You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Travel’ tag.

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Over the past few weeks I have spoken with both friends and family who have travel plans in place over the next couple of months. Some are going to exotic places like South Africa, India, Angkor Wat, Vietnam and Thailand. Others have Hawaii, Italy and Cabo San Lucas on their schedules. I enjoy hearing of their plans and the excitement that lights up their face as they share the details and research of their trip. I also love to hear about their trip upon their return home. The images they paint from their stories I find as interesting as their photos. Don’t get me wrong the photos are cool but the stories are their experiences!

Some are going in groups, others with friends or family, and others as a “single” while participating in a group tour. I know folks who like to bike or hike through regions of Europe, others who like to take River Cruises and others Motor Coach Tours. I admire them all. It takes planning, tenacity and an adventurous spirit to travel.

I think there is a difference between vacationing and traveling. Vacationing to me is about relaxing somewhere, playing and being in safe and reliable environs. This takes on many vistas…camping for some, at the beach for others or perhaps Disneyland. Traveling on the other hand is stretching our boundaries, seeing new vistas, meeting new people and exposing ourselves to different cultures. It can also be immersing ourselves in history, art, spiritual/religious pilgrimages or researching our family’s ancestry. While we certainly can use vacation time to travel and we can have fun and play while traveling, there is a different energy around travel than there is vacationing. I think both are necessary to feed and renew the soul.

Travel gives us an education unlike any other and helps us to be better citizens of the world and to appreciate home. As I see it, when we travel we become guests of the countries, cities and regions that we visit. We observe the culture, landscape, architecture and people and experience life from their point of view and existence. There are colors, smells, tastes, sounds and climates that are specific to each place we visit and we bring the memory of these back home with us. Travel of any kind expands our minds and opens our thinking, our compassion and personal insights. We are different when we come home, our life experience has changed and grown. We begin to frame how we live in the world differently.

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Vacationing also changes us. It renews us, gives us new vitality and resets our fun meters. It reconnects us with our inner selves and with our family or friends we might be traveling with. Vacationing gives us time to vacate the stale and stagnant mindsets and physical weariness we have fallen into through everyday life. It mixes things up and lets us enjoy different foods and drink. It gives us time to rest and be “on vacation.”

Most people find planning the travel as enjoyable as the actual going. We set our itineraries, begin to make arrangements and reservations while engaging our travel or vacation mindset months in advance. The planning is fun, gives us something to look forward to and offers interesting conversation with those that have already explored our travel destination.

Planning and traveling are exciting but what I try to remind myself of everyday is to pay attention to the beauty of where I live. It is easy to forget or not see the beauty of our own backyard (literally and figuratively). I know the sunsets in Hawaii are exquisite but so are the ones outside my home. The wildflowers blooming in the fields, the trees beginning to blossom, the rolling green hills and the clouds hovering over the foothills are just as pretty here as they are in Europe.

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Living in Northern California I consider myself extremely lucky. People pay thousands of dollars to come visit our area from all over the world and I live with its beauty and bounty every day. I bet wherever you live, you could say the same thing. And, while we all enjoy travel and vacation the simple truth is there is no place like home.

2d5e15dda3fee4120d88db625acfd38cHappy trails!

Pilgrimage: Journey to a sacred place.

I was inspired by an email message I received from Kayleen Asbro, about a pilgrimage she was embarking on to the caves of La Baume, France to finish her dissertation on Mary Magdalene. Kayleen’s in depth research and teachings on Mary Magdalene are extraordinary, enlightening and life altering. They are, in themselves a pilgrimage.

Being a pilgrim, we travel to a place where we are unfamiliar and face aspects of ourselves that can be uncomfortable for us.  On a pilgrimage we can also be brought home to our soul or discover unanswered questions that move us ever foreward. We can gather information about the world, each other and ourselves and process that information in new ways that both stretch us and identify us.  We embody the information from the geographical and spiritual experiences and they shift us. We begin to see differently, hear differently and when we look upon the familiar it seems somewhat unfamiliar. We have gained wisdom, understanding and have expanded ourselves.

When was the last time you took a pilgrimage? Perhaps, as Kayleen suggested in her email, it is more about our attitude about a trip than the actual trip. She asks, when you travel do you go on a vacation or a pilgrimage?  Even going to the grocery store can be a pilgrimage when we go with a different mindset or outlook, it can create an entirely different experience. There are times when a good book, movie or TV program can take you on an unexpected pilgrimage. Places of self-discovery are all around us, if only we allow ourselves to hear and answer the call.

My husband and I are currently watching the popular TV program Downton Abbey. This has been a pilgrimage of sorts for us, both to our own individual English Ancestry and to the aspects of human nature in all of its complexity. We seem, with each episode, to delve deeper into the foundations of the characters, resonating with the time, place and cultural carryover that flows through our own family history. Strong, stoic people who have a deep responsibility to the land, family and community whom experience embattled relationships that shift and change through the course of life. These are all uncomfortably and beautifully demonstrated and experienced as we journey with them, reviewing and stirring over our own families, responsibilities and choices. It is the long view that makes the journey bearable.

