Daufuskie Island, South Carolina

A gullah cabin

A Gullah Cabin
Sea Island, South Carolina

When we attended my Aunt Margaret’s memorial in December, my family planned to release her ashes into the Atlantic Ocean at her request. They decide that the summertime, around her birthday would be ideal. I had no intentions of attending. I thought I would be in France, helping another friend with her newborn and other children. Things didn’t work out the way that I imagined and I am glad.

When I arrived in South Carolina, adjusting to life on an island was quite a mental exercise. I had just come from big cities, being on my own, hanging with friends to being with family for a somber occasion. I was not sure the state of everyone’s emotions. I was not ready to sit around and cry. I wanted to explore and discover the island. Fortunately for me, so did many other family members.

We learned that the most recent history of the island was that of a resort. The developers attempted to turn the place into a golf camp for young people. Something in their plans went seriously wrong. One ended up in jail, another committed suicide and another fled the country. There were big event centers on the island that were just closed and everything was left on the table as if the staff where coming back again the next day to prepare for a big dinner. It was the perfect place for ghost story.

In fact, the whole island was like stepping back into time. Daufuskie Island first gained some popularity many years ago after Pat Conroy wrote The Water Is Wide. He wrote about a place that was cut off from the other parts of the world. Anyone seeking to go into or come off of the island needed to access it by boat. Like much of the south, the people of color were disadvantaged and answered to the ruling class. He poured his heart into helping the children of the island to gain some education about the simplest things. They could barely read, write or do math. They could barely speak good English. Their parents were superstitious. The world outside would eat them alive.

A farmer's market on daufuskie

A Farmer’s Market on Daufuskie

As we went around the island, I had not yet read the book. However, my brother and I had a few discusssions about what we felt was truth versus what we were told by others. I felt a little uncomfortable during my entire stay, (some of that was because I was watching Underground every night). As I travel, there is always an awareness that in order for big resorts to be built, someone needs to have given up their land in order for it to happen. In the back of my mind, I am always thinking “was it voluntary?” Sometimes it is, and sometimes, it isn’t. There is a lot of information available about the Gullah people who inhabited the sea islands of South Carolina. Looking around me at the “progress” of Daufuskie Island, I hope that they don’t make so much progress that they become extinct.

Overall, we made new memories with our family. Aunt Margaret’s send off was a success and touching. We swayed to Stevie Wonder singing “All I Do” as we released her to be free and fly. The dolphins came around and swam alongside our boat. In the evening we toasted marshmallows, looked for nesting turtles and played campfire games.

History has its time and place. Our story is being lived here and now. Let’s make great ones with the people who are around us.

Making it in New York City

One World Trade Center NYC

One World Trade Center
NYC

I have been to NYC many times in the last few years. My first trip to New York City happened years ago and I was visiting with people from New Jersey. They did not like the city. They could see it from their backyard and were not impressed. Begrudgingly, they took me around and showed me a few things they could tolerate to visit whenever they happened to be in the area. After that, I decided that I would never visit anywhere with someone who did not want to be there. Slowly, with every trip I have made to New York City, my experiences have expanded and improved. I am finding that I am falling in love with the city that never sleeps.

Bean and I are able to follow our schedule when we visit. We get up in the morning and meet a friend, or explore the city on our own, depending on the nature of our trip. There is so much to see and do, we have a wide variety of options. I still like going running every morning.

The last time we were there together, I went running in Prospect Park in Brooklyn. I was having a great time. Enjoying watching people fall behind me, seeing the diversity of runners, feeling the breeze on my face and the smoothness of the asphalt beneath my feet. I decided that I did not want to go back on the same path on which I entered the park. I took a path that was not far and seemed to curve back in the same direction. I ran and ran. I took a detour through the woods. I ran some more. I looked around and everything looked pretty much the same as it did before, but why was I not back at the entrance. I ran a little further. I passed a girl riding a horse through the woods. I saw a man talking on his phone in Spanish. I really wanted to ask him where was the exit. I started walking along the path that I thought I came in on, and everyone was really into their workout. I couldn’t interrupt them. It was a beautiful sunny morning, so I decided to just enjoy my time in nature. I started walking in the direction that I thought was the exit. Finally, I saw a mom running with her two kids in a jogging stroller. I asked, “How can I get out of here?” She told me stay on the path and turn here and then turn there and walk this way and I would be out.

