Being thankful


Where are you spending this Thanksgiving? Is it just a Thursday where you are? Are you sharing a meal with strangers, friends, family or flying solo? Are you taking part in traditions of years past or making your own new ones? What does this third Thursday in November look like for you?

This is our first year on the west coast. The American contingent of the family is celebrating all spread out across the country. There’s a sister with her husband’s family in Connecticut, a brother with his wife’s in Maryland and the parents with friends in New York. Mat and I have been lucky to spend Thanksgiving a few different ways since we met. We’ve been surrounded by family and tradition, been overseas creating new memories, celebrating while traveling and part of a memorable feast for 2000 in the aftermath of a hurricane. Each one has left an imprint on our hearts.

No matter where you’re spending the 26th of November this year, take a minute out of your day to find that sense of gratitude and thanks. Whether you’re hiking a mountain, throwing a football, setting a table, helping a stranger, walking on the sand, sitting at a restaurant, volunteering, traveling, working or remembering – spend a moment being grateful. Keep in mind those who aren’t able to be home for the holidays, those who are struggling, combating an illness, fighting for survival, or keeping the world safe. Take heart in the gifts you have been given and those you give to others. Today and always, I am thankful. Thanks for being a part of my life and our journey. Wherever you are, in whatever you’re choosing this Thursday…we wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving jpg.

Connections, & social media & geography – oh my!

with Katie at Seaport Village, San Diego -

Former student visits the west coast

We’ve now been in San Diego for ten months. We’ve had more random connections in those ten months than in the ten years I lived in Long Beach, NY thirty minutes from the town in which I grew up. Former students popped by when visiting friends. Friends we met traveling passed through on their way from here to there and we met in person. Mat’s high school friend now lives an hour away. Teenage youth group connections rekindled with those passing through for conferences. University friends grabbed coffee together en route to meetings. One of my San Diego yoga teachers grew up a few blocks away from me and went to the same high school. And virtual travel connections became a reality. When shifting gears or geography stations, people who are in your outer circles resurface – maybe it’s to teach you something or maybe it’s only for an afternoon. Life is beautiful and strange. Read the rest of this entry

Celebrating 70 with the United Nations


I think I was a traveler before I ever knew it. Always a ‘people’ person, my former assistant principal called me ‘the energizer bunny’. I love event planning, traveling, adventuring, story-telling, activism, doing and finding ways to make the world better. I often tried to infuse my love for travel in my Global History lessons to ninth graders. Finding a way to turn words on a page into three-dimensional perspectives that worked in their world was a challenge I happily accepted. Whether sharing my own travel tales with students or encouraging them to find their own; it was my hope to show them we’re all part of a much bigger world and we all matter. Working with the United Nations Association of San Diego merged it all. Somehow – travel, worldly ventures, actionable change and a global community sharing a similar mindset invited me in to help plan this massive event. I couldn’t have been happier.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” -Margaret Mead Read the rest of this entry

A date with a seal

About to embark on the SEAL Tour -

Ready for an adventure

Water kid meets amphibious touring vessel. What may sound to my four year old superhero loving nephew like a new addition, in a blue cape, riding a fast moving submarine is little ole me hopping on one of San Diego’s own, Seal Tours. This weekend, Mat and I took the opportunity to try out one of those giant blue contraptions we see riding around town. It’s great when we take advantage of things so often ‘reserved’ for those ‘tourist visits’ or when you’ve entered into a new city. Our adventure showed us a new look at a city we’ve been in for the past ten months. Complete with a captain and first mate, our 90 minute journey on land and sea left a smile on our face and spring in our step for the duration of the day. Have you made ‘a splash on the SEAL’? Read the rest of this entry

Warm in Autumn?

Stacey & Erin - August 2009 -

Camp friends for over 30 years

Got a favourite season? My friend Erin’s is autumn. She loves all things ‘fall’. When I spoke to her this week, she was in the midst of making a batch of raspberry jam. She smiles when talking about colourful leaves, crisp air, time in the garden, jam-making, s’mores by the fire, sweaters and a joy in the change of seasons. I’m glad she has a favourite season, but we already know, autumn has never been a favourite of mine…but this year could see something change and it has nothing to do with the colour of the leaves. Read the rest of this entry

And so it goes…

Safari in East Africa -

On safari in Tanzania, Africa

It’s happening again. Yup, the itch is back, but it’s different this time. Southern California living hasn’t deadened the urge, it’s shifted it, revamped it, rejiggered it yet it’s still very much alive. In speaking with those who are mildly enthused by travel, many reply ‘haven’t you gotten it out of your system, yet’? Seriously? Realistically, it only gets worse! The more lands on which I’ve set foot, the more cultural interactions I’ve had, the more spectacular I’ve been honoured to witness…the list keeps growing as the experiences available are unending. No, it’s not out of my system…it’s what makes my system tick! I want to see the world! Read the rest of this entry

A birthday paddle to remember


Shot with Go Pro - courtesy of Liquid Stand Up Paddle Board, LLC. - the gift of travel

I’ve always loved birthdays. They’re that one special day of the year when people do their best to remember to tell you that you matter to them and that they’re glad you’re in their life. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you even wind up with sparkles or chocolate as part of the day. I remember gymnastics parties, backyard bashes and trying my hand at cupcake making where the best part was licking the icing off of my fingers. Often around Labour Day, my birthday sits smack in the middle of camp ending and school beginning each year. I turned eighteen my first week of university and the few friends I had just made did their best to make it a spectacular event. Last year, this new decade began with a morning yoga class, chips and chocolate cake on the beach and a day spent outside on a Maldivian island. As always for me, experiences are the best gifts. I have always loved birthdays. Read the rest of this entry

How do you ignore ‘the boxes’?


I’m realizing more and more that people put each other in boxes. It happens to the best of us. We’re either the boxer putter inners or those who have been put in the box, but at one point or another, it’s happened. Do you find yourself doing it? Do you find others doing it to you? What do you think of that ‘category’ mentality?

at Soussevlei Dune 45 - the gift of travel Read the rest of this entry

Channeling our inner speed demons


Welcome to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar

The seventh inning stretch at every Padres home game at Petco Park is complete with a Top Gun montage, high fives and thousands of people singing about a danger zone. This is a military city and I’m so thrilled to be a part of it. A few weekends ago, we went to the Navy open house and boarded the Wayne E. Meyer Destroyer for a tour. Sailors and officers lined the deck displaying details of the ship and it’s strategic abilities. It was an incredible experience. Last weekend, it was a visit to the Marine Corps Air Station at Miramar home of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, the place that used to be the home of the Top Gun school. It was our first air show at a military base…impressive doesn’t do it justice. Read the rest of this entry

An evening of artistry with 5,000 pumpkins


Welcome to the rise of the jackolanterns

By now, you know that I’m a fan of summer. Except for Trader Joe’s pumpkin butter, I’ve never been a huge fan of all things fall, spring or winter. Seasonal change and I are not friends, pollen makes me itch and sneeze and don’t even get me started on the cold. But, somehow, this past weekend in San Diego, there was a way to get a fun bit of autumn while keeping my flip flops on and the histamines at bay so I was game. Read the rest of this entry