Don’t put it off

It’s easy to forget. In all the excitement of holiday planning and merry making for others it is easy to forget to put your own needs and desires on the agenda.

It’s easy to put it off. With all the demands of being an adult in this world it is easy to wait until things are ‘just right’ to do something extravagant for yourself.

It’s easy to make excuses. There are bills to pay, mortgages to manage, groceries to buy, retirement to save for. Travel can seem too much of a luxury to indulge in so it is sidelined ‘for now’.

However the truth is that travel is the ultimate gift. It is one that continues to give long after the suitcases are returned to storage and the tan has faded. It is both the experience of the trip and the reflection of it for years to come that allow this gift to be savoured for eternity. It is a joyful moment in time that is frozen forever in a happy mind.

I firmly believe that travel enriches our lives one journey at a time. We have but one lifetime and as hard as we try we must acknowledge that conditions are never ‘just right’ to put your dreams into action. So, how about NOW?

If you are in Canada now is a great time to call the Experts at Niche Travel to give this gift to someone you love…including yourself. Put your own needs on the agenda, do something extravagant and indulge. You just might be surprised by what theygrand-palladium-colonial Salt water pool can find for you…

www.nichetravelgroup.com  902-407-4567

 

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The time is now….

I once read a story about a man overcome with sorrow while cleaning the closet after his wife had passed away.  Married for more than 30 years they had two beautiful children and a great life together.  He reflected with fondness on the life they had shared and the gratitude he had for the woman who was his love.  The pang of sorrow he felt sprung from something he discovered in her closet.  There inside a small box he found a beautiful satin nightgown wrapped up in crisp tissue paper.  He knew immediately that it had never been worn.  He understood right away that his beautiful wife had long ago purchased this for a special occasion that never came.  The loss of that moment filled him with a deep sense of regret.  That box represented a tenderness that was at the heart of their marriage.  Their deep love and connection was always present but often tucked away while they focussed on the day to day hustle and bustle of their lives.  Gently unwrapping the nightgown, he wished for one more day with his wife; one day to stop, unwind and enjoy the simple love they shared together.

March 6, 2003

March 6, 2003

This story has remained with me since the day I read it many years ago.  Now married,  I have tried to honour the love that lives at the heart of my relationship with my husband, but I too have stood by as the busy work of the daily shuffle piles up and covers over what is really important to me.  In moments of reflection I look back on times when we were able to get still, and get back to the place where we began…back to the true intimacy that holds us together and makes the life we build together make sense.  The memory that often rises to the surface is one where we laughed and held hands over lunch in Mexico.  Invited to a destination wedding, we snuck away for a week together in the sun and I vividly remember feeling the bills and grocery lists drift away from my mind while digging my toes into the sand and staring at the sea.  Free from to do lists and errands  I was suddenly able to focus on the here and now.  This focus immediately landed on me….what did I want?  What did I need? How did I feel?  Having the freedom to allow these thoughts to come and go without restriction was a gift I gave myself.  A while later my thoughts wandered over to us…..what did we want?  How did we feel? What’s next?  These thoughts were so welcomed in my mind and felt so good to think.  The simple clarity they provided made me smile, then laugh.  I didn’t need to talk to my husband about it, he could see on my face that I was right there him and I could see that he was right there with me.  We had swept things out and there it was.

It is easy to let things get a little dusty, to get busy and distracted and put that special occasion off…just for a little while…just until I get that one thing done…  But the truth is that the time is now.  We don’t get up everyday to get things done.   As children we don’t dream of growing up to be super busy and tired.  The busy work we all get busy doing is meant to be the foundation of our life, not the definition of it.

For me, travel is the arrival.  It is the gift I give myself, the reward I get and the time I deserve to connect with myself and those I love.  Be it a weekend mini break or a tour of Europe, it always gives me what I want.  It is freedom to dust things off and really see what is important…and so often it comes with an incredible view and killer meals.  What’s not to love about that?

 

Emerald Bay

My place in time….