Coney Island

Coney Island

I started off in the direction she mentioned, and I must have done something wrong. I have been to the park many times, once for the farmers market, another time just to walk around a little. I had no idea how big the park was when I took off for a run. I finally made my way out and found myself on the far southern end of the park. I had no idea how close I was to the hotel. I spent another 20 minutes walking back to the entrance with which I was familiar. I had to laugh at myself. I got so caught up in the moment and enjoying myself in New York City, that I got lost in the park. It wasn’t the first time it happened and I am sure it will not be the last, but for someone who has a good sense of direction, it is always a surprise.

Another thing I enjoy to do in The City is go on walking tours. Actually, in any city, I like to take a tour either by bus or foot to get a feel of the place. New York City being as big as it is, I often don’t feel like I will ever know it well. I also never know when I am going back, so I try to do as much as I can when I am there and spend some time getting to know the place better. I have a friend who is a tour guide there and he has shown me some very interesting places like the African National Burial Ground.
This time I did a FreeToursByFoot to Harlem and their six hour Manhattan tour. I am writing about them because I enjoy the tours. I find tour guides fascinating because of their knowledge of a place. I asked these guys if they had other jobs and they said no because both of their tours are special. The Harlem tour, no one else wanted to do it. The six hour walking tour, no one wanted that either! Maybe when I grow up, I will become a tour guide!

After my tours were finished, I spent some time walking around on my own. I saw a sign for dancing in Marcus Garvey Park. I took dancing lessons last year before I left Chicago and loved it. I decided to try it and LOVED it! We did the Argentinian Tango. I have never tangoed before. As with all of my previous dance lessons, I make sure to apologize to my partner beforehand for all of the times I will be stepping on his toes. They are very understanding. By the end of the session, I was whirling around the floor like someone who knew what she was doing! That gives me hope for my future as a dancer.

I went back to Marcus Garvey Park for The Classical Theatre of Harlem’s production of The Three Musketeers. It was amazing. The costumes, the dialogue, the music, dance and just the whole production was truly a delight. I wish I had more time in New York City, I would have seen this play at least once a week. I think New Yorkers are definitely spoiled because they get these types of performances so often that they don’t come out in big numbers to see them. I think tourist are just too timid to find diamonds like these. They don’t know what they are missing.

I have tried to only share a few things about this great city, but as I am writing, there is just so much more to share. New York is truly a place that doesn’t sleep and there is always something exciting and interesting to do. I feel that if people are sitting around lonely and sad in a city like this, it can only be to the lack of imagination. I look forward to visiting again and again, getting to know this place better. Why not? People already think I live there.

Have you ever been to NYC? What was your greatest experience? What do you plan to do the next time?

My Favorite Things- Paris, France

The Eiffel Tower paris france

Bean and the Eiffel Tower

Whenever I am in France, I feel like I am home. I know I have said that before, and it is truly the way that I feel. I thought it was anywhere in France, but as I have discovered, it is really Paris. I hate to be cliché, but there IS something special about Paris that I just can’t explain.

For me, it happened the first time that I traveled abroad. My first overseas destination was Paris. I had no idea what to expect. I walked off the plane and for the first time in my life truly felt chez moi. Every time I am home, here are a few things that I love to experience.

Bakeries-
Bean and I love the bakeries. It isn’t just the smell of the fresh-baked bread that hits you walking down the street. It is the anticipation of a delicious treat that we wait for all day long. Bean loves goûter because she knows that she will be able to choose some beautiful and delicious confection. I like going with Bean because if I were left to myself, I would choose something simple like a pain au chocolat or croissant aux amandes. Bean is adventurous and daring. She doesn’t care if she is choosing a treat that should be eaten for dessert. She knows that what she is seeing is beautiful to the eyes, the mouth and the rest of her senses. She always chooses well.

