Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Locks of Love

My husband and I recently traveled to Germany and Austria and we arranged our itinerary so that we would be in Salzburg for the last two nights of our vacation to celebrate our anniversary.  It was the perfect place to be at the perfect time.

As we stood on the balcony of our room at the Sacher Hotel overlooking the Salzach River, we could see glistening colors in the sun light.    The walking bridge that connected Salzburg seemed to be lined with confetti that created a blaze of colors reflecting the light.  With our curiosity peaked (and our thirst quenched at the Sacher Bar) we headed toward  the bridge to discover thousands and thousands of pad locks.  All colors, all sizes, dangling in the sun.

All the locks were securely fastened to the chain link fence that lined the bridge. A few had writing on them, as if adding a name would add permanence or maybe more presence.  Some of the locks were old and beginning to rust, but many were brand new.  The colors, sizes and shapes were all different with no pattern to their placement.  Just anonymous Locks of Love left behind to symbolize a time of love.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015


Today as I sat on "hold" with one of our travel partners, a kind voice came on the phone about every 90 seconds to remind me that I am important and that a "Travelista" would be right with me.  As far as I know I had never spoken to a Travelista so I was excited for this new experience.

It turns out "my Travelista" was Doc and everything on his itinerary was full. The experience was not quite what I expected. (I was picturing one of those Fashionista's from the TJ Max commercial) Somehow I couldn't picture Doc with high heels, wearing a beautiful dress and loaded with shopping bags from Max and Marshall's walking arm in arm with 3 other friends.  It just didn't sync for me.

However, being the lover of words that I am, I Googled Travelista to find out if it really is a word, and if it really has a definition.  Turns out it is! And it does!  And quite a few people are using it.  Who knew?

The definition, according to the Urban Dictionary, is: A travelista is like a fashionista--but for travel. The fashionista is always up on the latest fashion trends and always looks top-notch.The travelista is always traveling to some new and exotic locale and is not dissuaded by any world turmoil.  I am beginning to like this!

But surely a Travelista isn't always traveling to an exotic locale.  Doesn't he -or she have to "travel" to the grocery store?  Wouldn't a "real" Travelista have to do all the mundane things that everybody else does in-between the exotic travels?  And Really, couldn't we all be referred to as a Travelista???!!  

I am always traveling to some locale! I am a Travelista!

Monday, July 20, 2015

A Story Teller

One of my favorite childhood vacations was the year that Mom and Dad loaded Me, my three brothers and our luggage into the family station wagon and hit the road to go west.  We drove from Indiana to The Grand Canyon, and on to Albuquerque New Mexico followed by a day trip into Mexico City.  Of course this was long before you needed passports to drive out of Texas, and a time when the Arizona highways housed rattle snake pits at road side gas stations for the enjoyment and/or terror of children and adults.

We still tell the story of Kenneth, my youngest brother, being left at a gas station at the age of 5 somewhere in Missouri.  We recall the little boy from the Indian Reservation who let us take his picture with some old camera the family owned, and then charged us $1.00 for the privilege.  We quit taking pictures of the locals then.

We tell the story of the hot days with snow at night.  Stories of stopping at By-Ways to make sandwiches for the family with purchases from the grocery store in the last town.  We remember stopping at gas stations for bathroom breaks, and never again leaving anyone behind.

We tell of the time we stood by the Canyon on that hot summer day and knew that we were seeing something special.  We knew we were the lucky ones and time stood still as we looked at the amazing creation of Mother Nature.

A famous quote by Ibn Battuta, who traveled the world in the 1300's clarifies how travel affects us. In his words -   "Traveling - It will leave you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller"

I hope I always have a road to travel and a story to tell!  

Sunday, July 19, 2015

This Journey

I began my Journey of Joy Blog almost six years ago as a way to consciously look for Joy. I wrote to remind myself that Life Is Good,  that there is Beauty everywhere if I look for it, and to remind myself that I can make of my day what I want.

So for the past year I have opened my blog page each day - and each day decided I wasn't quite ready to continue. I have often scrolled through the stories, and read again with delight the expression of Joy I wanted to convey.  All the while feeling great anticipation for the writing of this next chapter.

So here I am, July 19, 2015 and I know to the very core of my being that the next chapter is here.  It has begun and I am ready to set out on this wonderful Journey.  It is a Journey I will tell with words and photographs.  A Journey I will tell with laughter and love.  A Journey that I hope many will share with me.  It is a Journey that could only come about at this time and at this place.

