No matter the age…live life!


Trail sign at Big Bear Lake -

“(Warren Doyle) This 60-plus hiker has walked the Appalachian Trail 17 times since 1972. Nine of these have been thru-hikes. ‘Your pack weight will be directly proportional to the sum of your fears,’ the minimalist hiker [has] been known to say. Doyle founded the Appalachian Trail Institute to provide AT crash courses to prospective thru-hikers. ” (

The other day I read an article from®. Titled ‘8 Badass Older Hikers’, the words leapt off the screen as they depicted stories of lives lived to the fullest and interesting people enjoying an ever active life. Exuding positivity and purpose, the enthusiasm showcased certainly perpetuates the focus of living life ‘their way’. Some even seem bigger than life.

“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” – Mark Twain

I’d read the article a short time prior to Dad’s visit where he wanted to hike in southern California each day he was there. According to this article, he’s in good company. My 71 year old, pancreatic cancer survivor Dad continues to choose, his way. When I was younger he was a marathoner. Then he became a triathlete. Then he took up cycling. Missing a spleen and other internal organs, he could have chosen to throw up his hands but instead, he cycled on. The stories in the article all have a similar message. It’s the ‘I’m going, whether you like it or not’ attitude. Some may consider it a calling. Some may say it’s a passion. And still others, can’t grasp the idea of seeing life any other way. Their attitudes are contagious and efforts pronounced while their accolades speak for themselves.

Don’t condescend to any of these hikers that age or numbers matter. Take in the miles hiked, the pathways visited, the people met, the experiences had, the nature discovered and the lives touched…..age is truly ONLY a number. These hikers continue to smash any and all stereotypes with each step they take. Now, even more than before, I can’t wait for my next hike!

Adventure planning


the open road -

We’re full steam ahead in the planning stages for our next adventure. No name for the trip or anything yet, but accommodations are booked, national parks have been chosen and the route has officially taken shape. We’re open to suggestions and hoping you’ll come along with us for the ride. Read the rest of this entry

Pastimes and Fans


A few weekends ago, we spent a lot of hours in the car. San Diego to Phoenix, Arizona for Spring Training baseball and then onto Las Vegas, Nevada for the International Rugby Sevens competition. It was a three states in a day type of weekend complete with dust storms, trips to Subway and accents the world over. There was time to play and time to think. There were hours of throng-filled crowds and others of shared silence between a couple in a car. No matter the moment, there was far more than sport.

Spring Training Baseball 2016 -

Yes, there were hours of baseball and rugby, but the soft skills or colour commentary that played out amongst the spectators spoke far more than the chants for their home teams. It all told a story of something much bigger, much greater than a country’s pastime or a people’s favourite sport. Here, in these stadiums, life was being lived. Louder than chants or jeers, there was a spirit that filled the air. People, from all walks of life had driven, bussed, or flown to a spot to spend an afternoon or a few days to purposefully bring out their happy. There was so much unspoken wisdom in those stadium seats and bleachers, so many untold stories that played out on fields and screens – it was a pleasure to be a part of it all. Read the rest of this entry

Firsts and trails in a cross country visit

San Diego's USS Midway -

The USS Midway at San Diego’s Embarcadero

My dad came to visit for a long weekend at the end of February. It was the longest flight he’s taken in over a decade and he managed beautifully. If you didn’t already know, my dad is a pancreatic cancer survivor. Hopefully, his story of surviving and thriving will become a greater reality for more in the future instead of an anomaly.

At Coronado Beach -

Enjoying the sun and sand at Coronado Beach

This visit was the longest time I’ve spent with my dad (without my mom – she doesn’t like to fly) probably, ever. He was in from Thursday to Monday and we followed a path of warp speed the entire time. Hikes, sights, wanders, parks, beaches, new haunts, breweries, stadiums, waterfronts and more – we experienced, challenged, learned, and enjoyed together.

Torrey Pines State Reserve -

Hiking La Jolla’s Torrey Pines State Reserve

Aside from the most important TIME together and the fact that we had a wonderful visit – there were many FIRSTS on this trip. His comment that stuck with me the most is , ‘you’re never too old for firsts’ (it’s one of many that should be emblazoned on a t-shirt). My dad is 71 years young. He lacks a bunch of internal organs, lives with Type 1 Diabetes (from the removal of the pancreas), works out more than many I know half his age and can fall asleep most nights the moment his head hits the pillow. For the past decade, he and my brother have been taking a trip every summer. They’ve gone to many National Parks, explored cities and adventured the country together. He’s enjoying these experiences and continues to treat each 24 hour period as ‘a bonus day’.

Balboa Park, San Diego -

At San Diego’s Balboa Park

This trip, he conquered trails, disavowed jet lag and so much more. The man whose eyes glaze over after half a beer bellied up to a bar at a San Diego craft brewery and not only ordered his own ‘flight’ of craft beer, but finished most of it and found a new beer to add to his arsenal. When we meandered through Balboa Park (San Diego’s Central Park), we stopped to enjoy the melodic tones of a digeridoo. Although his son-in-law is Australian, Dad has never seen or heard a ‘didge’ up close and stated, ‘I may have had to wait 71 years, but I guess you’re never too old for firsts’. I was thrilled for this first (the sounds of the digeridoo) but, most of all, the sentiment! And, the man who is very specific about his likes and dislikes of types of cuisine decided ON HIS OWN that he was ready to try Indian food. I almost fell over. Not only did he try it, he enjoyed it and it might even make it into the lunchtime rotation of Manhattan restaurants.