Community garden at parc de la villette

Community Garden at Parc de la Villette

Community Gardens-
Since having a garden of our own, I am always excited to see community gardens popping up in big cities. I read that community gardens were arriving and becoming popular in Paris. We kept running into them on our walks throughout the city. We stopped and spoke to one lady during a garden open house of sorts. She was serving tea made from the herbs of the garden. She mentioned that every arrondissement has at least one community garden. I have seen them along the tram tracks, in front of the museum, along an old bridge, by schools. What is so delightful about them is that they can pop up anywhere.

Paris playground

Top Paris destination: Playgrounds

Playgrounds-
Play areas are big for me and Bean. I can sit and watch as Bean interacts with other children as I read a book. Bean can get a little of her endless supply of energy out as she tries crazy tricks. Play areas, like community gardens, are everywhere. The neighborhood in which we were staying had one or two on every block. Walking along the Seine, we found play areas constructed along the wall of the bridge. Some of the more popular parks have humongous areas for children, with huge slides, swings, climbing walls and more. Even with the abundance of playgrounds, there are some neighborhoods which block off streets on certain days so that the children can play together. Bean comes back to the house every day saying how many friends she has made. I come back to the house excited that she is speaking French.

Diversity, diversity, diversity-
Fancy parties in trendy arrondissements, next door neighbors with two wives, Chinese people speaking Mandarin with African children, Indian people who lived in our old neighborhood. Everything, and everyone that I would want to meet is right outside my doorstep. They may be from Sri Lanka, Ethiopia, Korea or the Ivory Coast. They might be from Sweden, Romania, New Zealand or Brazil. All I need to do is go outside and say Bonjour. I know this can happen in practically any big city if I take the time to get involved. However, there is just something special about speaking French and having enjoying the joie de vivre of the French.

I am especially thoughtful of all the things that I love about France as Bean and I get ready to make a BIG jump to another country. We have enjoyed our time in France and will always come back every chance we get. Bean will continue to practice her French. I will work on mine as well. It is time for new adventures in foreign lands! I can hardly wait to get there.

Adventures in Daily Living

dafauski island south carolina

A South Carolina Sea Island

There are some days and some occasions when I look around me and feel happy to bursting. With a big smile on my face, I think to myself, “I live an amazing life. I do amazing things.” Usually it happens when I am traveling,meeting new people, and doing things I only imagined.

Sometimes, as life does, I must sit and wait for the next phase or excellent adventure to come my way. I am in a place I have been before, doing things I don’t really enjoy, trying to find that special spark to make the day bearable. I have read articles of people who advocate for adventures in daily life. Maybe I am a travel adventure junkie, because I feel that I need to look for daily excitement.

I was looking around me the other day. Hanging with friends and family. Riding the bus,doing my regular non glamorous routine. Once I returned to the house, a friend asked me about my bus ride. I looked at her in surprise. “What about it?,” I asked. She mentioned to me that I always ran into someone on the bus and have stories to share. I had to laugh because it’s true.

While on the bus, a lady with questionable mental faculties, wished everyone who stepped through the doors a good morning at the top of her voice. During the ride she sang, tried to play with the children who hid behind their alarmed parents, talked to tourist and was a complete spectacle for the entire bus ride. She did this all at the top of her voice,with no embarrassment or intimidation at all. She was an unforgettable character.

Another day I visited the gym with a friend. I prefer to get my exercise outdoors, but she offered and I accepted. We were hanging out in the jacuzzi when another lady joined us. After striking up a conversation, she told us she was an alien artist. “Excuse me,” I said,”did you say you were an alien artist?” She said that yes, I had heard her correctly. We all began talking about her creative process and various other topics. As we got out of the hot tub, she asked if we danced. I told her about some of my little attempts to learn how to be a better dancer, my wish to improve and my desire to go out dancing. She said “Let’s make a date!” We did!

