Copying My Grandparents’ Travel Photos…40 Years Later!

When I was staying at my grandparents’ house in Cleveland over break, I thought it would be fun to look through their old travel photos. As I flipped through the worn and yellowed pages of the photo albums my grandmother had carefully put together decades ago, I began to notice that many of the photos my grandparents had were uncannily similar to photos I have taken on my own trips — from Buenos Aires to Bangkok, several photos were even taken from the exact same angle. Comparing my grandparents’ photos to mine, it’s amazing to see how all of these famous sights around the world have changed, but also how they’ve stayed the same. (Furthermore, I got a kick out of seeing how striking the differences were in fashion, cars, and cameras back then.)


Some of my grandparents’ photo albums

First of all, I’ll briefly introduce you to my grandparents, Barbara and Philip. My grandma is no longer alive, but my grandpa is currently 88 years old. My grandparents loved traveling and took my mom and her sister on many trips around the world back in the day. After my mom and aunt grew up, my grandparents continued to travel the world together and embarked on cruises from Southeast Asia to South America.


My grandparents at the Taj Mahal in the 1980s

Many of my best memories of time spent with my grandparents are of our travels together. My mom inherited her parents’ love of travel and has continued to do so ever since. She is a member of an international organization that has conferences every two years in different cities around the world. She has taken me with her to these conferences since I was 2 years old, and, until 2006, my grandparents would accompany us on these trips to babysit me while my mom was doing conference things.

Looking back at many of our photos, I realize just how special these times I spent with my grandparents were. From taking me to the Joan Miró Museum in Barcelona, to Edvard Grieg’s house in Norway, to patiently waiting while I fingerpainted at kid’s aquarium in Amsterdam, my grandparents bonded with me in a very special way — something for which I will be forever grateful. Some of the photos in this post include pictures my grandparents took on their own trips, as well as photos they took years later when they went back to the same places on trips with me.


The four of us (and some random lady) in Cape Town, South Africa, July 1998

Anyway, onto the photos. Although the famous Obelisk in Buenos Aires hasn’t changed much in 16 years, the cars definitely have!

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Buenos Aires 1998 vs. 2014

The office of the President looks slightly pinker.

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Next up is La Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires, one of the most important cemeteries in the world, famous for housing the graves of the Duarte Family, including that of Eva Perón.

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I found these photos of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and was surprised at just how alike they are. The top and bottom photos were clearly taken from very similar spots at Sugar Loaf mountain, while the middle photos were taken at Ipanema Beach (you can tell the wavy mosaic walkway is still very much there!)

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Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1998 vs. 2014

Although these next two photos were not taken in the same countries, you can see that even our modes of transportation were identical 😉

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India 1980s vs. Chiang Mai, Thaliand, 2007

Next is the Rialto Bridge in Venice, one of my favorite cities.venice bridge.jpg

And views of St. Mark’s Basilica and the Doge’s Palace.

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This isn’t a scenery photo, but I found in our house a box of postcards my grandma sent my mom over the years from her vacations — this is the postcard that corresponds to the above Venice photos from 1985!

It reads: Hi dear, We’re here — safe and sound. All our connections were on time. Venice is just as we imagined. Utterly charming. We got to our hotel by water taxi! The hotel is old (once a palace) and elegant and very comfortable. We’ve been doing lots of walking, that’s the best way to get around. We went sightseeing on our own yesterday and even got to a glass factory. It sure was good to get into bed last night! (I had a pretty round postcard to send —  and then found the post office won’t take them.) Hope all is well. Love ya! Mom


Here is the Atomium in Brussels, Belgium. Also Manneken Pis, the fountain with the tiny peeing boy statue.


Brussels, Belgium, 1969 vs. 2013

Paris still looks very much the same 44 years later. (But note the old fashioned car in the bottom photo.)


Paris, France, 1969 vs. 2013

I really got a kick out of the next two photos. First is my mom as a kid with her sister next to the fountain in the Tuileries Gardens. Second is my mom years later next to the exact same fountain.

