It seems a crazy time to be presenting you with travel information, but maybe it’s not. I know I need to dream, and that’s exactly what I did today as I clicked from one travel website to another. Here are three of my absolute favorites – filled my afternoon with exciting visions of what may lie in the future, once we are allowed to move beyond our isolation. Hope you enjoy!!
Quite by accident, I came across a magnificent website, JourneyWoman. I don’t use the word magnificent much but, in this case, I make the exception. I do love to travel, though these days, any plans to go further than my town are naturally on hold. However, wandering around this site was almost as good as the real thing. But be careful – there’s so much to see…you could lose your way! It houses all things “travel” and I do mean ALL things. Easy to navigate, filled with inviting photos and great writing, the site is worth visiting – over and over again!
Still on the same quest, I’m finding all kinds of fun things! Legal Nomads is written by a lawyer, turned foodie, turned world traveler. Super, right! As I read through the site, I immediately connected on several levels – not only does the writer love travel and food, as do I, but we also share a gluten allergy. Both of us have celiac disease which complicates traveling or just plain eating out anywhere!
But that’s not where her focus is…much more lighthearted than talking about diseases. In her own words…“Here, readers will find a community that connects storytellers who want to dig deep into a new country, in-depth food guides to cities around the world, and a long set of resources to help plan and budget for long term travel. From my end, I want the site to remain an inspiration to those who crave a life of travel and exploration, but one that also sets realistic expectations about the sacrifices unconventional choices require.” Another virtual travel experience while we are stuck at home.
Here’s one more for you that I really liked. It’s called The Blonde Abroad. This one is a little “quirk-ier” than the others and maybe more commercial but still lots of fun. Visitors to the site are given the option to choose where the want to travel and then are introduced to their destination with beautiful photography and tips about getting there, what to pack, and so much more. It’s beautiful, fun, upscale, and I left wishing I were the blonde abroad. Take a peek – even if you have no desire to move further than your couch!
Again, I invite you to share your travel dreams, tips, experiences – virtual or otherwise, with all of us. We’d love to hear from you!
Creating a Personal Sanctuary
“Sanctuary”: a place of refuge or safety.
I’ve thought a lot about this word during the past few months.
I’ve been feeling exhausted. Physically, mentally, emotionally exhausted. I’m usually pretty resilient and resourceful. But now it seemed that everywhere I turned there was uncertainty. I know friends and family who thrive in times like these and I envy their natural buoyancy. I’m not of this breed. My ideal environment is predictable, orderly, and secure. And right now that ideal isn’t easily sustained.
That’s when I started to think seriously about the word “sanctuary”. I began to feel that this was exactly what I needed. I ordered and read beautiful books on the subject. I listened to TedTalks. I scoured the internet for information. And I did learn a lot from all of these. They educated me on how to create quiet physical spaces in which I could place objects that would calm me and inspire a peaceful state of mind – things like a candle, a soft pillow, a framed photo of a loved one or meaningful setting, a rosary or other meditation mala, a trinket to evoke a particularly joyous memory. Maybe a white noise machine. (Just listing this collection, I really do feel a sense of peace.)
Yes, a physical sanctuary definitely would help. I’m an early riser so in this beautiful spring/summer weather, I often retreat to a favorite spot in my tiny little garden to journal soon after the sun rises. Here, as a new day begins, surrounded by nature, by birds’ song, by the sunshine dappled upon the trees, I write my thoughts, my feelings, my prayers and my gratitude . It’s a blessing to start my day this way.
But the more I thought about the word, the more I felt that a sanctuary was this and so much more. In my mind, a sanctuary can be (and in my case, is) much more than a visible, physical refuge.
For me, and hopefully for you, too, the family is a sanctuary. The most significant times in my life – joyous or not so much – are ocurred when I’m in the presence of my husband, children, grandchildren, sisters, in-laws, nieces and nephews. I am blessed with a large family and always, when I’m with any or all of them, there, those moments with them are my refuge, my sanctuary.
I feel the same about my friends around whom I always feel loved, accepted and secure. My piano, my gardening, reading and writing, knitting – all are virtual sanctuaries where I feel safe and distracted from that ever-intrusive noise and chaos. Even my dog, Maggie, lifts me up and gives me a sense of well-being.