I needed those two incidents to remind me that I can have adventures in daily living. I don’t always need to chase adventure on the open road. It is hard because I must be more aware of simple interactions. I must be open to receive what comes during my day. I must be patient. I need to open my mouth and talk to strangers. When I am thinking only about getting to the doctor’s appointment or the courthouse in search of the papers I need, that is difficult. I needed those incidents and others like them to help me to remember the time before I became a travel adventure junkie.

We met some of our favorite people when we rode the bus every day. Every day was an adventure because we didn’t know who we would see or what surprises they brought with them. Bean and I have had great fun going to festivals, museum special exhibits, and more. This all happened when we were living our daily life. If it happened then, it can happen now. Today, my eyes are open to the adventures in daily living.

Did you find yourself having an unexpected adventure this week? Tell me about it in the comments below! I like reading about you too.

The Shopping Minimalist

Aeroville Roissy France

The Mall in the Middle of Nowhere…Aeroville in France

I have a confession to make. I shop a lot. But I have a reason.

As a minimalist, I have very few clothes. Bean has very few clothes. The clothes we have are multi-purpose. We don’t have enough space in our suitcases to carry clothing for every activity; our clothes must work double or triple duty. Bean is a child. She doesn’t know that people dress to impress other people with their place in society by their clothes. Our clothes can mix and match, working in many situations. It is easy and works for us.

As much as I don’t worry about brands and where we buy our clothes, I had to take a moment to reflect. Why am I, as a minimalist, spending so much time in the stores and shopping? I want to show Bean a different side of life. I want her to see other things besides spending money in stores every day. What is going on? Am I becoming a recreational shopper?

Ultimately, I realize, it is our lifestyle. I decided to carry only seasonal clothing many months ago. As we have been traveling between different climates, it has been necessary to buy different clothes. When we were in southern France, it was cool and rainy for days at a time. We needed our jackets, sweaters, and tights. It was spring, but the weather was not warming up quite fast enough.

We then went to Morocco. It was also spring in Morocco, but the weather was significantly warmer. I made the decision that we could get rid of our fall/ winter clothes. The weather got hotter and hotter. It felt like summer time. We started our treks to the mall, the market and the discount stores. Because we are not familiar with the stores and what they sell, it is necessary to visit many stores to find what we need. Bean loves it. I am always interested in learning more about a country and its people,but shopping so much makes me uncomfortable.

We traveled back to France and unfortunately, it was still cool. We found a thrift store to buy simple jackets so we would not freeze when we took our walks. I was kicking myself mentally for thinking I could get rid of the jackets in Morocco and that the weather would be warmer when we returned to France. I was overly optimistic. I kept in mind the fact that we would need to shop again before leaving France since we were headed to Illinois and Texas. It is always HOT in Texas.

I have since relaxed and accepted the fact that we do need to shop. Minimalist or not, we can not travel naked. We would not get very far that way. I hope that in all of our trips to the mall and the market, I am showing Bean that we are not participating in recreational shopping. We have a purpose when we go to the stores. We are looking for sandals. We are looking for light summer dresses. We need to find shoes of a certain style, size and so that she will have a pair to wear that is interchangeable with all of her clothes for the next few months.

I suppose if we had a car, the trips to the mall would not be so frequent. We could do all of our shopping in one day. No need to spend a few days a week looking for things to wear. After we find things to wear,we then must shop for groceries. I am more comfortable with shopping for groceries because that is a necessity. We HAVE to eat. I know this should not necessarily be seen as recreational shopping, but maybe it is for Bean.

Bean loves to go to the stores. I make sure to be clear with explaining the purpose of our visit. Maybe when she is older, she will remember that we shopped with purpose. Maybe she will just remember the shopping trips and how much fun she had spending money. What ever happens, I am still a minimalist. A minimalist who doesn’t own much. A minimalist who considers her purchases. A minimalist who spends a lot of time at the mall.

Do you consider yourself a minimalist? How does shopping and minimalism look in your life? Are you able to resolve the apparently contradictory messages of the two ways of life? I would love to hear about it. Please leave me a comment below.

