Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘journey’

Have you ever wondered why a midlife woman would choose a photograph of herself in a bathing suit, with windblown hair and a face without makeup to grace the masthead of her blog? Let me tell you why…

I don’t generally go hiking in my bathing suit, but there I was –scrambling up the hill on a dirt path in the rain forest, trying to keep sight of the group ahead of me. We kept climbing up, up.  Every so often, I had to stop and catch my breath. We were almost to the summit of the highest point of the island.

Whitehaven Beach

The vista opened before me and the sudden sight of pure white sand swirled against the aqua blue water of the Coral Sea far below us nearly took my breath away.  The group my husband and I were traveling with, fellow passengers on a two-day sailing and motoring trip through Australia’s WhitsundayIslands, stopped at the overlook and took photos. I wasn’t sure of our next step – did we now have to turn around and return to the catamaran that was waiting for us?  No, our guide started leading us forward – down towards paradise.

Our guide pointed at the area far to our right and told us that is where the sharks and manta rays were to be found.  I looked over and was tempted to head in that direction, but realized the water ahead of us was much closer, and walked forward. My husband was photographing the panorama. Others from our group were spreading along the beach.  I could hear their laughter. 

The air temperature must have been about eighty degrees – warm, but not too hot. The ocean was calm. There wasn’t much of a breeze, but I could sense the mist of salt water on my bare skin, dried by the sun’s rays.  Everything was infused by light, like the world was overexposed. 

I turned slowly around in a circle, a full 360 degrees. From the ocean ahead of me, to the rest of the group in the water and on the beach further to the right of me, I kept turning.  Now I saw the twisted trees, and the steps leading up the hill from which we had come.  Continuing around the circle, I saw rugged pines and rocky coastline, and then back to the brilliant blue water.  The view was spectacular in all directions.

This is photo Cliff took of me at Whitehaven Beach.

I stopped to savor the moment of complete joy.  “Cliff!” I called to my husband, “Take my picture.  This is what happiness looks like.”  He readily complied.

One of the joys of travel is that a journey can last as long as the memory it created.  Back home in Minnesota, I close my eyes and remember the details of my perfect day on WhitsundayIsland.  This is what happiness looks like. Indeed.

Read Full Post »

One year ago today I woke up early and ventured out into the town of Port Douglas. We had flown from the outback to the northeastern coast of Australia the evening before. As I drank my cappuccino in this sidewalk café I reflected on my inner journey, reading “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron and writing in my journal. Luckily Cliff was able to find me so we could eat breakfast and explore the town.

Every mindful journey cultivates new perspectives. The obvious one is how we look at the world around us – taking in the sights, sounds, foods, and so on – gaining a physical and cultural awareness of a place we have not seen or a situation we have not been in before. This is the world we photograph and show to our family and friends when we get back home. 

At the same time, there is a journey within. Getting away from everyday obligations creates a kind of relaxation and true being of self that is sometimes hard to access during days at home with its inherent responsibilities. When we travel, we can free our mind to pay attention to the voice within and reflect on our life.

At dusk that evening we had the lovely Four Mile Beach at Port Douglas nearly to ourselves under a moonlit sky. This is the kind of dreamy scenario that inspires couples who travel together to connect their inner journeys together.

Perhaps this is our best opportunity to discover what we are satisfied with in our life and what we want to change.

 
 

Read Full Post »

The phrase “Australian Saga” reminds me of Colleen McCullough’s 1977 book and the subsequent 1983 mini-series The Thorn Birds which spoke to the young romantic in me. (Anybody else with me here?) Perhaps more than anything else I can point to, this dramatic fictional story brought the Australian Outback to my attention and contributed to my dream to visit the country someday. Last year, along with my husband Cliff, I realized that dream.

Uluru at sunrise – a mesmerizing sight.

The saga I am recounting here, about our travels, includes a visit to the Red Centre of Australia. However my husband and I had a completely different experience in the Outback than what I read about in The Thorn Birds.  We never drove a jeep on long, dusty red roads or visited a sheep ranch. Instead we chose to visit a national park that is endowed in amazing natural beauty and cultural significance.

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is home to both the 2.2 mile long monolith Uluru, previously known as Ayers Rock, and a cluster of huge rock domes known as Kata Tjuta, 22 miles away. It is a World Heritage site – home to the Anangu people, the traditional and current owners of the area. The national park is co-managed by Anangu and the Australian Government. Visitors are welcome within

Living in the moment and experiencing the beautiful intensity of the desert at Kata Tjuta.

certain parameters – some areas of the park are restricted for religious and cultural purposes – but I never felt limited.