Royal India, San Diego -

First time eating Indian Food

Every morning he met us ready to greet the day with excitement. He marveled at the mighty Pacific, awed at his up close and personal first sightings at an aircraft carrier, held a fish at a fish market, ogled at La Jolla’s seals, hiked various trails, took in the view atop Cabrillo National Monument, wandered the walkways of Balboa Park, stood on the greens at the renown Torrey Pines Golf Course, followed the roar of the Naval fighter pilots as they zoomed overhead and grabbed a sundowner at Coronado’s famed Hotel del Coronado. Never deterred by jet lag, my 71 year old Dad took the city by storm and left with more than a taste of his daughter’s (for now) chosen city.

at Torrey Pines Lodge/Golf Course -

At the Lodge at Torrey Pines Golf Course

While, of course, I hope Dad comes back for more visits for as long as we choose to stay in San Diego, that to me wasn’t the most significant take away of the weekend. At any age and stage in life, taking a leap is still a big decision. No matter the size, the belief that firsts are not only possible – but; necessary, helpful and intriguing lead to growth in thought and perspective and put the expansion of that comfort zone into the category of exciting instead of frightening. No matter the age, stage or location…here’s to many more ‘firsts’ for us all.

Saturday Fish Market at San Diego's Embarcadero -

Being a ‘local’ at the Embarcadero’s Saturday Fish Market

Interview: Travel with Bender


I met the Benders online. Through connections about Australia, traveling, blogging and world wide adventures, we connected through social media. I’ve followed their adventures and we’ve chatted about favourite spots across the globe. As an educators who spent years in traditional public school, I am constantly thrilled to see children exploring the world, learning by doing and families figuring out education that works for them. This family is sharing their joy of adventure and exploration with the next generation. Erin and Josh traverse the globe with their little ones in tow. Whether you follow their journey or their lead – their story is compelling. Check them out at Travel with Bender.

April2014 Bender Read the rest of this entry

Finding ease


There’s an award that many primary and secondary schools provide students who have 100 percent attendance for their entire school career. It’s a great feeling to win an award, but what does this one show our students for the future? Like so many others, for the first decade of my teaching career, I did my best to never miss a day. I went to work no matter what, traveled on those extra icy and snowy days, paid the extra fees to be back from holidays on time (no matter the jet lag), and like so many others suffered through allergies and sickness while at work. Blame it on the good ethics instilled by my parents, the desire to make a good impression, or enthusiasm and dedication I felt towards my profession – but, like millions of others who felt the same, I showed up.

Slide1 Read the rest of this entry

The changing face of friendship


I was ten when I first went to sleep-away camp. Each day after lunch and dinner there was a songfest. Upbeat and filled with energy songs came after lunch while those with more calm and heartfelt messages came around a fire in the evening. Our stories had lessons and our songs, meaning. It didn’t matter if there were ten of us or two hundred – each night, before breaking from our activity, we ended with a friendship circle. With arms crossed in front of us, holding the hands of the people adjacent to us in the circle – what started with a squeeze from one hand went through us all and ended with a smile. Connections, relationships, kindness, kinship and friendship were of utmost importance then and it’s the same today. The only thing that shifted was all the years in between.

the gift of travel -

At our first beach together…friends meeting up at camp to remember… (photos from our youth remain in our memories and scrapbooks)

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Change of venue


Welcome to San Diego

In geographic terms, my life went from New York, to Massachusetts, and then back to New York via travel and a stint in Melbourne, Australia. As a young child, I had ear infections and respiratory yuck often. In training for my lifeguarding exam, my arms and legs could always go longer and further than my lungs. My university suite mates had to deal with a lot of late night coughing through countless bouts of bronchitis, viral tracheitis, pneumonia and more. My students got used to their teacher constantly having some sort of something including varying degrees of laryngitis or insane sinus pressure from October through April and then the itchy, sneezy, teary attack of allergy season would begin. By twenty-five I was diagnosed with asthma and have been on bucket-loads of meds since. Insert San Diego – this may be the biggest change yet. Read the rest of this entry

Clarity in a cup


Clarity in a cup -

Have you ever had a coffee date that provided much more than the liquid in the cup? A few weeks ago – that happened. The intention of the meet up (aside from a lovely cup of peppermint tea) was to get more information on the world of Chinese medicine and to begin to understand the benefits of acupuncture. The results were far greater. Yes, I got a few names of books to read, the cost of an eval and treatment session, and the knowledge that apparently I should eat more beets – but it was more than that. Read the rest of this entry

What’s on your travel list?


Every other day, there’s another quiz to take, list to click or post to like. Magazines post their 2016 list of places to visit and newspapers tell you exactly what to do with 36 hours in a city. Tour groups share their ‘best’ itineraries while bloggers respond with their favourite top 10 list for a specific spot. We all sit somewhere in the middle either ignoring it all, clicking like and share or retweet with gusto, mad that we can’t figure out how to get to that destination with the cash that’s under our mattress or looking at it all and saying ‘I want to go there, but not like that’!

Maldives Read the rest of this entry