Sometimes…you just have to go outside!

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Who knew San Diego had a cloudy period? We didn’t. One of the three locals we met when we got here mentioned something about May Grey and June Gloom. Figuring, at the time, it didn’t matter as long as it wasn’t snow or cold, we kind of dismissed it. Well, we’re just about on the other side of it now, but, trust me, it definitely does exist. It was still warm and fully outside-able, but it was definitely a time without a lot of sun over the past six or so weeks. She’s back now – don’t worry.

At San Diego Safari Park 2015 - the gift of travel

It was, however, certainly noticeable over the last little while, where even the new to southern Californians emitted words like humid, sinus, headache and funky weather. I don’t think I felt like myself the entire time. Mercury and something about retrograde, June gloom, subliminal messages from the east coast’s allergy season or who knows, but I wasn’t having heaps of fun. We had dramas with our health insurance coverage. My head was pounding. The NY state inspection on my car was set to expire. It took over seventy-two hours of messaging with very kind friends on the other side of the country, conversations with mean people and tears to find a few fabulous people on the other end of the phone who managed to find a way to get us new coverage, the meds and tests we needed and a way to find a smile again. All being truthful, it wasn’t the most smile filled week, yet, perspective is always key…there’s always a way for something to be worse. The news continued to flood with images of heartbreak in South Carolina, savage weather in the Midwest and terrorist action abroad. Reaffirming faith in humanity and goodness in people was necessary. And then…the universe started to speak to me.

Social media was first with two posts constantly reappearing on my Facebook feed. The first was about a dog remaining loyal to his owner even in death, tugging at your heartstrings and showcasing the significance of organ donation. The second was one of the ‘Humans of New York’ posts about a 93-year old woman named Mary. It read: “We spoke for less than two minutes. After I took her photo, she said: ‘If you force yourself to go outside, something wonderful always happens!’ New life motto.” I couldn’t stop thinking about it. And then the sun came out – our test results were negative. A smile began to reappear.

Seriously, was the universe speaking to me?

At Border Field State Park 2015 - the gift of travel

Then, on a walk, I met an inspiring man. Without the use of his left arm or left leg, he was pushing his own wheelchair block after block after block. I smiled and we chatted. Perhaps in his mid-fifties and with a squint in his right eye, he informed me he had had four strokes and was told he’d never walk again or leave the hospital. He did both. He was told he’d spend the rest of his days in a nursing home never able to look after himself. He is doing just that and now works with stroke survivors sharing stories of courage, strength, determination and perseverance. He has since been able to walk upwards of nine miles with a cane prior to getting dizzy or needing the chair. His demeanor and attitude moved me. Still the universe continued to talk to me.

Then there was the grandma. Out for an afternoon with what seemed as if it might be her two daughters and a teenage granddaughter, she looked to be having a great time. After having spent the day gallivanting around the city of San Diego, they stopped for a rest. The two women in their fifties offered to get everyone drinks-they offered water, cosmopolitan, lemonade, soda, margaritas, chocolate milk, and juice…and then came grandma’s response…’can I have a Coors Lite’? When the drink arrived, with her shaky hand she poured, lifted the glass to the teenager, whispered ‘to your health’, leaned back in the sunshine and sipped. Grandma…you are a legend!

Iron Mountain 2015 - the gift of travel

The final message of the day came in the fitting form of a yoga instructor at my first evening class. “Set an intention for your class today”, she suggested. Urging us to latch onto a phrase or term to provide strength or focus, she named a few. “Gratitude. Trust. I am powerful. I am enough.” She didn’t know it, but, she was speaking directly to me. I felt ‘ease, health, happiness and perspective’ run through my mind right before my hands struck the mat for the first downward dog. First it was the internet, then my courageous wandering friend, then there was the grandma and now this? Okay universe…I get it!

People are amazing and can truly do whatever it is they believe. Put your mind to it, be who you are and share encouragement and joy with others. Is this what the universe was telling me? Was the universe just checking in to share a bit of humanity with me? Was it a case of a little nudge to remember to be you, share your spirit with the world, push on, help people, smile through it, the world is filled with good people and to be mindful of just how lucky you are? Was it something else?

I can’t be sure what the meaning was, but the messages were clear. Be proud of who you are. There are things out there that are beyond your control. Realize it and let it go. But the things that are in your control, those are the ones to work on and work with. Not only did the creases of my mouth return to the upturned location they once were, but the week ended with a flood of happiness as more and more Confederate flags were removed from a place of prominence and the US Supreme Court handed down a decision of love and equality. If the universes’ messages of perseverance and positivity, diligence and determination, empowerment, equality and enough weren’t clear before, they couldn’t have been more clear now. Five people eloquently and emphatically declared that the rights of all people are to be protected. What you believe in matters. What you stand for matters.

Go Outside! - the gift of travel

Mary was right. ‘If you force yourself to go outside, something wonderful ALWAYS happens.” Share your smile with the world. Go outside. You matter.

Honor what Justice Kennedy so very recently said…“It is so ordered.”

Let’s go fly a kite

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It was a scene, straight out of the ending of Disney’s Mary Poppins. Somehow I almost expected to see people popping into and out of chalk drawings and chimney sweeps kicking up their heels in front of me on the footpath.