It is all about Perspective

Graffiti art nyc

Graffiti Art, NYC

A few months ago I was contacted by a minimalist and single mother who found us on the internet. She wanted some help in planning her upcoming world travels with her son. As she began to ask questions, there were many fears she had that kept coming into focus. We worked through so many questions and relieved a lot of fears. One thing I told her often was that her concern over particular issues would fade into insignificance once she was on the road.

As I travel and meet many people who are focused on world news, their jobs and communities, often I just listen. There was the lady who was convinced that the wars in the Middle East were created to wipe out Muslims like herself. The family who didn’t vote for Marie Le Pen, but were strongly for the conservative party. The senior citizens who protest against Donald Trump by marching in the streets. The parents who feel that the end of the world is upon us within the next three years. The young minority father who sees the injustices inflicted upon people with his skin color in every area of society. All of these people feel they have legitimate concerns. Many of them are active in sharing their views with others. It is who they are and what they do.

I consider myself a world citizen. I have for many years. I hear the concern of others about the issues that face them, but I feel removed from they seriousness they feel for whatever issue may be at hand. Yes, Donald Trump is not the best president. Yes, black people are and have been discriminated against in many ways. Yes, gun violence is at an all time high. Yes, something needs to be done to create more affordable healthcare in the USA. Yes, people are starving and the rain forest is disappearing in many parts of the world. If I focus on all of the things that are wrong with the world, I feel such sorrow. There were times when I felt guilty that I was not doing enough because I am not marching and picketing and boycotting. I felt incapable to act; as if anything that I did was not enough. All of the issues are important. What is the best issue to fight for?

Just as I told the young single mother, these issues fade into insignificance when I am on the road. As a traveler, I need to find a place to sleep for the night. I need to make sure Bean is keeping up with her schooling. I need to find a grocery store so that we can eat a healthy meal. I must find opportunities for us to interact with the local people. I don’t have time to be interested in Trump’s latest tweets. I don’t have time to look for slights due to my skin color. I don’t have to worry about whether gays and transgenders are taking over the world. It just isn’t that important to me.

My perspective. That is what is important to me. Deciding how I want to see the world. It is also important for me to show Bean the good things of the world. It is important for me to let her know that bad things do happen and bad people do exist and do bad things. It is our choice how we choose to fight against them. It is our choice how we choose to celebrate the beautiful life we have been given.

I choose to fight and celebrate by the way I choose to live. I live as a minimalist. I am taking a stand against mindless consumerism. I choose to live intentionally. I live as a traveler. I am taking a stand for a life as an open minded, world citizen. I choose to design my life according to my rules of the road. I live as a single parent. I am taking a stand to actively give my child the tools she needs to become a mature adult. I choose to show her that she can be and do whatever she wants in this world no matter her skin color, no matter her marital status, no matter any preconceived societal ideas of who and what she should be.

So yes, I am fighting. I am an activist. I am concerned about the state of the world. I no longer feel guilty that what I do and how I live my life may seem like escapism to some. My purpose in the world is to live with the knowledge that I have the choice to live how I please. My purpose is to inspire others to ignore the news that tells them the world is too bad for them to explore it on their own. My purpose is to encourage others to find their purpose. All of us may not care passionately about the same things. I choose to focus on my purpose. If I know what my purpose is, my perspective will always be correct.

Have you been reading MySPOClife.com and have questions about travel, minimalism or single parenting? Feel free to leave a question in the comments or contact me. Reaching out is all it takes to get an answer to a question for which you may not know the answer. That is my purpose.

Libraries are Important

Brooklyn Public Library

Brooklyn Public Library

One of the favorite destinations during our travels has been to the public library.It is one of those places that you know you can find wherever you are in the world…until you don’t find it. Being in the habit of visiting libraries as we travel, it came as a surprise when I was not able to find one in Morocco. It caused me to think about why I love libraries so much.