Next month my husband and I will be vacationing with friends. We will visit a new place with an open mind and fresh set of eyes. It will also be a pilgrimage. A time of rediscovering our relaxed selves, our playful sides, our friends and our relationship with sea, sand and stars. Ahh, my body takes a deep sigh and says yes. That is definitely a sacred journey.

For the traveler by John O’Donohue (Irish poet)

A journey can become a sacred thing:
Make sure, before you go,
To take the time
To bless your going forth,
To free your heart of ballast
So that the compass of your soul
Might direct you toward
The territories of spirit
Where you will discover
More of your hidden life,
And the urgencies
That deserve to claim you.
May you travel in an awakened way,
Gathered wisely into your inner ground;
That you may not waste the invitations
Which wait along the way to transform you.
May you travel safely, arrive refreshed,
And live your time away to its fullest;
Return home more enriched, and free
To balance the gift of days which call you.

Recently, my husband and I went to San Diego for a short business trip. He was there for a conference and I tagged along because San Diego is always a great place to visit and I had a free airline ticket. We were staying across from the convention center in the Gaslamp Quarter. I camped out in our hotel room most of the time working on my book.

When it was time for a break or something to eat I would venture out for a walk. On the back side of the convention center is the Marina District with a view of Coronado Island and the surrounding waterways. A slight breeze, eighty degree weather and boats on the water combined together for the perfect formula to set me into a meditative trance state. It was deliciously relaxing watching all the marina activity. My focus turned to the yachts that were just below my perch from the upper outdoor deck of the convention center. Galileo, Oberon and two others were spectacular sea faring crafts busy with maintenance activity. They sparked my interest enough to drag my husband back later that day to show him.

The Galileo was beautiful, sleek and navy blue. The crew was working to stow their “toys” below deck. They were wiping down all the equipment and then brought a crane up from below to help lift and maneuver the smaller crafts into position for storage. Other crew members were polishing the railing on the aft deck. The ship was flying the flag of Great Britain but all three seemed to be registered in the Cayman Islands.

When I looked up the Galileo online I discovered that according to the website SuperYachtTimes.com……the Picchiotti Galileo G from the Vitruvius series has been designed and built according to Ice Class classification rules for navigation along the Northwest Passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans through Canada’s Arctic Archipelago….Now there is something I had never considered. A private vessel purchased and used to go through the Northwest Passage.

I am a land dweller and come from generations of farmers living in the valley flat lands. I love to look at bodies of water (rivers, lakes and oceans) and enjoy being on the water, but to sail around the world or live on a boat (not at dock in a Marina, but on the sea) is a very different concept to me. Okay there is also the piece about affording this type of vessel that I was trying to wrap my brain around as well. This was all very interesting to me and I was intrigued. Sure, lots of folks have boats they take out for a day, a weekend or short vacation and skip around coastal communities but this is very different from that.

Two yachts down from the Galileo G was the Oberon. This ship looked to me like it was a science oriented craft. It was also beautiful but utilitarian in feel. You could tell this was a work boat. Upon looking the Oberon up online I found this from CharterWorld.com… Oberon is a 50-metre vessel that was built to provide round-the-clock service and support for super yachts and is capable of traveling comfortably at high speeds in almost any sea state, which is possible due to the patented design of her Axe Bow.

Yes, you read that right, this is the support vessel for other big yachts! It carries the food, fuel, toys, other boats and extra crew. My understanding is it can quickly (up to 28 knots) go into port from anywhere and get restocked in any type of waters and hurry on back to the main yacht. Or perhaps if there are repairs that need to be made they are there to support those repairs. It also houses the additional crew members so they can rotate through shifts.

Again, as a land dweller this is not something I had considered. If you are out living on the ocean and traveling around the world you do need additional shifts of crew and tons of supplies. How cool to have your own mini fleet! This vessel is your support and safety net. So not only do you have to be able to afford the first vessel but also the second one and maintenance on them both. I am impressed.

I must admit there is a part of this lifestyle that appeals to me. Not so much being out in the middle of sea during a storm, but seeing the world and all the beautiful coastlines from a ship’s deck, that appeals. Having access to places and scenery that few get to see would be amazing. This type of life takes a special calling, adventurous spirit and skill. I appreciate that there are those that can afford it and those willing to do the work.

I have always loved being exposed to new and different ways of living in the world. This lifestyle and the industry surrounding it are one I had never thought too much about. Seeing these ships on the water, all the activity in the bay and marina and then looking up specifics online gave me a glimpse of a life outside my normal realm.

Our world is amazing, filled with different economies, different peoples with different drives and lifestyles. The boat, sailboat, yacht and super yacht communities provide an industry of ship building, products, jobs, dock locations, storage, transportation and so much more. Because it is out of my sphere I recognize I see it through romantic eyes and have a sense of wonder, awe and appreciation around it. I imagine it can be a difficult life just like any other and as with anything, I know there are trade offs to being on the water. Though, for those that are not land dwellers, it is their home. They accept those trade offs and relish their floating vessels and the bodies of water they float on.

