“Follow Your Heart”
My Grandfathers words that Inspired it all
I fell in love with the art of travel through the stories and escapades of my late grandfather, Douglas Marchant. As a child I remember the faint background music of Mozart, Bach, Chopin serenading the air of my grandparents home. I recall the dry smell of tobacco, wafting in from my grandfathers study, and the clanking ice of a gentleman’s glass as he sipped down his last swig of scotch.
As children, my mother told my two brothers and I that we were not to head to the back of the house where my grandfather kept his most precious finds he gathered throughout his travels. His study was a museum in and of itself. It was a magical place full of history, intrigue, adventure, and culture.
One day, I snuck toward my grandfathers study while my grandmother and mother were not looking. I followed the soft orchestral music, coming from an old record player. Peeking my head around the corner of his study, I remember seeing my Grandfather, dressed in slacks and suspenders and a well pressed white shirt sitting over his dimly lit but elaborate oak desk. Dressed to the nines, He wore his staple Irish cap, a corncob pipe dangling from his lips, and was scanning a journal entry he was submitting to a fishing magazine. He saw me. I guess I didn’t conceal myself too well, my enthusiasm getting the best of me. With warm and magnetic blue eyes, he peered up over his reading glasses. He smiled, told me to come in. That day, my world would change forever.
Feeling as if I was entering some forbidden Kingdom, I slowly snuck out from my hiding spot and bashfully entered. My grandfather leaned back in his desk chair and smiled as I passed things my eyes had never seen before.
As I sat down beside him, my grandfather opened a drawer and pulled out a brass captains spy glass. He handed it over. “ There is so much to see in the world, you can look through it with this, or this”. He pointed to my heart. He told me that everything in his study was just “things”, trinkets, and memories. He encouraged me to follow my heart and to seek out knowledge, to never stop learning, but he never had to say much as I would ramble off a hundred questions about what everything was and where it came from. His response would be a magnetic warm smile and eyes that held the answers but would not give them. I know now that what he held back was for me to discover on my own, just as he did.
And then he showed me something that ill never forget and has stuck with me until this day. on his desk, beside his travel journal, which documented all of his expeditions, he had an old deck of playing cards. He took them out and told me to watch. He held out one card, twirled it in the air, waved it slowly and made it vanish! I lit up with excitement. Then, with the flick of his wrist he made it appear again. He smiled and said, “Would you like to know how it’s done?” I jumped out of my seat, an eager boy as I was, and pleaded yes. “It takes hard work to do anything well. To master it will take your lifetime, but nothing ever substitutes determination and hard work. I will show you and next time I see you I want you to show me how you have progressed. If I see you have been practicing, I will show you something else, but not until then. This is not an easy move but I believe in you.” I promised him I would practice everyday. “You have a big heart Richie, the world is your playground. Just remember as smart as you are that everything I show you must always be practiced and performed from here” He pointed to my heart again. I never stopped following my heart since that day, no matter the hardships, or the setbacks. He taught me that life was hard, but the spirit could endure, and exploring that was the real magic.