Friday, February 7, 2020

Finding the Path with a Heart

As we age, it becomes apparent that we must create new lives.  Will we change careers, begin retirement, travel, downsize or stay where we are?  What often comes with that are the fears associated with making those choices.  We begin to worry about money, our family, our health, where we should live, should we settle down or roam the world.   

When we were raising our families, those decisions seemed to be made for us - we must keep a job, take care of the children with all of the responsibility that entails.  There was very little free time and what there was usually consisted of weekends or once a year family vacation and then back to the routine.

Now, in our 60s we have to make a conscious choice about what we want in our lives.

Our work is not to make something happen but to learn how to let it reveal itself.  It is that time in our lives when we have the opportunity to allow the soft flowing of events to become clear to us and then follow the path that has the most meaning in our lives.

It can be very easy to remain in our old patterns, letting familiar circumstances drive our daily lives.  If we look more closely, we realize that we are entering a brand-new chapter and are being given a tremendous gift.  The possibility, maybe for the first time, to do something just for ourselves. 

For many of us, as this realization sinks in, we employ the same principles of how to get things done – we take action.  What is really ironic about this concept, is that the harder we try to make anything happen the less likely it is to turn out in a way that is pleasing to us.

If we can learn to let go we will discover things that we never thought possible.

Letting go is much easier said than done.  We are taught our entire lives that we must work and struggle in order to get things accomplished.  That hard work is the only way to achieve the results we desire.  Always trying to control external circumstances is exhausting and in the end never really possible.  We cannot control anything outside of our own self so that is where the work must be done.

That is why so many spiritual teachers advocate practices like Meditation, Mindfulness, Yoga, Prayer and Journaling.  Anything that allows our conscious mind to relax and release resistance will provide benefits in all areas of our lives.  Just like any other skill, we must learn to develop techniques that work for us.  This is not a one-size fits all solution so we must do what feels right for us personally.

It doesn’t matter where you start, you just have to begin.

Like everything else, it is very easy to approach this as something else to manage or control.  Trying to unlearn that is the most difficult thing I will ever do in my life.  Even now, after many years of practicing many aspects of letting go or allowing, I find myself slipping back into my old habits.  It is important for me to do something each day, even for just a few minutes, to reclaim my balance and continue forward. 

What works best for me is to keep it simple and find those things that bring me joy.  Sometimes it is writing in my journal or going for a walk.  Other days it is playing with my grandchildren or planning a trip to some faraway place.  It really doesn’t matter what it is, all that matters is that you find ways to release the anxiety and tension so that you can learn to experience the peace that comes from just being in the world.

With that peace comes an unfolding of events that we never could have planned.  Bringing to us those very things we thought we had to chase after.  It is ultimately more satisfying to have everything we desire come to us in the perfect way and at the perfect time than to try to manipulate or coerce it.

For me, appreciation is a key factor in everything I do.  I am grateful for what I already have in my life and look forward to whatever new surprise is on the horizon.  I always trust that something wonderful is about to happen and my only job is to relax and enjoy it.





Sunday, December 29, 2019

2019 Year in Review


I have had some incredible years of travel but this has been one of the best ever.  I visited places new and old and had some of the most memorable experiences of my life.

January began with a great weekend trip to San Diego, California.  It was a peaceful and easy trip and reminded me how nice it is to just have a short little getaway.



February took me to Florida for my annual warm weather birthday trip.  I loved visiting Deerfield Beach for the 1st time and enjoyed Fort Lauderdale until I broke my ankle.  Time to hobble home and heal before moving on.





 After 2 months in a boot I was ready to be back on the road.  In April, my friends and I took a cruise  to the West Indies.  This was my first time cruising with anyone and on Windstar Cruises.  Both were fantastic!  Everything about this trip was perfect.  The islands (Martinique, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Barbados, and Grenada) were stunning and the cruise was amazing from beginning to end.  






Back home again, it was time to get ready for our big family trip to France in June.  We stayed in a lovely chateau outside of Paris.  Close to the city with beautiful gardens and a pool that the kids loved.  



Later that month took me back to California - this time to San Francisco, one of my favorite cities in the world.  





Then came time for my trip to Amsterdam in August.  I am always happy to go somewhere new but this was one of the most unforgettable experiences of my life.  I had never been to the Netherlands before and was just delighted by it all.  I stayed across the river at the Hilton DoubleTree NDSM Wharf and it was fantastic!  Taking the ferry was wonderful and I loved all the eclectic shops and restaurants.







That trip was incredibly hard to follow but by November I was ready to go again.  This time would take me to Dallas and San Antonio, Texas.  Part work, part pleasure but fun all the same! 



In December, I booked a last minute trip to Florida and the Bahamas.  I'd forgotten about some flight credits that were expiring and had hotel points for my stay, so off I went.  I don't usually travel so close to the holidays but this was a nice getaway to wrap up the year.






What an amazing year of travel it has been.  So many wonderful people and places, all with their special and unique qualities.  Every trip inspires me to take yet another incredible journey!

Happy Travels and Happy New Year!
















Sunday, December 1, 2019

New Adventures

This has been an incredible travel year and an unbelievable decade.  I remember very clearly where I was 10 years ago and the major shift that occurred for me.  2009 - 2019 were fantastic years and opened me up to so many new experiences I would never have believed it.

Both at home and abroad my life has expanded in so many ways and I'm very grateful.  Now, I'm looking forward to the future.  I'm so excited to see what the next 10 years may bring.

