look it up quickly so I can better inform the Dr what the patient is experiencing. Very cool. Where will I go today, what will I learn? Have a great weekend. Love to the boys.

    • Amy, you have just described many of the ways we are blessed every day by technology even when we don’t realize it. I’m one of those people who is less afraid of anything if I can find out more about it, especially where medical procedures and diseases are involved. When Matt was a baby it was so much more involved to look up information about his cardiac surgeries and other issues. Jeff used to go to the medical library and photocopy things for me to read. Then once I got in library school I learned to use Medline (which was very expensive in those days, but I had student access for free) and now anyone can use it for free at Pub Med. I think it used to cost around $500 an hour to search that database! Hope you have a great weekend too!

  3. raynard

    Julia, ( someone told you about”the trips I took in my mind with no luggage lol). I use to watch that travel show on PBS along with short videos on my Verzion homepage. Question, is it me or people around me get”loopy/O.C D about traveling more than a hour? In Delaware to get to Philadelphia, NYC or even the Inner Harbor of Baltimore without traffic is over a hour. The beaches, casinos ,clubs and bars is”all the young people want visit. Seems like after 9/11 they dont want to venture too far way from home and the latest these days are few horror stories about being on a cruise ship. Your family along with a friend of ours down in N.C seems like the only people who” dont let Fears prevent them and their families from having fun, enjoying life and making memories”.. I tell young people, life isnt all about working, paying bills and complaining being”angry and working and paying bills”. God never said”when you get a certain age, I have a nice room waiting for you in the nursing home and the latest crossword puzzle”. Be blessed

    • Raynard, needless to say, “casinos, clubs and bars” have never had the slightest appeal to me, even when I was young. On one of our cross country trips, we stopped in Las Vegas and found it so depressing we couldn’t wait to get out of there. I managed to find a hotel where there was no gambling (even the lottery is, in my view, the most regressive form of taxation ever invented, robbing from the poor) because I didn’t want to spend even one night where people were ruining their family’s lives on addicted and delusional hopes of getting rich. Then later when we took our kids to Chuck E. Cheese for pizza, Drew hated it and said “this place is just Las Vegas for kids” so we never went back. I guess we are odd in that respect. (As in many others! 🙂 )

      I do remember after 9/11, I resolved that I was not going to make myself a prisoner in my own home because in my view, that is how terrorists and criminals win. I think we need to use due caution and good sense (there are certain places I won’t go at certain times, and others where I won’t go at all if I can help it) but as you say, why concentrate so hard on staying alive if you only end up unable to go anywhere?

  4. I really think traveling virtually is pretty amazing too Julia. Writing a blog has me learning little tidbits about all kinds of things that wouldn’t necessarily cross my path. Just look at how we all met, it’s really something. I like how you included a photo of a Disney location with the quote about ‘Imagination’ because Walt really was the ‘Guru of Imagination’. Did you ever get to see Saving Mr Banks with Tom Hanks? Tom did a bang up job, it was such a great story. I’ve included a photo of a place I was lucky enough to visit but want to go back because we didn’t have as much time as it takes to digest the magnificence that is Paris

    • WOW, I love that photo! The hat and the little blue stars are the best. I just had to save a copy of it to go with the one of you in Venice. We STILL haven’t seen Saving Mr. Banks but I really do have that second on my list, right behind The Book Thief. It’s funny you mentioned Disney – I just wrote a post that will be published in a couple of weeks with a funny Dave Barry quote about Disney. I was trying to talk myself into being glad we aren’t going to be able to travel anytime soon, so I was looking at the flip side of it. But I am a total fan of Walt Disney; in my view he really did change the world as much as any scientist or inventor. I love it that he was once fired from a job for not having enough imagination.

      • Oh, you still have the Venice photo too, ha that’s sweet. Thank you J. xo
        I’ll keep an eye open for your Dave Barry Post, I really like him a lot. I don’t know if the link got me to the right place but I typed Disney into the search field and ended up reading ‘What’s it really like to be a Princess’ and ’13 secrets you didn’t now about Disneyland’, both fun little slide shows. I do remember that Walt was fired because of a lack of imagination though from our visit to the Walt Disney Museum in San Francisco. What a wonderful place that was.xK

        • Hey, I was wondering “how on earth did I miss the Walt Disney Museum?” and then I looked it up and saw that it only opened in 2009, five years after we moved away and two years after my most recent visit there. So now I have a fresh excuse to go back! I was super excited to see that it’s part of the restored Presidio. When they first announced they were closing that base, I feared that real estate (arguable the most prime location in San Francisco) would be wasted, but I was thrilled to see how well they were doing with utilizing it for the community. The restorations were just beginning when we left, but we did get to enjoy Crissy Field and some of the earliest museum displays. There are/were some stunning military homes (base housing) on the hills with the most unbelievable views of the Golden Gate bridge. I hope they found a good use for those. Now I can’t wait to go back and see the Disney Museum. Thanks for telling me about it!

