The farthest I have ever traveled was to Zurich, Switzerland. Unfortunately, it was not planned. Nor was I able to actually see Switzerland. I was traveling to England to see my daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughters. There was a blizzard and my plane was re-routed to Zurich. When I arrived in the airport, it was packed with people sleeping on blankets on the floor. Apparently, my flight was one of many that had to land in Zurich. I was overcome with anxiety. The feeling of helplessness was terrifying. I learned how dependent I am on my husband and family members to help me navigate unknowns. I wanted to call my daughter Katie to let her know I was stranded at Zurich Airport, but there were long lines at the phones. I started to cry. A girl in a shop saw me and left her post to come calm me. She introduced herself as ‘Renata’ and said I reminded her of her mother. She asked me if I was okay. She listened to my situation as I sobbed, and she immediately got someone to cover her work while she escorted me to handicapped assistance. There she spoke to a man in what I think was German. She had him arrange for me to be picked up by a taxi and taken to a hotel. The cab driver dropped me off and I went to the hotel desk. They informed me that they had no empty rooms! More sobbing. The man at the desk said he would call the night manager. I was given a room on the third floor. What I did not know is that Renata called my daughter to reassure her that I was okay. I got three hours of sleep and a driver picked me up to take to to the airport. I made it safely to England, thanks to an angel called Renata. She even called again to see if I arrived safely. Someday I want to really SEE Zurich and maybe I will find Renata to thank her properly. If she really is an angel, she already knows how grateful I am.
I have had lots of time to reflect. The urge to get away to faraway lands is stronger than ever. I remember being asked as a child what I wanted to be when I grew up. I always answered, “an airline stewardess.” I wanted to see the world. My life took another direction and I became a teacher. The traveling I have done has largely been a result of my daughter living in the UK. My son-in-law has arranged trips to France, Italy, Spain and Netherlands. The memories of those places are sealed in my heart.
When I got to see the opera Carmen in Verona, I was awestruck by the sheer majesty of the arena. We were huddled together in the rain as the performers sought shelter, then came out just as the rain stopped. It was a memory I will treasure forever.
Venice was magical and also a bit sad. The ocean is rising and many of the first floor buildings are under water now. Our gondola host shared his experiences having to duck to get under the overhangs. He pointed out apartments that are now submerged.
A trip to France to see the shrine at Lourdes was at the top of my bucket list. I waited with other believers to get into the baths. The water from the natural spring is said to heal. The real healing for me was within, not visible. I noticed that there were people with far greater needs than myself. As dramatic as it sounds, when I got out of the bath, I was immediately dry. I will always be grateful for the emotional transformation that took place in that holy place.
In Spain I walked around Barcelona admiring the Gaudi House, and the beauty of the city. The best way to learn about an area is to walk around and talk to people. We decided to go into a grocery store, buy food for lunch and sit out by a dock to enjoy a meal together.
I visited North Wales recently to see my family. It remains one of my favorite places. I have seen Snowdonia and now want to return to see how many more waterfalls I can find.
I am making a list of places I want to see. Life is just too short, but I plan to make sure I find a way to see some of them.
Buy This Wanderer a Coffee
If you would like to buy me a coffee, I’d be grateful.
Here are some of the best places to take your kids or grandkids to see sea turtles on the island of Kauai:
Poipu Beach — Great for kids because even waders can spot sea turtles hanging in the reef shallows while snorkelers can see them swimming in the clearer depths.
Kuhio Shores — Though a little rocky at the entrance to the water, the bay just east of Kuhio Shores is a favorite sea turtle hang out. Honu visit this spot year round to snack on the plants growing among the rocks.
Kipu Kai Beach — This beautiful crescent-shaped beach boasts clear waters ideal for seeing and swimming near sea turtles. Scenes from the movie The Descendants were filmed here.
Koloa Landing — Straight out in front of Koloa Landing Resort is one of the best places to snorkel with sea turtles in Kauai. Guests can even grab snorkel gear from the resort or get hooked up with a local guide.
There are so many more, so get packing and have a memory-making time!
Always stay at least 10 to 15 feet away from a sea turtle. Do not chase, approach, touch, dance with, high five or ride a turtle. Fines can set you back $100,000. Not worth it — not to mention cruel.
If you would like to move closer to a turtle, float or swim as gently as possible. They are living, breathing creatures that deserve respect and care. Look, do not disturb.
Never attempt to feed a sea turtle — unless of course you are a rock covered in delicious algae.
Avoid loud noises and abrupt movements which will startle these timid guys.
Do not pour water over a beached turtle or try to push it back into the ocean. (You’d be surprised what people attempt!)
Always give a sea turtle a clear path, taking care not to block their access to land or sea.
Avoid following a sea turtle out too far or you could find yourself in dangerous waters.
If you encounter a sea turtle that is stranded, injured or in distress, report it immediately to a lifeguard.
Use a sunscreen that is friendly to marine life and reefs. Today, Hawaii now sells only environmentally sound sunscreen.
When I was a little girl I wanted to be an airline stewardess so I could travel all over the world. As it turned out, I became an elementary teacher with travel limited to summers and books, where I can let my imagination take me away. I’ve had incredible trips to England, France, Spain, Italy, Ireland, Costa Rica, The Netherlands, Canada and Mexico. My husband was stationed in Turkey during his time in the Air Force. He still longs to return. I have a former student in Germany and it’s on my bucket list to surprise her one day. I love learning about cultures and customs. I especially love meeting people who take the time to talk about their life. I have had serendipitous moments like the time that my husband and I were in an airport and saw a former student, or the time we were in a cafe and the waitress overheard me tell my husband that I had never eaten fried green tomatoes. She told the cook and he brought out a platter of them for me to try. In France my husband wanted to surf and the owner of a surf shop loaned him a brand new surfboard for the day. The world is filled with friends I haven’t met yet.