Happy Travels!

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

How Travel Has Changed


Still basking in the afterglow of my recent trip to France, it reminds me of how I used to travel.  Rushing from place to place, trying to see and do everything I could possibly squeeze into whatever time I had.  Always thinking, I have to do this now because I will probably never come back again.  With my itinerary overflowing and a dizzying array of stops, I needed a vacation when I returned home. 

It was all very exciting and I had no desire to slow down.  I was also much younger and had enough energy to get me through even the busiest schedule.  Now, all of that has changed.  Slowly, over the years, I found that I wanted to take my time, do a little less and spend more time enjoying my new surroundings.

This trip was a perfect combination of activities and relaxation.  My family rented a lovely home in the countryside just outside of Paris.  Beautiful, peaceful gardens and close proximity to visit the city.  To be able to wake to the sounds of birds chirping and know that the only thing on my agenda was to sit and have coffee in the garden was divine.

Now, as I’m planning my travel, I keep the schedule very light and open.  I plan to have one or two activities that I would like to do but nothing set in stone.  Flexibility is the key; I want to be able to decide what I want to do and not be tied to a strict schedule. 

I also plan my transportation very carefully, allowing extra time for travel delays, recovery of jet lag and any others issues that inevitably arise from travel.  I’ve learned how my body reacts to long, overnight flights and now plan accordingly.  It is so much more pleasant to arrive knowing that I have a couple of days to rest and acclimate to my new environment before I have to move on. 

I love to book a nice, quiet hotel with a restaurant and room service so I don’t even have to leave my room if I’m so inclined.  Usually, after the first day, I’m ready to go out and explore a little.  Walking around where I’m staying always gives me a good sense of the local area and gets me energized for more activities. 

One of my favorite things to do in any area that I’m visiting is to go to the market.  Preferably outdoor, but any nearby shop will do.  Even if it is only to pick up a few light snacks to take back to my room, I love feeling like a local and not a tourist.  The absolute best is when I have a kitchen, which is why renting an apartment or house is fantastic.  I can cook and shop and it makes me feel right at home.  It is a wonderful way to experience a new place.

I do enjoy seeing the sights, just at a different pace.  For me, this type of travel gives me more pleasure and much less stress.  These are the experiences that I remember and enjoy long after the trip has ended. 

What is your travel style?  Have you changed how you travel over the years?  Do you like a full schedule or is it more relaxed?  Share you experiences and join the conversation!

Wishing you Happy Travels,

Lynn

Monday, May 6, 2019

Places to Go and People to Meet

When I look back at photos from my travels I am amazed at what an incredible journey my life has been.  From the simple beginnings on the bus or train to visit family, to planes and ships around the world, it feels like someone else's life.

I cherish and appreciate each and every trip and the fantastic experiences I've had.  Everywhere I go, I am reminded of what a small world it really is and how much we all have in common.  I'm very grateful to have the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people and they are the real reason that I go.


Friday, January 11, 2019

How Low Can I Go – 10 Items for a Weeklong Cruise

I have long been an advocate of packing light.  It has saved me more headaches than I can count.  There have been times when I decided it was necessary to take a little more “just in case” and I always regret it.  Everything from broken wheels and handles to carrying my bags up stairs or over cobblestone streets has taught me that less is more. 

My usual go-to for travel anywhere is a rolling backpack and a tote.

 I can easily fit all that I need in them for my trip, but both are still lightweight enough, that if I must, I can actually pick them up and carry them.  Not checking luggage at the airport and getting on and off trains and buses is so much easier with just the 2 bags.

Now, I’m getting ready for what is called a Barefoot Cruise and need to rethink what packing light really means.  With only 10 – 12 passengers, small cabins and very little space I want to make this as simple as possible.  This will take a little bit of planning, but I love the thought of doing something in such a new and different way, it makes it feel like it’s even more of an adventure.

So here is my packing list - 2 swimsuits, 1 pair of shorts, 1 skirt, 1 dress, 2 t-shirts, underwear, flip flops and hat.  Just looking at that list gives me a bit of anxiety.  Is it reasonable to take so little and still be comfortable?  Aside from a small bag of essential toiletries – shampoo, deodorant and sunscreen what else do I really need?  If I were packing for a regular trip, I would take all the same things just more of them. 

What I will do is plan very carefully, exactly what those 10 items are. 

I will make sure that everything is lightweight and can be washed out by hand if needed.  The t-shirts will serve as swimsuit cover up as well as a nightshirt and it all must match.  When I look at it that way it doesn’t seem so bad, in fact it feels rather freeing. 

I do want to test my theory, so for my next few short trips I will try to pack this way and see how this works.  I will find out if there is anything that I can’t live without before I get out into the middle of the ocean where I won’t have access to anything.

When I was in my 20’s it was nothing for me to throw my swimsuit and a change of clothes into a bag for a quick trip.  But now that I’m in my 60’s my travel style has changed dramatically so this will be very enlightening.

I know this isn’t something that would work for everyone but the fact that it has piqued my interest tells me that I need to try it.  I would much prefer the focus to be on the experience as opposed to the things. 

I’ve been writing about independent travel for many years now and this may be my biggest challenge yet but I’m excited to try it. 

Are you a light traveler or do you like to take whatever you think you will need?  What are the biggest drawbacks of taking too little or too much?  Share your stories and join the conversation!