When Thom and I left home three months ago I never planned to write about our travels. So even though I took my computer with me, I wanted complete freedom to take the summer off from writing if I didn’t feel I had anything to say or share. But if you’ve been following along then you know that several weeks after leaving home, I challenged myself to write a post that included a few photos and thoughts about our travels up to that point. Ten posts later, we finally wrap up our trip spending both a week in Porto and a week in Lisbon, Portugal. Our time in both locations gave us an opportunity to settle into each city and reflect on our trip. And as usual when our travels draw to a close, we began to look forward to returning to our lives back home. [Read more…]
One of the larger reasons Thom and I enjoy traveling in the summer is to escape the heat of our desert home in Southern California. We call ourselves “weather chasers” because we tend to prefer sunny, but temperate, climates. This summer was no exception and we’ve been very fortunate during our travels. Unfortunately, after leaving the Sintra near the coast of Portugal we headed inland to Tomar. And yes it got hot! Not as hot as back home, but hot enough to make us adjust our plans accordingly. Of course, one thing that is an essential item to take along when taking any adventure is flexibility along the remembrance that we are fortunate to be able to travel in the first place. So yes, we’ve still enjoyed our time in spite of soaring temperatures across Europe this July. [Read more…]
Portugal has been on my short list of travel for several years now. I kept reading about and hearing from others about how many people love it and plan to retire here in the future. Not just those from the U.S. either. It is popular with many expats from other parts of Europe as well. Why? The weather, the ocean, the culture, the people and the food. Obviously we had to check it out. We flew from Rome and landed in Lisbon. There we rented a car and headed south to the region known as the Algarve. Thankfully, after the heat in Rome, the weather was clear and cool. [Read more…]
After spending time on the Amalfi Coast it was time to head inland to visit our good friend Cheryl Morgan. Cheryl fell in love with Italy years ago and it was always her dream to buy a home there and do her version of Under The Tuscan Sun. So about four or five years ago, during one of her visits, she bought a house near a lake southeast of Rome in a little town named Posta Fibreno. Not only did she turn her new home into a lovely retreat, two years ago she bought another house nearby. When we heard she was remodeling it and making it available to guests, we figured it was time for us to visit. And it was just the sanctuary we needed for a few days. [Read more…]
Back when Thom and I were deciding where to go on our European Adventure I knew it was time to visit the east coast of Southern Italy. Like most people, I have seen photos of the Amalfi Coast for as far back as I can remember. What I had never really thought or read about was the coast below the Amalfi Peninsula. Plus when I heard that many Italians choose that area of their country to vacation to (and avoid the crowds of Amalfi) I figured it would be somewhere to explore. Plus, because the Amalfi Coast is so popular, it is less expensive to both stay and eat in locations further south. I found a vacation home that looked great and off we went through mountains and tiny Italian villages to the little town of Maratea. [Read more…]
In 2019 I began a dream of traveling to Spain and Portugal for the first time. I’ve been fortunate to travel to Europe several times in the past but have never journeyed to either of those countries. I did my research, planned my itinerary, made all my plane and train reservations, and carefully selected all the places we would be staying. Then one month before we were set to leave, COVID hit. Fortunately, every single one of my reservations were refunded. Then as 2022 approached my dream began to return—but this time the plan is for an even longer trip. After all, if 2020 taught us nothing else, it was that time is precious and that it is SMART to seize every opportunity to do those things we have always longed to do. [Read more…]
If you are anything like me, you got hooked into watching the TV series Bridgerton Season One during the height of the Pandemic. So, when Season Two came along recently I just had to watch. Even Thom, who is not big on “period pieces” fell victim to its drama. We aren’t finished just yet with the entire season but there is enough going on that it got me thinking about why it is such a compelling story. I’ve also had lots of random thoughts about responsibility and duty as well as my personal desire to encourage everyone to follow their dreams. And lest you think they aren’t connected, let me share with you how I think it causes us to consider those issues in our own lives and hopefully make better choices.
Have you ever heard the saying, “If you aren’t outraged, then you aren’t paying attention?” After all, with all the suffering in the world right now, is the choice to stay calm and centered or happy the right response? How can we stay alert and aware of what’s going on in the Ukraine, with COVID, the climate crisis, rising food prices, etc. etc. and not feel motivated to respond with outraged action? Actually, there is another way. And that way is called the Tao. I was recently given an excellent reminder of that possibility when asked to review the book, The Tao of Inner Peace by Diane Dreher Ph.D. While I’m not exactly a stranger to the Tao, this book offered me clear instruction and insight as to why our inner peace is so very primary. And the more chaotic the circumstances in the world and in our lives, the more we need to access that inner peace. For it is only there that we can ever truly make a difference for ourselves and others. [Read more…]
Last week Thom and I held a discussion group with friends. Our topic was to share any quotes that we felt had influenced our lives in a long-lasting and profound way. It was harder than you think because all of us love quotes and like me, had hundreds to choose from. Then I found it. My quote was one that I read in an old, old newspaper column by Ann Landers (I said it was old, didn’t I?) It meant so much to me I cut it out and saved it all these years. The fact that it was by one of my favorite authors, Ralph Waldo Emerson, made it even more special. But what has occurred to me since then was how it subtly influenced me all these years and how it became a tribute to what I hoped to be when I got older. I wonder how many of us take the time to consider the “messages” we absorbed when we were younger and how they continue to influence our lives. Did we become who we always hoped to be? [Read more…]
Twenty plus years ago I had a very close friend I’ll call Susan. Shortly after we met she invited me to lunch and I came right out and told her that while I knew a lot of people and had quite a few friends, I was really looking for a very close friend. Was she? In agreement, we then spent over five years talking, laughing, and sharing our lives. I felt closer to her than my own sisters. Then? She ghosted me. Of course, it wasn’t an immediate thing. I knew our circumstances had changes—that we had changed. The phone calls got shorter and fewer, and the times together dwindled. Sadly, it ended a slow death, and I never knew exactly why. I mourned that relationship for many years.