Buy Me a Coffee
If you’d like to Buy Me a Coffee, it is gratefully appreciated.
I did it. I booked a flight to England to visit my granddaughters, daughter and son-in-law. I wrestled with the idea of flying during the pandemic, but felt that with two vaccines and a booster, I am as protected as I can be. The thought of being with family washes over me as I remember the laughter, silly jokes, heart-melting hugs, and general sense of wholeness. I love everything about the life my daughter has made in the UK. There is magic in the way she cooks for her family. Love in every serving. My son-in-law made it a way of life to include belly laughs with the banter that happens the moment he is home from work. My granddaughters share their day at school and everyone settles down for the evening in a very cosy family room.
The flight is my least favorite part of the journey. I try to make the most of it by listening to books on tape or writing in a journal. To truly unplug, I generally prefer not engaging in conversation with strangers. Books and journaling help me pass the hours. I think about places in Wales that I have been shown that literally took my breath away. If fairies exist, surely they live in Wales. The times I have been there have always given me a sense of peace. I so need that. I need to come back home with a renewed hope for happier days. I will have made new memories to hold onto.
It’s been in my head and heart to see new places, explore different cultures, learn about how to do new things. That’s why I spend time admiring posts of scenery from places I long to experience for myself.
Lately my fascination centers around waterfalls. My first encounter was in Costa Rica ten years ago with a group of surfers who managed to get a great travel package that included horseback riding to a waterfall and zip lining through a rainforest. It was an unforgettable and much needed adventure.
Most recently I saw Snowdonia where there are too many waterfalls to count. I sat in the backseat of my son-in-law’s car gaping at the majesty of it all. That is another trip I hold in my heart.
This world is full of magical memory making place waiting to be explored. I’m ready for another adventure.
One of the pleasures of summer is that I usually travel to visit my darling granddaughters in the UK. I established a tradition of buying new shoes for the girls at my favorite shoe store, Clarks. Once they were able to walk, we would go into a city center to get their feet sized properly. The clerk would take a photo and present it to the parents. I extended the shoe buying to include their parents. There is comfort in knowing that I left them with something useful that plants their feet firmly on the land we all love so much. I love the idea of establishing traditions. It’s my hope that the memories will be a source of joy and that they will continue this tradition or make their own. I can’t wait for our next trip to Clarks.
My son took his family to see the area where he attended college. They packed up their camping gear and headed for Humboldt in their newly acquired travel trailer. He told his wife and children about his adventures rowing crew, climbing rocks at Patrick’s Point, and how his path to class was through the forest behind a house he shared with friends. He wanted them to see very tall Redwoods, float on a river, and walk through a tree. The kids learned how wonderful s’mores are after a campfire dinner. To share your most precious memories with your wife and children is a gift they will treasure.
I made them promise to take pictures and come back with stories to tell. The grandmother in me took Kaia (3 years old) aside before they left for their adventure, and gave her a coach’s whistle, telling her to wear it if she goes outside the trailer. I showed her how to blow it hard if she can’t see her mom and dad. I should have known they would have walkie-talkies, and never let the kids out of their sight.
All my life I have wanted to visit Lourdes. I grew up hearing of the healing waters and the little girl who saw a vision of The Virgin Mary. I had the opportunity to travel to see my daughter who lived in England, and my son-in-law treated me to a trip by car to Lourdes., France. It truly was a pilgrimage, as we drove for ages. Just being in The Pyrenees was spectacular. When we arrived we were tired but in awe of the magnificent church built on the site near the miraculous waters. Whatever I planned to receive from going into the holy bath was replaced by an overwhelming need to go in as proxy for my mother who suffered greatly. When I witnessed the people who came with their hopes, their faith and trust that they would be healed, it created in me a deep desire to ask for their healing. For me that was the miracle.
Some might say it is foolish superstition. I respectfully disagree. Go there and see for yourself. You will be changed forever. I was.
I saw the ad for a used golf cart in my Nextdoor app. There were two available, a red and a blue. The owner was storing them in a horse corral. I was saving money for a golf cart (even though I don’t golf) because I live in a small beach town with one main street and gorgeous scenery. As a recent retiree, it seemed to be a good idea. I would be one of many golf cart owners in my little town.
I can’t believe I was able to convince my husband to drive out to a horse ranch to take a look. The owner was a gregarious lady who raises thoroughbreds and uses the golf carts to get around her property. I wanted the red one, but it was out of my budget. The blue one looked like it needed a lot of care, but it was affordable. The owner even delivered it. I couldn’t wait to try it out. It gets plenty of use on weekends and on nice summer days. We have a lot of those.
What joy it brings to take in the often overlooked sights on the way into town. Feeling the air on my face and smelling the salt air while going 22 miles per hour helps me appreciate that I am alive during a pandemic. I realize that a walk would very likely achieve the same results. Yet there was something about saving for a goal, visualizing me riding in it, and then actually finding one.
I know how important it is to slow down. My brain needed to disconnect from the bombardment of negative thoughts that don’t serve me. If a golf cart can remind me to get outdoors, it was worth my small savings. I call it The Bluebird of Happiness.
No matter what looms ahead, if you can eat today, enjoy the sunlight today, mix good cheer with friends today, enjoy it and bless God for it. Do not look back on happiness-or dream of it in the future. You are only sure of today; do not let yourself be cheated out of it. ~Henry Ward Beecher
I joined a Book Circle with colleagues from Cal Poly. We read Demysifying Disability by Emily Ladau. She is a fierce advocate for disability rights. Each member of the book circle took a chapter to explore and present to the group. I had Chapter 4, Ableism and Accessibility. I decided to extract the quotes I…
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