2016 Travel Wish List

meLike most people I’m open to any travel opportunity that comes my way but I’ve spent a lot of time trying to refine my travel wish list for 2016 and I’d like to share it with you. In no particular order, here goes:

– Puerto Rico, and more specifically, Mosquito Bay.  My husband and I have bad luck in boats so I’m thinking pontoon, not kayak to make my observations.

– Argentina – I’ve never been to South America.  Maybe this is going to be the year!

– PEI – I’ve wanted to go for years and I’m thinking I need to make it a priority.  Meanwhile I think I need to re-watch Anne of Green Gables.

– Vietnam and Cambodia – This too has been on my list for a while and I’m hoping I can make this one happen!

This is an aggressive travel wish list considering I work full-time but I’m thinking 2 of the trips can be long weekend excursions.  The other two will require me to use my weekends well.  I’ve got lots to do to put my plan into action but I’m looking forward to it.  Happy 2016!!!

Eat, Pray, Love and More!

Incredible India – A Place to Eat, Pray, Love and More

Travel is a funny thing.  It is so personal and every traveler approaches a trip with their own style and set of expectations.  Most of us maintain some form of a travel wish list with lots of new places and things we want to see  in our lifetime but other people are content with a simple travel tradition, going to the same place, at the same time of year, year-after-year.  Occasionally I’ve run into individuals who have no travel dreams or thoughts at all. It’s shocking to think about, isn’t it?  In fact I have an aunt who saw the ocean for the very first time when she was 75 years old and her daughter (my cousin) told me her mom’s response when she saw the Atlantic Ocean and heard a wave for the very first time was, “okay, I’ve seen it so I’m ready to go home.”  My aunt loves the farmland of the Midwest.

For me being able to see the Taj Mahal in my lifetime was near the top of my travel bucket list and oddly as I prepared for my trip and mentioned to friends just how excited I was about going to India, conversations would always leave me a bit worried.  Here are just a few nutshell versions of some of the comments and thoughts shared with me by some of my closest friends.

“I don’t really want to go there. But you go right ahead.”

“Aren’t you scared?  Don’t they have terrible problems with violent crimes against women? Did you see in the news where….?”

“Oh you are going to get so sick!  Don’t eat or drink anything.  Bring your own packaged food.”

“India?  Why?”

So these are the comments worth sharing.  More often than not, many people would simply add a non-feeling “that’s nice,” and quickly change the subject.  So many people I know will talk about Paris until the cows come home but Delhi….not so much.

I have to admit that the odd exchanges frequently left me questioning what I knew in my heart to be true.  I wanted to go to India.  It also left me thinking about how many times the negativity or small-minded remarks of others might have impacted my decision-making about other matters.

To counter the negativity I spent a lot of time watching and re-watching Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and focusing on a comment from Evelyn: “[N]othing can prepare the uninitiated for this riot of noise and color.”  And who in the world doesn’t want to add some color to their life?  Not just color but a riot of color!

I took nearly 2000 photos from my trip.  It seemed that everything I saw while was a picture.  Color, motion, beauty, history, architecture, style, people, poverty, traditions, health, religion, beauty, art, relaxation, education – India was everything and more.  I’m still trying to put into words the amazing experience.  The food was unbelievable, the time spent reflecting and meditating was inspiring and I found a newly formed love and respect for a country and the people of India – eat, pray, love.  The visit was was incredible.  And you can be sure there will be more posts and stories about people, places and things in India but meanwhile, let me share the colors.


Eat Pray Love & more


Peacocks are a native bird and can be seen throughout the country.

India Celebrations

Holi Festival – a celebration of color

Floating flowers

Reflecting with flowers

Prayers, India

At the Ganges – Varanasi


Marigolds bring good luck

Planning for Retirement

It’s not a fun topic but knowing that retirement will be here sooner rather than later, now seemed like a good time to get busy doing some retirement planning.  How could I not want to deal with this topic?  Seriously. Every time I log on to my 401K dashboard I kept getting a red signal indicating I needed to have saved more making me feel incredibly guilty and stressed that I’ve still got a lot to do to prepare for that very important time in life – retirement.  Depressing, isn’t it?   So I decided to make an appointment with a financial planner to get some help.