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Onto Versailles…


These two photos below are some of my favorites. Taken in the Hall of Mirrors at the Versailles Palace, first you can see my grandma taking a picture (with a super old school camera) of her, my mom and my aunt, then second is pretty much the exact same photo I took of mom and me over 40 years later.

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Hall of Mirrors, Versailles, 1969 vs. 2013

My grandma and my mom must have been standing in nearly the exact same spot 44 years apart when they took these photos in London — hence the same black wire fence.

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London, England, 1969 vs. 2013

Here is a miniature village in Amsterdam. The first photo is from a trip my grandparents went on with my mom and aunt in 1969, the second photo is from the trip they went on with me and my mom in 2002.

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Amsterdam, Netherlands, 1969 vs. 2013

Seeing the Little Mermaid and the Rosenborg Castle in Copenhagen, Denmark, 1971 vs. 2002.


Copenhagen, Denmark, 1971 vs. 2002

Apparently my grandparents visited composer Edvard Grieg’s house in Bergen, Norway, twice! (7-year-old-me took the second Greig photo, which is why it’s so blurry.)

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Bergen, Norway, 1971 vs. 2002

Bergen’s outdoor marketplace still going strong. (1971 vs. 2002)

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Here is the Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and its 272 steps. (Yes, we climbed up them all. It was painful.) Notice anything missing in my grandma’s 1981 photo? That would be the gigantic 140-foot-tall Lord Murugan statue that was unveiled in January 2006, we visited just six months later. Fun fact: it is the second tallest statue of a Hindu deity in the world.

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Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 1981 vs. 2006

The same statue at the Royal Palace in Bangkok, 1981 vs. 2007.


Bangkok, Thailand, 1981 vs. 2007

And the Forbidden City in Beijing.

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Beijing, China, 1982 vs. 2005

The Great Wall and Shanghai’s Yu Garden, 1982 vs. 2005 & 2010. Although China didn’t change from 2005 to 2010, I certainly did.


Beijing 1982 vs. 2005 and Shanghai 1982 vs. 2010

Forbidden City lions, 1982 vs. 2005.

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The Acropolis, 1974 vs. 2012. Fun fact: look closely at the 2012 photo to see us dripping in sweat — Athens was in the upper 90s that day.

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Athens, Greece, 1974 vs. 2012

The Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge, still popular tourist destinations, 1980 vs. 2015.


Sydney, Australia, 1980 vs. 2015

My grandparents went out to the Great Barrier Reef off of Cairns, Australia, in 1980 and shot this pic of a clam underwater. My mom and I did the same thing in 2015 and I can happily report that the clam is still there. (JK, I know there are probably hundreds of clams.)

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Great Barrier Reef in Cairs, Australia, 1980 vs. 2015

Onto Auckland, New Zealand, and my grandma’s resourceful 1980 version of panorama photos.

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Auckland, New Zealand, 1980 vs. 2015

The Te Puia Maori Cultural Center in Rototua, New Zealand, is still looking very much the same 35 years later. Including its wood carving studio.

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Near identical shots of the geothermal geyser.

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Rotorua, New Zealand, 1980 vs. 2015

Onto my favorite place, Queenstown, New Zealand! It’s nice to see the Skyline gondola still exists, as well as that small round strip of land.

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Queenstown, New Zealand, 1980 vs. 2015

Mountains haven’t moved. Trees haven’t moved.

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Seals still chillaxing on the rocks at Milford Sound, New Zealand. Waterfalls still breathtaking as ever.

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Milford Sound, New Zealand, 1980 vs. 2015

Not only are these photos wonderful memories for me and my family, but I love how they help make the world seem a little smaller. Often when traveling to new countries and continents and when visiting ancient sites, it’s easy to feel tiny and insignificant on the scales of both space and time. But these photos show that many places and destinations around the world are not changing — it’s the people who are changing. It’s comforting to see that much of the world is the same as it was 40 years ago, and probably will be 40 years from now. Looking at these photos, I also feel a new and special connection to my grandma — knowing that we both stood at the same spots and both marveled at the same sights.