In the early afternoon, on Monday, I met up with a former student. A teenager who participated in SADD, came with me on a field trip to see RENT in NYC and was a musical star in high school was in southern California for a show. The sixteen year old, who sat in my American History classroom over a decade ago, is now fully grown and living a life he loves. What more could a teacher possibly want for her students? Read the rest of this entry

Yoga at sea

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According to BBC, this past Sunday was International Yoga Day in India. “On Sunday, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and more than 35,000 people took part in a mass yoga programme, setting a new Guinness World Record for the largest yoga class at a single venue.” (BBC)

For 35 minutes, yoga was king. Children, leaders and yoga instructors joined the Prime Minister on the streets of Delhi, India to bring the benefits of yoga front and center. The New York Times, says there were Yoga Day demonstrations in many other world cities including: Paris, Beijing, Osaka, Seoul and New York. (NYT)

Scripps Health Yoga at USS Midway 2015 - the gift of travel Read the rest of this entry

Traveler Interview: Always Twirling

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I ‘met’ Peter and Susana of Always Twirling online. In the growing world of travelers and bloggers, they are doing their best to make a go of long term travel and to figure out what works for them. Spurred on by Rolf Pott’s beliefs in Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel, they’re on a search for how to build the best life for themselves, traditional or otherwise. Here they share their story.

peter and susana always twirling

1.When did you get started traveling? We started traveling in 2011 but have recently returned back to our hometown of Toronto for a while as we decide on our future plans and build up some more customers/contacts for my consulting business.

2.What made you decide make the jump to a location independent/travel-based existence? Rolf Pott’s book Vagabonding was the spark that lit the fire of imagining life outside of the confines of “traditional” boundaries. Read the rest of this entry

What now?

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Exploring Border Field State Park

I get that question a lot. Do you? ‘Now that you’re in San Diego, now what?’ ‘Are you staying?’ ‘For how long?’ ‘Are you working?’ ‘Where are you going next?’ “When are you coming home?’ ‘Are you going to Australia?’ ‘What are you doing?’ Oh my!

My mom often told me I was ‘the grass is always greener’ kind of kid, so I thought I was. I was distraught when sleep away camp ended having to sleep alone in my room without the chatter of fellow bunkmates to lure me to sleep. I would go on holidays and then pine for about three weeks when I returned to ‘real life’. One of my friends, who I traveled with often to those beach resort destinations, told me I’d pine less if I got my own apartment. Well, I did (and it was on the beach and everything), and I still despised that return to ‘real life’. Read the rest of this entry

Talking with Dave and Deb of ThePlanetD

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The names Dave and Deb, otherwise known as ThePlanetD, are synonymous with travel blogging. Whether you’re just starting out or have been in the game for years, people are familiar with this power couple. Canadians by birth, they are effectively, global citizens. Their feet have touched the terra firma of all seven continents, and they, like many travelers have left a piece of their hearts in many places. Having found and honed this new direction in their lives, they are role models and provide the gold standard for which many travel bloggers wish to attain. Now, in their seventh year on the road, their digital footprint is massive. As their bio states, “Dave and Deb are well-known travel personality in both online and mainstream media. Their highly acclaimed website, The Planet D, won the 2014 Gold Medal for Best Travel Blog by the Society of American Travel Writers. Dave and Deb founded ThePlanetD in 2008 after cycling the continent of Africa and have traveled to more than 100 countries on all 7 continents.” I am honoured that they’ve shared their story with me and only hope that my reach is one day as vast as theirs.

Headshot of Dave and Deb of The Planet D Read the rest of this entry

One Lovely Blog Award…I’m honoured!

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Although Mercury has been in retrograde and sinus headaches have been playing games amidst the humidity increase in southern California, this past week has been interesting. I went to my first San Diego County fair, got a new writing gig, took on a new event client and was nominated for two blog awards. Funky sinuses, be damned!

one-lovely-blog-2 Read the rest of this entry

An Encounter at the Fair

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San Diego County Fair

Remember that time I stood staring at Princess Kay of the Milky Way as her head was carved out of butter? Well, if you don’t, I do. It was my very first visit to the Minnesota State Fair. According to fairgoers, theirs is the fair to end all fairs so, my second fair; the San Diego County Fair had a lot to live up to. Read the rest of this entry

Interview: Indefinite Adventure (Sam and Zab)

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The community of worldwide travelers grows by leaps and bounds each day. The more I look, the more I find people switching gears and jumping into a travel-centered life, figuring out how to make those dreams into a reality that works for them. Sam and Zab are two of those travelers. While I may have only ‘met’ them in the digital world, I can imagine our actual footprints will cross one day too. Here they share their story and what they believe to be the gifts of travel.

Sam and Zab in Salt Flats Read the rest of this entry

A chat with the founder of the Travel and Adventure Show series

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You may remember earlier in the year, I attended the Travel and Adventure Show in San Diego as part of the media. There I tried my hand at segway riding, perused aisle after aisle of all things travel, and listened as Pauline Frommer discussed the next ‘big’ things in travel. Recently, I got the opportunity to interview the creator of the Travel and Adventure Show series, John Golicz. His trade shows influence well over 130,000 attendees annually and is the largest series of its kind in the United States. Now in its 13th year, the show gives travel enthusiasts the chance to dream, plan, and book trips with inside local information from thousands of experts. John resides in Madison, CT with his wife, Julie, with whom he has three grown children. Perhaps next time the Travel and Adventure Show comes to a city near you, you’ll take opportunity to ‘dream, plan and book’.

JG at the Travel/Adventure Show Read the rest of this entry