The initial meeting wasn’t so bad or at least it wasn’t as painful as I expected.  And the person that I’m working with didn’t seem to wince or make faces as I responded to her questions.   That’s promising, right? So now comes some homework, or the hard work – spreadsheets and budget planning.  Yuk.  I’d rather be thinking about my next trip!


Dillard’s Cloisonne Ornaments


Do you collect ornaments?   I have a friend who has at least 75 Christopher Radko glass ornaments and other who collects Margaret Furlong pieces but my ornament collection isn’t made by a well-known label though they are beautiful to me. 

Ten years ago I went to an after Christmas sale at Dillard’s department and discovered their cloisonne ornaments and I’ve been hooked ever since.  Our tree is covered with items that bring back family memories, like the zebra to mark my trip to Africa or the coffee cup (our family drinks a lot of coffee).  Our youngest granddaughter is nicknamed “the bee.”  Imagine how happy we were to find a bee ornament this year!  Each ornament comes in a red velvet box making each purchase a special keepsake.

Each year the Dillard’s cloisonne ornament offerings seems to get smaller.  I hope this is one collection that continues for years to come.

Thanksgiving in Beirut

I’m really looking forward to going to Beirut for the Thanksgiving holiday and I’ve been busy making a list of places I haven’t seen before and planning to doing a little sightseeing while visiting with family over the holiday week.MosqueI read a great article while I was doing a little research on tourism sights and thought others might enjoy it too. Click here to read what you need to know before going to Beirut.  Do you think I could lose 10 pounds in 2 weeks?   What are your plans for the holiday?

I’m Not Too Fond of Fall


As soon as the Labor Day holiday ended, it seemed blog posts were all highlighting fall decorations, recipes and buzzing about the amazing wonders of fall.  In all honesty, I’m just not so fond of fall or colder weather for that matter.   Fall means cold weather, everyone seems to hibernate more, winter comes and things outside turn brown.  These things just don’t appeal to me but I was reading an article and learned about “Hygge.”

I’d never heard the word so I read a bit more.

This Danish word (pronounced “hooga”) loosely translates as “coziness.”  It’s a warm, sociable feeling that comes to the fore in autumn and winter and that, for Danes, is one of the highest states to which humans can aspire.  Wool sweaters (preferably organic), hats with earflaps, blazing log fires, strong ales in old wood-paneled bars and candles galore, even at breakfast, all conjure “hygge.”

This has changed my attitude.  Now I’m going to be focused on creating hygge.   We could all use more coziness.  Wouldn’t you agree?

I’m Going to India!

I’ve had a travel list for a long time and I add to it often.  Greece has always been on my list and this year I was so fortunate to be able to finally get there.   I’ve been saving my travel posts about Greece for when the weather changes and I’m daydreaming about warmer weather.  Given the warm fall we’re having, it may be a while before I get to post!

India has also been on my travel list for quite some time and recently when my vision group met, I was prompted to act to make this trip a reality.  During our group sharing session I was sharing that India has been on my list, I keep daydreaming about it but just don’t ever seem to have enough time and I haven’t been able to get a travel partner to want to make the trip with me.  As I continued sharing my obstacles, one of my friends stopped me mid-sentence saying, “You’ll go on this trip as soon as you buy a ticket.  Just buy your ticket.”   What a revelation.  She was so right.  The more time I spent trying to figure out the best time, the person to travel with and whether to go with a group or not, the more obstacles I was putting in my own path.

So now the ticket has been purchased, one of my vision group members and good friends is joining me and we are planning and studying for our trip.  It’s a big country and there are so many things to see.  I’m so excited.