First, I love to read. I grew up in a family that did not watch T.V. Playing outdoors, using our imagination and reading was highly encouraged. I spent most of the summer on my bed, under my homemade tent, trying to read two books a day. I loved going to the library and roaming through the shelves looking for more books to read. Since Bean’s birth, we’ve spent loads of time at the library. She has come to love it as much as I have.

Here are a few reasons we love libraries:

1. Events-
I am amazed that many people don’t know what is going on at the public library. Libraries offer more than a quiet place to read and access to lots of free reading material. We have been to many fun and amazing events. We have seen previews of plays from the local theater, and free tickets to the real show. We have been introduced to birds of prey from the nature center, well known puppet shows, Latin American storytelling troupes, weekend long craft events celebrating our favorite stories, Lego building nights, movies, dress up and more. It was all free! These events took place in libraries all over the country. I am convinced, libraries are important and essential to every community.

2. Conversation Groups-
I am a language learner and Bean is as well. Libraries offer many opportunities to interact with other language learners. It is an opportunity to listen and learn or participate as you feel comfortable. There is no fee to join.There are varying levels of language learners in the same group. The more that you go back, the more you get to know the people in the group. They may turn into life long friends.

Libraries offer many classes for a variety of interest. This is what happens to interest Bean and I. I recently visited a library where every single meeting room was full. Each one was holding a class. People were connecting with each other and actively pursuing an area of interest. This, to me, is the purpose of the public library.

3. Museum Passes and more-
In Chicago, one of my favorite perks to having a library card was checking out a museum pass. All of the museums in Chicago were free when using the pass to that particular museum. Bean and I visited almost all of the museums in Chicago, just by owning a library card. I know not all cities have the funds to offer such an incentive, but they may offer something. One city offered the use of Tumblebooks through its card. I was thankful to have access to that subscription based website for free. There are many online educational websites that offer free access with a library card. Also, some magazine and movie streaming sites may also offer access with a library card. I don’t use everything that my library card can give me, but I like to know that it is there if I am interested.

4. Books-
Many libraries now have online library services. I am thrilled that not only can I go to a book sale, sponsored by the friends of the library, and buy a book for $1, but I can also go online and get a huge assortment of audio-books and e-books. This has proven to be an excellent way for me to continue reading as we travel without lugging heavy books around everywhere. I love the feel of holding a book in my hand. I love it just as much to check out ten books from the library that I can read and/or listen to on my phone. It helps Bean to continue improving her reading when English books are hard to find.

With all of the things there are to love about the library, it is hard to imagine what a disadvantage children face when they do not have access to one. I looked at the children in Morocco and thought about other children in other countries who have the same problem. Libraries are a part of Bean’s education. How is their education going to be affected by the lack of a public library? Even if we only used the library for reading books, where will these children get their reading material? At their schools? Maybe. Online? Maybe. I know that there are many children who have a love of reading much like my own. I am sure they will find a way to read whatever they get their hands on. I hope they do.

As for Bean and myself, we will continue to find libraries as we travel around the world. Other travelers may think we are wasting our time, but we think of libraries as one of our top travel destination locations! I did a small video about my views on libraries here. In a few days, you can see a few libraries we have visited. The videos are definitely NOT professional, but I put it up anyway because I felt it was important to share. I want to share our love of libraries and encourage others to love their library too. We are fortunate to have access to free, public libraries. What is the best thing you have experienced through the local library?

How Travel Has Changed Me

Rabat Morocco, zoo

The more I travel, the better I know myself. I have always been someone who writes in journals and does self reflections at the end of the year to know if I am making progress in what I want to do in my life. We have been travleling for a year! I am really proud of myself. I broke through many mental barriers in order to accomplish this. In doing so, I am stronger in my mind and my conviction that anything is possible. It has changed me in three remarkable ways.

1. I am more open-
I always thought I was an open minded person. I have always liked talking to people from other countries and backgrounds. In the past, I was guarded about people who may look like me or who held different religious views than mine. Traveling, those ideas have been challenged. I realize many of the prejudices that I held were taught by people who learned their prejudice from someone else. Some were truly well meaning. Some were ignorant. Some just didn’t know any better.