I have imagined this story for a year now.  I've thrilled at how all the pieces have fallen into place.  And I smile as I realize that my Journey of Joy has lead to my career as a Travel Agent.

I sit at my computer now a days with a large world map pinned to my wall that I can reach out and touch any time I want.  Australia is right in my line of vision as I look at my monitor.  As I raise my eyes I take in China, Mongolia, and that big yellow chunk that says Russia.  To the right I see Alaska almost touching Russia, then on to Canada and falling south to the US and on to the beautiful Caribbean.  South America is stunning with its countries outlined in a rainbow of colors. My eyes continue right moving on to Africa and I think of that wonderful safari that I am planning for clients. I raise my eyes again and land on that rather small area we casually call Europe - yet it includes so many beautiful countries.  I find I have circled the world right here in my office as I catch sight of the other half of Asia.  And I sit here amazed!  Thrilled!  And filled with Joy!

I have landed on the best career!  I have the delightful privilege of helping  people plan the most amazing vacations - and I am traveling more that ever before!

My next chapter will be filled with stories of Life's Travels  as This Journey leads to new places, new people and new Joy.  I hope you will join me as I weave my stories and capture for all of us a little more joy in this amazing world!

Sunrise in the Smoky Mountains!

Life is Good!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

I Trust Myself

Learning to trust is one of life's lessons that can only come when I am ready.   I keep a piece of paper taped to my computer at home that says "Trust that all is well!  Because it is!"  And even though I read it every day, and I might say that I believe it, putting that trust into action is harder than I want it to be sometimes.

Trusting that all is well means trusting that the decisions and choices I make are the right ones for me.   Always!

Trusting that all is well means that there is nothing to worry about - because all is well.  Always!

Trusting means knowing a peace and calm that may not always be evident.

Trusting carries the responsibility of letting go - which can be hard to do.

But when I trust myself, I feel the power that is me.  I feel the peace and calm that is real, and I feel the free flow as life guides me where I am suppose to go.

With arms wide open and face to the sun I affirm - All is Well -  I Trust Myself.

Life is Good!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Still Counting The Ways

This past week Jim and I celebrated our 40th anniversary.  I think we were both surprised at the calmness surrounding such a "big" number.  We spent the day hiking then pulled into a camp site to grill steaks and potatoes and open a bottle of champagne.  Later we shared a piece of chocolate mouse cake accompanied by a second bottle of champagne and talked about our life together.

The years and effort that go into a relationship of this length are more than we can comprehend standing at this end.  We both agree that we love each other more now than we even knew was possible back then.  And we understand now that we will love each other more tomorrow, more next week, more next month and next year.

We realize now that as we create memories together, as we cultivate this relationship with time spent together, we grow our love for each other.  And growing love is just another way of counting all the ways we love.  And counting the ways we love just gets better and better!

Life Is Good Here!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

21 Breaths

Last year I was privileged to attend a talk by His Holiness, The Dali Lama.  During the lunch break, I was honored to be personally introduced to him and shake his hand and pose with Jenn, Liz and Rudy for a picture.  I have this picture framed in my home, but am often surprised when I notice it again.  It was such an amazing day!  But often our amazing days slip away into weeks, months, years, and eventually a life time, and the amazing part becomes hazy, forgettable, or buried somewhere in the crevices of our lives.

Before his public talk began on that Monday morning, I had purchased a wooden bead bracelet hand made and sold by the Tibetan Monks.  I was intrigued with the simple beauty of it, but primarily purchased it as a reminder so that this day would not become too forgettable.

During the Dali Lama's talk he recommended that we use beads to count our breaths as we meditate.  The goal:  21 breaths without the mind wondering.   And when/if it wonders, come back gently and begin with one again.

I wear this bracelet often as a gentle reminder and I always count my breaths each day as I meditate.  And even though I have not made it to 21 without other thoughts coming to mind, I now look forward to the thoughts that do come.

With 21 breaths I find the thoughts that affirm again and again that life is good.  I find thoughts of love, of inspiration and of creativity.  I find thoughts of beauty in nature, in family and in laughter.  I find thoughts of peace and calm, even when the outside doesn't look that way.  I find thoughts of health and vitality and I feel eager to move, to walk and to hike.  And always, I find thoughts of great expectations for all the good that is mine.

Although my mind continues to conjure these thoughts, and doesn't care to stay focused on breathing for the duration, I will enjoy each day as I count, over and over,  21 Breaths.

Life is Always Good!