The floorboards creaked in their old familiar way, as Delila's grandmother made her way from the kitchen to the living room. Delila sat waiting patiently as she did each Sunday for one of their famous chats over tea and biscuits. However, today's chat would be different then any they had ever had before.
This chat would lead to something that would span the globe and connect people from all over the world through friendship, love, hope and adventure.
Delila's grandmother Anne, was of medium build, with salt and pepper hair that was always tied up in a tight bun that rested at the bottom of her neck. She was sweet and generous, funny and unique, and always up for a good cup of tea.
Delila lived right down the road so she was lucky enough to see her everyday. But Sunday was her favorite day to visit. That was the day when they would sit in her living room and talk about traveling the world.
Gram, as Delila called her, would tell her granddaughter stories of far off lands like India, Egypt and Japan. Delila loved to hear of the amazing customs, breathtaking landscapes and wonderful people that spanned the globe. Gram loved telling these stories, but always looked a little sad at the end of each one.
That was because her experiences with these amazing places were all through books. Not one adventure did she have to call her own. You see Delila's gram had lived in the same house her whole life. 70 years to this point.
She wished everyday that she had the courage to travel the world, but the comfort and safety of home kept her from venturing out. Rather than face the great unknown that travel may bring, she explored the world from her living room.
She lived out treks through the rainforest, trips down the mighty Mississippi River and dives to the Great Barrier Reef through words and pictures. She also wished that aside from seeing the world for herself, that she could share her part of the world with others. "I hope someday you get to see the world, Delila." Gram would say at the end of her stories.
On this specific day Delila had decided she was going to try and make one of her gram's life long dreams come true. She knew she couldn't make her 70 year old grandmother suddenly decide to take a trip around the world, but maybe she could help her share her corner of the world with others.
"Gram, I have an idea." said Delila with a glimmer in her eye.
From her bag she took out a wooden box with some writing paper in it, a pen and a glass bottle. "Gram I know you've always wanted to travel, but that you also have always wanted to share your love for England with others. What do you say we write a letter, and send it around the world?" Delila asked. Gram chuckled. "Aside from it being dreadfully expensive, who would we even send it to?" she replied.
"Anyone...everyone!" exclaimed Delila.
"I just watched a movie the other day where a man was stranded on a desert island.
He put a note in a bottle, threw it in the ocean and a few days later a captain on a boat found it and came to rescue him." Delila explained. "I think you feeled stranded in this house, gram. I think writing a story about this place and sending it out to sea could be just the thing you need to feel that you're connecting with others around the world.
Just like you've always wanted to do." Delila's gram thought for a moment. She looked at her granddaughter with love in her eyes and said, "Thank you Delila for this wonderful idea. I would love to share a story with the world."
With that said, gram wrote of England and its vast culture, delightful landscapes, small quaint towns and wonderful people. The story was then rolled up tight, put in a sturdy glass bottle and sealed with a cork. Delila and her gram, walked to the beach. With all the strength she had, gram embarked on her first trip around the world, as she tossed the bottle into the sea and watched it disappear in the surf.
Delila would often think of that day and how happy her gram had been, thinking that her words could be read by someone on the other side of the world. They often discussed where they thought the story had ended up, never thinking they would ever find out.
Until one day, 50 years later.
Delila was now a grandmother with a beautiful granddaughter of her own. Her name was Charlotte. Delila had shared the story of the glass bottle with her many times, as well as stories of her own travels around the world.
Before gram passed, she made Delila promise that she would travel the world and collect her own stories. Knowing that her gram would always be there in spirit right by her side. Delila and Charlotte also continued the tradition of trying to guess where gram's story had ended up, but today the guessing would come to an end.
They would have the answer that Delila and her gram had been waiting for all these years. "Gramma Delila, guess what?" Charlotte said excitedly as she ran into her house. "I just heard that the museum in town has a new exhibit. It's a collection of glass bottles with stories inside. Some date back 50 years.Do you think your gram's story is in there?" Delila was overjoyed with the possibility that it could be among those stories. She and Charlotte headed right to the museum to see if it could be true.
They entered a large exhibit hall and there they were, 100 glass bottles containing hundreds of stories from around the world. As they looked closer they confirmed what they had already felt in their hearts.
Proudly displayed in front of the first glass bottle was the story written by Delila's gram 50 years ago. They found out that as the story traveled those who found the glass bottle would add their own tale and return it back to the sea.
The first bottle became full, so another bottle was added and taped to the first one. This went on and on for 50 years until the cluster of glass bottle stories turned up on a beach in the UK one year ago.
All the stories were used to create this brilliant exhibit and capture a glimpse of the world in paper and glass. As Delila read the stories, tears filled her eyes. She knew her gram was with her now enjoying every word as much as she was.
She read a story from Greece that talked of turquoise-colored seas and a land rich in history and beauty. She read a story from Abu Dhabi that told of pearl divers who would venture deep into the sea to procure these beautiful natural creations. She read a story from Antarctica written by a field scientist telling of a land covered almost entirely in ice. She read a story from Brazil laiden with dazzling images of waterfalls and green lush rainforests.
The stories went on and on and on.
Connecting people around the world through their personal stories.
At that moment Delila realized that the story her gram had written had traveled further than they could have ever imagined.
Though her gram never left her home in England, her spirit and love for adventure brought countless people together through one glass bottle that traveled the world.
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