And, as I was thinking about all this, I realized that there are certain constants in my life that I feel will never change…no matter what may shift in the world around me. Here’s my list…
Ten Things I’m Ever Sure Of
Family love is deepest, widest, and forever.
Life is always worth the risk.
Sitting on a park bench in midday is never wrong.
I can never love too much.
Self-care is critical…never selfish.
It’s never too late to say I’m sorry and truly mean it.
Enjoying the journey, and those we meet along the way, is more important than arriving.
Just as day will always follows night, there will be smiles to follow tears.
Laughter really is good medicine.
I am so richly blessed!
What do you do, where do you go to find peace in our crazy world? What beliefs do you hold that you know will never change? Please share your thoughts with the rest of us.
You Can Color Our CHAOTIC World !
Choose a color on the upper band and you will see a collection of art works in which that color predominates. Upon clicking on them, the name of the artist, the year the painting was made, and the Collection or Museum to which they belong appear.
In One Voice…Finally
The heart wrenching events of these past few weeks – the protests, the brutality, the killings, the basic lack of humanity on so many levels – have left me sometimes in tears, always in pain. It is clear that many Americans join me in this sorrow. Though this is not the first time we have witnessed such atrocities, I believe it is the first time we, as a nation, are truly paying attention.
I believe, too, that this wave of social awareness, thankfully, is part of a larger plan for us. Let’s think about it. Even before Covid-19, we were a country plagued. This affliction was not a physical virus, but rather a mental one – we were plagued by “complacency”. Insidious, far-reaching, exhausting…but easy to ignore. As long as we weren’t impacted, we let it be.
Then came corona and this virus, in a way, leveled the playing field. It didn’t discriminate. We were all impacted. And when it hit, our sluggish, empathic gene kicked into high gear. As we stood in food lines, we began to understand food insecurity. As we lost our paychecks, we understood financial hardship. As our schools closed, we struggled to access education. As our hospitals became overwhelmed, we feared for our health. As we were pushed and shoved by law enforcement, we lost dignity. As we faced an unpredictable future, we understood vulnerability. Even if we were not standing in those food lines, we saw people there who looked just like us.
And sheltering in place, alone or with loved ones, with lots of time and few commitments, we finally took notice. We took to the streets, standing side by side with our brothers and sisters, because now, their pain was also ours. United, our voices are being heard. Determined to bring change, complacent no more, we are a single force against injustice. Ironically, the pandemic, while wreaking its unforgiveable havoc, is ultimately uniting us.
I was educated in Catholic schools up through 12th grade. My elementary school was totally white – not a single person of color among us for the entire eight years I was there. All my classmates, indeed, my entire neighborhood was white Irish, Italian and Norwegian kids that looked like me. I never questioned this lack of diversity. It was my normal.
In high school I met my first African American. Her name was Pearl and she was one of maybe 2-3 girls of color in the entire school of 1000 young females. Pearl was in all my classes. Pearl’s last name began with a “B” – mine with a “D”. So, as was the practice in Catholic schools in those days, we sat in alphabetical order in each class. Pearl and I sat close to each other. For four years, for six hours each school day, she was a stone’s throw away from me. I’m sure we were friendly. I know we spoke. But I didn’t know her.
And I think now that it must have been really difficult for Pearl – as a young teenager – to walk through the doors of our white school each day, a place where she was always different – not because of who she was or anything she had done – but because of the color of her skin. How courageous she was to get up each day and move into this other, very white world! I could not have done it.
Was she was happy at school? Frightened? Lonely? Angry? I’ll never know…I never tried to find out.
So now, here we are. And I am so very sorry for my ignorance and lack of empathy back then. I’m embarrassed that my brothers and sisters have had to continuously fight for the life and rights that we whites have long taken for granted. I am thankful we are now joined in that fight.
The guilty pain I am feeling now when I think of Pearl actually comforts me – a stinging reminder that I am not that person I was back in the ’60s. And I feel such gratitude that my grandchildren are being educated in environments where diversity thrives and the gifts of all are acknowledged and celebrated. Maya Angelou said, “In diversity, there is strength and beauty”. Their world will be much enriched. Their future will be both beautiful and strong,