          • Welcome. Re: military housing. I believe we drove past those homes. Very gorgeous brick homes on tree lined street? Some I think are used as corporate retreats I think. That whole area is really nice and I imagine pricey. You won’t want to miss the museum on your next trip 😀

            • That sounds like the same homes I remember, with big plate-glass windows to take advantage of that stupendous view. I had heard various things about how they would be used. I like the idea of using them as temporary housing so that no one person gets to hog the wealth! Even when it was military base housing, families would have moved in and out, so many people could enjoy it over the years. It would have been VERY hard to leave a house like that! At one time when some of the housing (not those, but apartments I think) was being converted over, I heard there was a lottery to see who would get to rent them. I don’t know if there was any truth to that. I do think they did a great job with the Presidio and in fact, they are being used as an example for what to do with Fort Monroe, a lovely historic base near our York home that I so hope will be handled well now that it’s closed. I used to love to go to the gym there. Because it was located in an historic building, it was unlike any gym I had ever seen. Beautiful views and hardwood floors and staircases and even a working fireplace in the entrance hall (see the photos here). It felt more like a spa than a gym. That’s the only reason I could stand to go there. 🙂

              • Wowie, That is one nice gym Miss Fancy Pants 😀 It’s more like a fine hotel than a public recreation centre. I like the balcony. How many gyms have a balcony? The patio is really nice too. Gorgeous. It’d be nice to hang out there 3 times a week 😀

                • You can imagine how disappointed I was when it, along with the entire base, was closed. Now there is talk of using that building for a YMCA. I certainly hope they do that or something else useful with it. It seems such a shame for it to be just sitting there.

  5. We are going to Disney this summer. Knowing “Morocco” is there seals the deal that Epcot is on the agenda! Lovely photo and yes, it’s great to do internet traveling. A delight!

    • Thank you! I hope it hasn’t changed too much since those years. They keep “improving” Disney and I don’t always like the changes, but maybe they will leave World Showcase alone. It’s a great place to “visit” many countries in one day! Have a great time on your trip!

  6. There are days when I stop and try and remember how we coped before the internet. It is such a huge source of information on all sorts of things. Sadly I don’t get to travel much (Chris has a real fear if flying) but when I do I find it very stressful. I think its fear of the unknown. In the old days I would buy up travel guides before I went. Nowadays I take to the internet to try and find out as much as I can about an area before I go (usually starting with where the nearest grocery store is!) I hadn’t really thought about checking out images of places I might want to go too.

    • I guess I enjoy travel because I started at a very early age, but even among my siblings, I seem to enjoy it more than my sister or younger brother do. I agree that a lot of anxiety about it is fear of the unknown, because I’ve always felt I MUST read about an area before I go there, even in the days before we could access the information so easily. It’s funny you mentioned grocery stores – Jeff and I always end up going to the local groceries when we travel, partly because we like to picnic and save money while on vacation, and partly because we just find it fun to explore what locals actually eat (vs. what the well-known tourist spots are selling). There’s a great Monoprix in Saint-Germain-Des-Prés, 6ème, in Paris, where you can get hot food as well as groceries, and wonderful pastries. If I get to go back to Paris I will certainly plan to stay near there and shop there at least once. There’s something oddly comfortable about knowing where to find groceries – it does take the strange edge off of a new place! I feel the same about the local libraries.

      • I had to smile. I love foreign grocery stores. Like you, I like to explore what they have. French ones can be great. Strangest experience, though, was in 1997 in Beijing when my father dragged me into a small store then got me to buy loose tea for him. Of course, they didn’t speak English so it was an interesting experience!

        • Beijing is on my “dream of going there someday” list. I had enough problems trying to make myself understood at certain shops in Chinatown, San Francisco (where I’m told many of the residents still speak only Cantonese) so I can’t imagine how I would do in China. How was the tea? To my American tastes, I like all of it, but I am thinking a British consumer might have different standards than I do! A lot of the green tea I drink — probably most of it — comes from China, but even I can tell a difference among different brands, though I’m not sure what influences it. I do find that most of my favorite brands end up being the British ones. 🙂

  7. Susan

    I like to check out the Princess Elizabeth station in Antarctica, especially during my winter, because it is “summer”there, although typically much colder than here, but the sun seems to always be shining, day, or night!

    • Wow, thanks for sharing this info Susan – I don’t remember hearing about that station, but it’s fascinating! And likely to be the closest I’ll get to Antarctica for some time, probably ever. Cindy Knoke’s blog has some beautiful photos from there; what a trip that must have been!

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