My 2015 in Pictures

This year was a pretty big one for me — it was full of traveling, learning more about myself, becoming a better journalist, and so much more! I’ve pulled together some photos that I feel best represent the major and important places, people, events and experiences that impacted me in 2015.

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I kicked off 2015 on New Year’s Day in Orlando, Florida, with Marching Mizzou at the Citrus Bowl. It was such a fun experience to play and perform at a bowl game — and even better that Mizzou won!

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My mom and I spent a few more days in Orlando after Marching Mizzou left. One of the things we did was go on a boat tour of a bog in which we saw several alligators — this is the first of what turned out to be many animal & me photos from this year!


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We celebrated my mom’s birthday at EPCOT, and I also felt the magic at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!


My friends and I celebrated our first college snow day with a spontaneous midnight adventure out to the Quad and Peace Park.


My last semester of freshman year I continued to report and anchor for MUTV 23 News, the campus television station. My friend (and partner in crime) Sarah and I went on many different packages together, including the Earth Day package in which we found ourselves at one point in the middle of a circle of chanting hippies.


My freshman roommate Sydney took me home to her house in St. Louis for a fun weekend and showed me around the town, including the St. Louis Art Museum.

IMG_2207I spent my spring break in New York City and, despite it being freezing cold the entire time we were there, I loved being back in the city. My mom and I saw two Broadway shows (Book of Mormon and Kinky Boots), went out to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, explored the Met, and visited the 9/11 Memorial Museum. One of my best friends from high school goes to Columbia University so I spent a lovely day with her. She showed me around Columbia and took me down to Brooklyn where I checked  something off my bucket list — crossing the Brooklyn Bridge! She also took me to a delicious Korean BBQ restaurant.


A highlight of the New York trip was waking up at 5:30 in the morning and waiting outside in freezing temperatures on the plaza of the Today Show. Since we got there early, we got prime spots right in the front and were even on TV for a few seconds here and there. However, the best part was getting to meet and briefly talk to the anchors Matt Lauer, Carson Daly and Al Roker. They were all so nice and seemed genuinely happy to greet us fans and take pictures.


I moved out of room 606 in Mark Twain Residence Hall after a great year with my roommate and suitemates. I couldn’t have asked for better people to share a room and bathroom with for nine months and it truly felt like we were a little family.

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Sydney and I drove down to visit our friend and suitemate Haley at her house in Harrison, Arkansas. We explored nature and Branson and went on golf cart escapades.


A seemingly minor, but actually quite significant, thing that happened in 2015 was that I purchased a DSLR camera. I’ve gotten more into photography and have learned more about it in my multimedia journalism class. I also went on several photography outings with friends, such as this one with my high school besties 🙂

IMG_2938I was asked to play piano for a local community theater production of the musical Lucky Stiff. What was supposed to be a 3-person combo pit ended up being just me for the entire musical, but I loved it. One thing I had really missed about high school was playing piano for musicals, so I was very excited to be back at it again. The cast and crew of the show were so welcoming and made my two months rehearsing and performing so much fun. I’ll admit it was a lot of time and effort, the music wasn’t easy to learn, and it was hard work being the sole person in the pit for 12 performances, but it was incredibly rewarding and I’d do it again in a heartbeat!

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Definitely the highlight of 2015 for me was the trip my mom and I took to Australia and New Zealand in July. My mom didn’t have a conference this summer so we were able to spend the entire  three weeks doing whatever we wanted. I checked off my 6th continent with an amazing time in Cairns and Sydney, Australia, and my animal-selfie theme continued with koalas and kangaroos.


My first snorkeling experience was in the Great Barrier Reef and it was surreal to see all the colorful coral and marine wildlife up close and personal, especially since my favorite Pixar film is Finding Nemo!


We took a tour of the Sydney Opera House and learned all about the fascinating history of how such an architectural feat came to be, and the initial controversy surrounding it. I was lucky to get to see my first professional opera in the Sydney Opera House — La Traviata.


I fell in love with the magical mountains and blue lakes of Queenstown, New Zealand, and this adventurous-yet-quaint town quickly became my all time favorite place in the world. (And also, this photo is my favorite photo from 2015, even though I didn’t take it — thanks, mom!)