2015-05-29 11.52.34_resizedI remember walking through Venice in a trance.  As my eyes took in the overwhelming beauty of the city my mind reeled with questions of how history and culture had carved out this unimaginable place.  Around every corner the bridges and pathways laid out a labyrinth of intrigue and story.  Each doorway was an invitation to explore the nature of this way of life.  How did this place come to be?  Who envisioned this remarkable water lined community and how am I so lucky to be here?  As I sat alone along a quiet canal, photographing homes that rose straight out of the water, I was struck by an awareness that I too was now part of its history.  My own footsteps had been added to the record of time as Venice and I took each other in.

As I travel I inherit fragments of each place, and take them with me on my path.  Venice inspires in me a sense of awe at what the swell of humanity is capable of.  Lives and footsteps and stories combine through history, each impacting its course, resulting in the very moment that I experience here and now.  As the culmination of time arrives through my senses I accept that my contribution is underway, and smile at the opportunity to make my mark.  I believe that each of us are here to participate in the unfolding of time and the evolution of culture.  As we expose ourselves to the world we open within ourselves new doors of understanding of what it means to be alive.

My arrival in Venice in 1996, was by train.  Railpass in hand, and backpack as companion, I scraped Liras out of my pockets for cheap accommodations and dined on pizza truck delicacies drinking stowed bottles of Italian wine.  The shoe string of my budget could not diminish the deliciousness of the experience but my next voyage will be by sea.  I can hear the flap of the sails as I travel the coastline of Italy; taste the wine and feel the Mediterranean sun on my skin.  From Rome to Venice by way of the water is a dream for me where I will once again find my place in history.

Luxury-Brands-Directory-Windstar-Cruises rome venice map

“Vacation with Europe’s elite along the sun-drenched shores of Croatia, Montenegro, and tiny Capri. Let your imagination soar as you travel through time to discover the magic of Venice, the grandeur of Rome, and the stunning beauty of the Dalmatian Coast. From the Grand Canal to St. Peter’s Square, this is a voyage of superlatives. “-www.windstarcruises.com

Reading Sonia…

As I search for something I can’t quite define I find myself drawn to Sonia Choquette.  There is a beauty and life in her books and I devour them with pure gratitude. As I read I feel as though we are connected, as though she knows me on another level. She has taught me to trust myself and my own inner guidance and I am forever changed.

This letting go is completely counter to the way I was raised. Without discrediting my parents, who are deeply loving and protective, this new way of viewing the universe as a supportive rather than hostile entity is both liberating and unsettling.

Sonia tells me to trust my vibes… To listen to my own inner guidance. But deep down I wonder what my inner guidance has to say? How can I listen?

In order to do that with any success I first need to scrape away layers of conditioned thought and patterns of behaviour. This is easier said than done in a modern world full of distractions and the glossy venere of traditional perspectives. If I wish to peek behind the curtain to find the real me, I’m going to have to let go of some beliefs that I’ve come to rely on, beliefs that ultimately provide me with my comfortable life handcuffs.

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I was lucky enough to meet Sonia Choquette at the “I can do it” workshop in Vancouver last spring. She wore a red and white gingham print skirt straight out of a 1950s kitchen, a bright red sweater and a smile that was indescribably honest. She had all 1,200 of us stand up and shout HA while beating on our chests. After 3 minutes of this she asked us to stop, and feel. I stopped… And felt an amazing rush of energy, joy, abundance, wellness and love. I had tears in my eyes. She paused, drew a breath and then said “Do you feel that? That is your spirit. That’s how your spirit always feels. When you connect with it you connect with this wonderful feeling and you’ll never want to feel anything less.”

Sonia Choquette

Why do we live so far away from this feeling? Why do we look to reason before intuition when seeking guidance? My own acquiescence to ‘walk the beaten path’ has led me to chronic headaches, shingles and a growing dependence on prescription medication. I want more. I want out.

Sonia’s advice is to stop, breathe, beat my chest and resurect my spirit. I’m going to follow her down whichever
rabbit hole she ventures into.

It is a new time for me. I choose wellness. I choose simple and honest and true. I’m on a journey to uncover my own spirit and am willing to let go to do it.

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Destination weddings are good for everyone

I have been to many weddings, most of which were a lot of fun and full of love.  My own was a winterland love fest in Lethbridge in the dead of March.  What we lacked in sunshine and warm weather we made up in revelry and dancing.  I honestly wouldn’t have had it any other way and, ten years later, the marriage has stuck.  However if I was to do it again, and just may (loving nod to my husband), I would seriously consider a destination wedding.

A few years ago I was fortunate enough to have a friend oblige me in my travel lust by getting married in Mexico and while it may well be true that she chose a destination wedding for her own love of sunshine and good times, I felt like a winner none the less.  It all started with some margaritas at the airport with friends who were also attending the wedding.  We had parked all our children and pets with caring loved ones for the week and could let our hair down from day one.  Boarding the friendly West Jet flight that took us towards the sun we were greeted by none other than the bride and groom, and while I can’t be certain, I think they enjoyed our overly boisterous excitement of their impending nuptials.

The week at the stunning Grand Palladium Vallarta was spend visiting with friends, lounging on the beautiful beach, dining on delicious food, partaking of free surfing lessons, drinking frosty beverages from one of many great bars, and swimming in one of the lovely pools.  The ceremony took place on a patio overlooking the ocean and the reception was right on the beach.  It was perfect in every way.

The ceremony.

The sunlit ceremony overlooking the ocean

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Another one? In the pool? Well maybe just one more…

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The view from our room

It was a reunion, a party, a vacation and a wedding all rolled into one sun drenched good time.  I would recommend to all you will be brides out there to think about booking yourself in for a whole week of love rather than just one day.  Your guests will love you for it!

IMG_4398

We might just have to do it again.

To book your destination wedding I would highly recommend calling Faith at Dartmouth Travel.  (902) 407-4567  She has booked hundreds of happy couples into stunning beach resorts and can help you make your trip a dream come true.  I would also recommend the Grand Palladium Vallarta as your wedding venue.  They went above and beyond!

https://www.facebook.com/DartmouthTravel

http://www.palladiumhotelgroup.com/en/riviera-nayarit/palladium-vallarta-resort-spa/

Where there’s a will, there’s a way to Bora Bora

Over the years many people have asked me how I managed to visit 25 countries before I turned 30.  As travel was just part of my life plan it was a question I was never really sure how to answer, until now.  The simple answer is that I did it because I wanted to.

When I was little I used to stare into the sky looking for planes, wondering where the people inside were going.  At 19 my mom took me overseas for the first time.  We arrived in Paris, travelled through the fantastic labyrinth of trains in the Metro, stepped out onto bustling St. Michelle and I knew that I was hooked.  The people looked different, the buildings were beautiful, the food was fantastically strange and the new pulse of life gave me a feeling I’ve been chasing ever since.  I love the thrill of laying my eyes on something I’ve never seen before, eating food I’ve never tasted before, and meeting people I’ve never known before.  Yes, it’s unnerving and at times uncomfortable to leave home, but it’s always worth it.  To me my twenties could be spent no other way than seeing as much of the world as possible.

There are trade offs to every decision though, and there were a great number of years when I would long for a sock drawer.  Digging through a dirty old back pack for that last pair of clean socks can wear you down on a down day.  The simplicity of staying put would become incredibly enticing and the urge to pack it up and go ‘home’ would appear.  But life is full of urges, as the inevitable ebb and flow of life pulls us along.  It is the choices and the sacrifices we make to build the lives we want that really define us.

When people ask how I travelled so much, I tell them they too can get on a plane and go; it’s nothing more than a decision to make it happen.  Airlines don’t discriminate as long as you can pay, and even the most modest budget can find a small allowance for a travel fund.  If it takes you ten years to save up for that trip I say start NOW.  Saving $50 a month will add up to $1,800 in 3 years.  This will get you anywhere on earth you want to go and pay for at least some of your hotel too.  You can stay in $20 shacks on the beach in Thailand and have just as much fun as the folks in the $200 a night resort, I promise you that.  Or, save up for one more year then blow it out at the Ritz…it’s up to you.

To me, the bucket list includes a stay at one of the world’s most luxurious hotels….Le Moana Bora Bora.  It remains out of my current travel budget but I know that with a little sacrifice, and a few years of squirreling away dollars I would have otherwise spent on coffees and going out to movies, this dream will become reality.

Are you kidding me? la moana

So ask yourself where you really want to go, figure out what you’ll need to do to make it happen, then do it.  At the end of your days you’ll have a much better time remembering the things you did do than the things you didn’t.

http://www.ihg.com/intercontinental/hotels/gb/en/bora-bora/bobpf/hoteldetail

https://www.facebook.com/DartmouthTravel?ref=hl  -Call Faith at Dartmouth Travel – she’ll save you time and money!

Take a break without losing momentum (and save $367)

We all know that a white sand beach vacation is the perfect way to let loose.  We say good-bye to hectic work weeks and busy schedules, stop cooking and cleaning or studying and stressing and we metaphorically massage our own tired backs….ahhh it’s glorious.  The best way to indulge in this type of decadence and relaxation is to book yourself a trip to an all-inclusive resort.  It’s a gift we Canadians give ourselves after months of scraping ice off our windshields and searching the closet for the endless accoutrements of cold weather apparel.  We board a plane, flip-flops and sunglasses neatly packed in our suitcases, and let go!

For many, the endless trips to the swim up bar and buffet can be the greatest thing on earth but a nightmare for the waistline.  Coming home with a camera full of pictures, a great tan and ten extra pounds can be bittersweet.  For those who want to enjoy a beach holiday without losing work out momentum there is a trip designed for you.

http://www.palladiumhotelgroup.com/en/riviera-maya/grand-palladium-colonial-resort-spa/ grand-palladium-colonial Salt water pool

Faith Sproule at Dartmouth travel has partnered with Beach Body Coach Danielle Melanson to offer a week of relaxation and fitness at the stunning Grand Palladium Colonial resort Mexico.  This beautiful 5 star Resort and Spa is one of the top spots on the Mayan Riviera.

  • 252 Standard Rooms, 132 Junior Suites, 24 Mayan Suites and 6 Suites
  • 9 A la carte theme restaurants with a great selection of cuisines
  • 5 Buffet-style restaurants and other open-air services
  • 25 Bars located around the complex
  • 8 Freshwater pools and 1 Seawater pool
  • First-class Spa & Wellness Center
  • Sunset Boulevard Discotheque for adults
  • Baby Club for children 1-3 years old, Mini Club “El Ranchito” for kids 4-12 years old and Black & White Junior’s Club for teenagers (13-19 years old).

Danielle Melanson will escort the group and offer two free optional “Beach Body” classes per day.  She has had her own personal weight loss and fitness transformation and would like to help you on your path.

“In September 2006 I became a non-smoker! I had quit smoking for my health but became depressed and was gaining weight on a daily basis. Four months later I had had enough and decided something had to be done.

Then my sisters told me about Turbo Jam DVD’s and I was hooked instantly! I found my ‘soul mate workout’! With proper eating habits and daily workouts the weight began to fall off.  I took things one step further and became a Certified Personal Trainer in September 2010. I have been working as a trainer ever since and am now also an official “Beach Body” Coach. I hear of pills and “quick diet” weight loss programs, but the only true method of getting healthy is clean eating and daily activity! It truly works.

I am able to help people every day become healthy, get fit, and lose weight with the tools that started me on my fitness journey years ago. I am so grateful for this opportunity . I love my job!!”   – Danielle Melanson

If you’ve always wanted to treat yourself to an all-inclusive luxury vacation this is the time to do it.  Faith has arranged an incredible deal and partnered with an energetic Personal Trainer to accompany the group.  You will return from this one feeling extremely well…..mind, body and spirit.

Trip Details:

April 27 to May 4, 2014

Grand Palladium Colonial    http://www.palladiumhotelgroup.com/en/riviera-maya/grand-palladium-colonial-resort-spa/

$1,295 per person taxes included!

(That’s a $367 discount per person if booked and paid for by October 31st.)

To book, call Faith at Dartmouth Travel at 902-407-4567  .  She is extremely knowledgeable and friendly and loves travel as much as I do.  She wants you to see the world and will do all she can to ensure you’re trip is all you’d hoped for.

https://www.facebook.com/DartmouthTravel?ref=hl

http://www.teambeachbody.com/home