Travel has forced me to interact with so many people who are the exact type of person I was warned against. People from different economic backgrounds, people from different religions and different experiences have all crossed my path. I have learned that my prejudices hold no weight. Interacting with people on my journey teaches me more than listening to people who tell me what those people are like. I prefer the interaction. I am glad my mind has been truly opened.

2. I am more assertive-
All my life, I have been prone to observe rather than participate. I have been passive about confronting people who demand that work be completed in an inefficient manner. I have stayed silent when confronted verbally. I prefer to look as if I agree and do my own thing.

Since traveling, especially since we stayed in the homes of so many families, I have found my voice. My voice no longer consist of only my journal and a pen. My voice is my spoken word. And it has power!

Before being continually on the road, our vacations helped me to speak out a bit more. I found myself being the one to speak when a fight broke out on the subway. I was the one who spoke up to the crazy man talking loudly in the post office line. I was the one who said the plan for my classroom would not be effective and I wanted a different room. But those were rare occasions. Afterwards I would think to myself “Where did that come from?” Those words seemed to pop out of my mouth from an unknown place.

Now, I have been pushed by the universe to stand up for myself and others on many occasions. Instead of saying, “It’s not my problem”. I think of the one who is watching, Bean. I want Bean to speak up against injustice, even if it is only an impatient person cutting in front of all the exhausted moms and children in an extremely long customs line.

Time after time, I have been presented with situations where I could have kept my head down and ignored what was being said to me, what was being done to us or others and I have chosen to take that time to speak. Speaking up has been empowering. If I can speak, I can encourage others to speak. I can make a small change in the world for the better. I am thankful I have a voice and, finally, I use my voice.

3. I am more flexible-
I am a person of lists; who is on time; who keeps her promises. I can be stiff and proper, concerned with what image I am presenting to the world. Traveling has helped me to knock that perfectionist off her throne in my head.

Traveling, I lose control of outside forces. My plane may be late. My train may be late. I may lose internet access, even though it was working a minute ago. Airbnb hosts may forget to give me the access code so that I can get into the apartment I rented. Visa paperwork that takes months to complete, museums being closed when the website says they are open, the list goes on and I adjust!

I have learned to go with the flow. I relax into the moment and explore my options. I know that the moment will pass and I will be able to enjoy new experiences in time. I have no need to get upset at what happens outside of me, because it will pass.

Traveling has taught me much. It has changed me much. The most important thing that it has taught me is that I have a lot more to learn. I welcome that opportunity. If I feel that I know everything about certain subjects, travel teaches me that the world is my school. As long as I am willing to learn, I will continue to learn. I accept the way travel changes me and rejoice that I will continue to grow!

Happy Father’s Day

Things have been busy here, but the strangest thing is being without internet. We have been on an island in the middle of many bodies of water, great and small. It took a boat to get us here. I had hoped the house where we are staying would have internet access, but I suppose that is too much to ask when you are island living.

Before the day is over, or the internet connection disappears, I MUST wish all dads a Happy Father’s Day. Dads are important to the lives of their children. There are many types of dads, we all know this. Whether you are basking in the glow of being a Super Dad, or hanging your head because you aren’t in the lives of your child(ren) much, remember we all have room for improvement. If the memory of your father leaves you smiling or cringing, take the best lesson you can from it! Happy Father’s Day 2017!

France in Photos

community gardens paris

Community Gardens are now everywhere in Paris!

We are traveling to a new location. Here are a few photos from France to show you how busy we have been.

Museum of Natural History Paris

Bean loved the Museum of Natural History in Paris

Parc de la Villette in Paris

We walk so much I enjoy resting at Parc de la Villette in Paris

Zumba for kids, paris

Bean LOVES her Zumba for Kids class.

rock climbing seine

Rock climbing and obstacle course for kids along the Seine river in Paris.

Of course, there is always more. I just get tired of taking pictures! Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel. I am committed to posting new videos every week. I am trying to present the full picture of what and why we do what we do! I hope you enjoy it!