An Australian woman has been traveling the world with a life sized cardboard cutout of her husband since 2017 and it’s not a weird as you would initially think.
Michelle and Paul Bourke, of Melbourne, had been married for about 20 years when he was diagnosed with a rare type of melanoma. He battled the disease for several years, but was eventually deemed terminal.
In May 2016, it’s said that:
…Paul was deteriorating, the melanoma cancer had taken over his body and conversations of the future were discussed. Paul had asked Michelle what she would do when he was gone and Michelle promised Paul that she would travel to all their favourite destinations as they had planned.
Michelle explained to Paul that she would get a life-size cardboard cut-out, pack him in her suitcase and take him out and take photos together at all the famous landmarks.
Paul laughed and said, ‘You’re not really going to do that, are you?’
Michelle said, ‘Yes, I promise I will.’
Tragically, Paul died not long after their 25th wedding anniversary, and after a year or so, Michelle felt ready to honor the promise she had made to her late husband. She found a company that made cut outs of celebrities and had them make one of Paul, using a picture from their wedding day.
Her first trip was a 9-week tour. She started in the United States, where she took “Cardboard Paul” to a Paul McCartney concert in New Jersey, and then continued on to New York, Houston, Las Vegas, California, Austin and Dallas. This was followed by visits to the U.K. and France.
They went to Thailand last year and have plans to go back to Europe next year.
Of Cardboard Paul, she says, “He easily folds flat and can fit into my suitcase, or into the bag to put in overhead lockers.” And as for the “real” Paul: “I know he is with me in my memories and my heart even if not in person.”
Michelle says her original Cardboard Paul has gotten quite a bit of wear and tear over time, so she plans to make another one of him, this time in his 50s.
Michelle has written a book about her experiences, called #Travelling With Cardboard Paul, which is available on Kindle and as a paperback on Amazon.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary