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

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!