In the few days Cliff and I were in the Red Centre, we lived the kind of travel experiences I could only dream of. We took part in the Sounds of Silence dinner – a pricey but very cool experience where we were seated at candlelit tables under the desert skies with people from around the world, eating the food and hearing the didgeridoo music of the outback, under the night sky of the southern hemisphere.

We visited Uluru at sunrise, midday and sunset. The rock is fascinating on so many levels.  Its color changed from rosy sandstone to a ruddy brown to a deep burgundy depending on daylight and perspective. Up close you can see the texture and crevices on the surface that looks smooth from a distance.

We hiked though the rocks at Kata Tjuta on a hot day. We were fortunate to be there during a fertile spring bloom that followed earlier rainfalls.  The contrast of vivid red dirt and lush green foliage with flowering plants in the desert painted an enduring image in my memory. 

 This part of our Australian journey was an intense experience that will live forever in my heart.

Read Full Post »

Sydney Cityscape

I believe in creating wonderful travel experiences – putting yourself in a fortuitous situation and then allowing the magic to happen. That means making the effort of learning about your destination and planning the trip accordingly.

 That is why I was out of my comfort zone when my husband suggested that we go to Australia and make our internal trip arrangements with a local agent once we were there. Since it was difficult to put together our transportation connections and other detailed plans from the USA, I agreed.  We left for Australia with only the airline reservations that got us to Sydney and back home, and hotel reservations for the first two nights in Sydney. That’s it. Lots of people would thrive on that level of spontaneity – Cliff loved the idea, but I admit to being a little uneasy.

 One year ago today we walked into X BaseTravel in Sydney to make travel arrangements for our trip. We had a pretty good idea of what we wanted to do (I did do my advance reading and research after all!) but we needed somebody to help us put it together.  Thank goodness we found Jay. He put together a detailed itinerary for the rest of our trip, which included flights, trains, buses, day tours, accommodations and all our connections. We put ourselves in Jay’s hands, and were rewarded with easy and relaxing travel to awesome destinations. Thanks, Jay!

Read Full Post »

Here I am in front of the busy Circular Quay area of Sydney Harbour on my first day in Australia.

We arrived in Sydney one year ago today.  It was a warm, lush, humid spring day – a contrast to the fall weather we left behind in the USA.

I am not able to sleep on airlines, so it is an understatement to say I was tired. We settled into our hotel room and rested for a while before venturing out to see the city on foot.

Sydney immediately became part of my short list of favorite urban areas. It has fascinating architecture – a juxtaposition of modern and historic – public art, blooming gardens, and peeks of sprawling Sydney Harbour, an inlet of the Pacific Ocean, beyond the buildings. We walked to  the busy waterfront to see our first glimpse of the Sydney Opera House. 

Back in our hotel we booked a tour of the nearby Blue Mountains National Park for the next day. Check back here tomorrow for more.

Read Full Post »

Here is the guy I fell for! This photo shows Cliff on his bike, with our travel trailer, taken in the early 1980s.

I am living in the 1980s, as I remember my past in order to realize my dreams for the future.  I am writing my first travel memoir.

Traveling Together: Cliff and Me and the Motorcycle Make Three is about the journeys I took with my husband which generated stories of love and adventure.  During the past few years I have been composing my account of these stories during writing classes. Now I am putting the chapters together to become my first e-book.

I am well on my way to completing this memoir. My plans are to publish this as a Kindle e-book before I publish the book I have been working on: Realize Your Dreams: An Action Plan for Life Transformation.

Last week I had the great privilege to participate in a writing workshop called Pilgrimages: Mindful Travel Writing & Memoir at Madeline Island School of the Arts, where I worked on this memoir.  It was taught by Catherine Watson, an accomplished travel writer and inspiring instructor and mentor.  I was part of a small group of students who poured our hearts out, writing in a supportive environment. My thanks to all involved. Did a mention that it was a fantastic experience?

The reason I was able to participate in this workshop is because I was the recipient of an Individual Artists Grant, which I would like to acknowledge with gratitude: “This activity is made possible by a grant from the East Central Regional Arts Council with funds generously provided by the McKnight Foundation.”

Read Full Post »

The theme of my blog is “realize your dreams.”  I hope that does not imply that when a specific aspiration is fulfilled that the quest ends, and now we can stop and stay there.  I believe the journey toward our life transformation will always lead us to new places, if we allow ourselves to keep open to the possibilities that are before us.

I recently discovered the blog Aging Abundantly, written by Dorothy Sander. I love her message, and the way she expresses it.  I was especially moved by yesterday’s entry: What Do You Long For?  Read it and take it to heart, as I did.

Read Full Post »