We took a cruise through the fjords of Milford Sound in New Zealand, saw waterfalls, seals resting on rocks, and had wild dolphins swim alongside our boat. We also had a crazy small-world experience when we discovered that a couple on our tour boat was also from Columbia, Missouri, and that the woman was the chair of the Strat Comm department in the J-School!


I had been dreaming about going paragliding for a few years and finally got to do so in Queenstown. It began with a terrifying climb around the side of a mountain peak with only a mere rope to hold on to, but ended being one of the most incredible experiences of my life. Running and jumping off the side of a 5,000 foot mountain and soaring peacefully like a bird above the snowy landscape of New Zealand culminated into 20 minutes I’ll never forget.


We visited the city of Rotorua on New Zealand’s north island and, as you can see, my animal encounters continued. Rotorua is famous for its many geothermal pools and geysers, which unfortunately has led to the entire city reeking of sulfur, a stench that is suddenly and shockingly noticeable when flying in by airplane (but you sort of get used to it after a day or so.) Mom and I went to a traditional Maori center and feasted on lunches that were cooked by the steam from a geothermal hot spring.


Our trip ended in Auckland, New Zealand, the city of boats (Auckland’s boat-ownership ratio is one of the highest in the world!) I loved the cultural diversity of this cosmopolitan city, as well as the gigantic and delicious cinnamon rolls I had for breakfast at the deli next to our hotel.

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My roommate Miranda and I had bought tickets to see Taylor Swift’s 1989 world tour way back in February, so we could barely contain our excitement when the day finally came in late-September. The concert was unbelievable and completely spectacular. From the insane back up dancers to the sets to the costumes to the light-up bracelets everyone was given, it was such a great night. Miranda and I sang along and danced to every single song!


For Halloween 2015 two of my roommates and I and our friend Wendy wanted to do an epic group costume for Deja Vu’s annual Halloween costume contest. After finding inspiration from Pinterest, we decided on going as “The Many Faces of Johnny Depp.” We each picked a famous Johnny Depp character and, as you can see, went all out. Every time I look at this picture, I am still so impressed with us. I was Willy Wonka, Miranda was the Mad Hatter, Haley went as Jack Sparrow, and Wendy was Sweeney Todd. We crushed the costume contest, easily winning first place in the group category and scored $200! Next year will be hard to beat.


Fall semester 2015 at Mizzou was monumental and non-stop with major events and protests. I wrote an entire blog post  about some of the events that transpired and my thoughts and opinions on it all. I was surprised but moved to see that the post was shared by people on Facebook and was viewed thousands of times. I ended up taking several photos from the moments after Tim Wolfe resigned as System President, in part because of an assignment for my J2150 multimedia class. Throughout the semester, despite it being a lot of work and, to be frank, a pain in the butt sometimes, I loved J2150. It pushed me to be my best and improve my journalistic photo, video, and audio storytelling skills. The class also taught me that multimedia is something I want to do with my life. I also took Cross-Cultural journalism this semester, which ended up being incredibly serendipitous with all of the racial protests and journalistic controversies that occurred in November.


Photo credit: my friend Sarah



Several other things worth noting happened in 2015: I got my first real and paying job (and I actually enjoy it!), I continued in my second semester of volunteer tutoring at an elementary school, I applied for my journalism interest area (Convergence Television Reporting), I moved into my first apartment, and I put my teenage years behind me as I entered a new decade of life on my 20th birthday.




Photo credit: my friend Sarah



Writing this post, I feel like so much happened in 2015, especially travel-wise. However, right now it looks like 2016 will be even busier and will be filled with even more travel adventures — the first one being a return to New York City in just a few weeks! Also on the calendar is a trip to Scotland and Iceland this summer, and possibly somewhere else in the States over spring break. It’s safe to say that I am so excited for the year to come and for the new photos and memories I’ll be making! And to everyone in my life — whether it be family, friends, roommates, professors, or that sweet woman at the Mark who always chatted with me in the grill line while she made me cheeseburgers– thanks for making 2015 such a memorable one.