It would be my guess that many visiting the San Diego Marina district experience that same sense of awe. Perhaps like me, they leave with a piqued interest and perhaps a secret dream to be aboard one of these great vessels sailing the seas and exploring exotic locales. Or maybe the lure is just that it is such a different lifestyle than our own and a perception of wealth and the ever elusive easeful life. You know, the grass is always greener and the ocean bluer… In any case, I am grateful for these people, their yachts and the possibility of living a different life and the fact that someone is actually doing it! Bravo!

A few weeks ago my husband and I headed out on a small vacation.  Mercury was retrograde, offering up delays and problems with our travel from the get go.  Between traffic issues getting to the airport and extremely long lines going through airport security, we arrived at the gate with minutes to spare, only to be told our seats had been given away.  This set in motion a day of stand by travel that was tiring and stressful.

Our first stop took us to Los Angeles International Airport. Upon arrival at LAX, I decided to use the lady’s room before we began the next leg of our stand by challenge.  There in the stall, sitting on top of the paper dispenser was a hard bound book.  I took the book outside with me and looked inside to see if the owner had her contact information listed.  It was there, along with her used boarding passes.  Los Angeles was her destination on this part of her journey and she had already left the airport. I left her a phone message and offered to send her the book upon my return home.  I also offered to read her the itinerary and phone numbers she had hand written on a sheet of paper, if she needed them. I could tell by her name, hand writing and information that she was an older lady and it seemed she had traveled to Los Angeles to attend a family wedding. I didn’t want her to stress over the loss of the book or information.

The book traveled with us and as our long day unfolded it was taken in and out of my carry on several times. It struck me that had we not been detoured at the beginning of our trip I would not have found the book.  I knew it was Kismet. Then it occurred to me to document the book’s journey, so when I did return it to the owner, I could include that story along with the book.

The following is the letter I sent along with the book to its owner:

Dear Ruth,

Enclosed is your book, “Heading Out to Wonderful.”  The title seems appropriate since you were heading out to a wonderful wedding in Los Angeles and my husband and I were heading out on a wonderful vacation to Santa Fe, New Mexico. Finding your book in the Los Angeles airport was fortuitous.  We were not supposed to be in Los Angeles that day at all, but circumstances threw our travel plans into disarray. Instead of a quick one stop flight from Sacramento to Albuquerque, we went on an all day, multi airport, multi flight, stand-by adventure that included finding your book.

I have no idea the subject matter of your book, but the title “Heading out to Wonderful” leads one to form optimistic conclusions of life’s journeys.  I can tell you heading out to wonderful and encountering it can be two different things. Life can give us twists and turns that takes us down different roads (or airports) and heads us out in different directions than our original destination or intent. Sometimes this is a great adventure, and other times only a detour that, for whatever reason slows us down and eats our time.

After realizing that you had already left the airport in Los Angeles and that the book would be traveling with us on our journey, I decided to document some of the book’s travels and make it a bit of fun.  Perhaps, the book itself had its own idea of what “Heading out to Wonderful” looked like. Maybe it was adverse to Southern California or knew this was its only chance to see some of our great land. Just in airports alone, it saw Greensboro, Charlotte, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Albuquerque, San Diego and Sacramento. Then it went via land to Santa Fe, The Puye Cliff Dwellings, Taos, Red River and back to Santa Fe, New Mexico. It visited museums, art galleries, churches, pueblos, shops and restaurants.  It was on the Old Santa Fe Trail and the Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway. I didn’t photograph it everywhere but took a few pictures so you would have a sense of its travels.

The book has been waiting patiently with us here in Lincoln, California to head back home to you. My husband hit the ground running with his work when we returned home and it took him a few days to get the photos printed from our trip.  I apologize for the delay.

I look at the book’s title as it sits here on my coffee table waiting to make the return trip home. “Heading Out to Wonderful” I think is a great place to start, no mater what the outcome, if we set our intention to head there we should find a bit of wonderful everywhere.

I hope you enjoy finish reading the book and the subsequent discussion with your book group. Perhaps the group’s discussion of the book’s travels will be a sweet departure from the actual fictional journey covered within its pages.

Happy Trails!

A few weeks later my husband brought in the mail and handed me a package.  I opened it up and there was the book!  Heading Out to Wonderful!  Inside was a lovely note from Ruth thanking me, money to cover the postage of “Wonderful’s” initial return to her and conversation about the book’s adventures, her book club discussion and her granddaughters wedding.  The book was now mine for keeping or passing on as I see fit. I will of course read it and pass it on.  Travel seems to be part of the books destiny.

I was touched. A little bit of humanity along with some old-fashioned kindness and communication all from the hand of  Mercury Retrograde.  No matter where our journey is taking us we should remember we are always Heading out to Wonderful, wherever that may be!

Heading Out to Wonderful is a book by Robert Goolrick

Lisa Joiner

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© Lisa Joiner and HighRoadpost, 2014 Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Lisa Joiner and HighRoadPost.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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