It’s our Small Actions that Often Speak the Loudest

small actions

In an attempt to make a regular commitment to repost a positive news story each month, I asked readers what heartwarming tales they had heard recently. If the truth be told, I was finding it hard to find positive, inspiring stories in the media around me. And you delivered!

Susan posted about Sir Nicholas Scott, who helped evacuate 660 children from Germany in 1939 because it was “the right thing to do.”

Jill spoke of an elementary school teacher who anonymously donated one of her kidneys to a student in her class.

Liesbet mentioned firefighters and rescue workers who repeatedly risk their lives for others.

• On this same theme, Christie linked to a story about eight-year-old Caleb, who ‘called the shots’ as firefighter for a day…not allowing his acute lymphoblastic leukemia to hamper him or his spirits.

Fran included a piece about a Las Vegas police officer who returned a purse to a Canadian woman who had been at the site of the October 1 Music Festival shooting. The police officer had gone to the trouble of cashing in her slot machine ticket and tucked that money into her purse.

Anne Kelly highlighted how the generosity of others made a much-needed difference for the victims of this shooting.

Anabel wrote about the positive, can-do spirit of a snowboarder who regularly competes with able-bodied athletes, despite losing a leg in a car crash.

Terri told about new construction that sends a positive message that her home state is ‘rising from the ashes of recession.’

Kathy reminded us that “when we see and read about others doing good it encourages us to do better ourselves.”

Jude shared a link about the success of German scientists who have discovered ways to replace fossil fuels with alternative energy sources.  Like Kathy, Jude emphasizes that good news stories help keep us motivated to keep trying, rather than disengaging and giving up.

• And finally, Hugh left us with this link, about how small actions make a big difference…and are highly contagious!

Immediately upon rewatching Hugh’s link, I read a news article about a young trick-or-treater who left some of his candy at a home that had run out.

Perhaps we can’t all do large heroic deeds. But what if each of us left more than we took?

Go ahead. Inspire us. What small action have you observed, that will never be reported in the news, but have made a positive difference for yourself or another?

We Are the World Blogfest’ takes place the last Friday of each month. Its purpose is to “promote positive news stories that show compassion and the resilience of the human spirit.” You are invited to join in as a reader, a writer or both! I hope to see you December 29th! #WATWBF

Sunday Guest Post Series: Global Housesitter x2

housesitter

How would I describe myself?

Creative, quirky and passionate.  Those three words sum me up in a rather quick fashion.  Though I am sure many people who have known me over the years could add a few more words to that list!

I have done many things in my life, made some fantastic decisions and some incredibly stupid ones.  Many have taken me down roads I never wanted to venture down, and it took me a while to get back on track.  Once on track, there was no stopping me. This was when I meet an amazing man who is my best friend and husband (aka ‘The Squire’).

A jack of many trades master of none sums up my ‘career.’   I started traveling in my late teens. Years later I bought a one-way ticket to London — what was I thinking?  I worked on a cruise liner as a stewardess and worked in many hotels as a bartender/waitress.  In between those jobs, it was office work, with a stint learning to be an Occupational Therapy Assistant [hospital] and a Manager of a home for people with disabilities.  My last job was as a Qualified Preschool teacher, which I left quite a few years ago to manage our small orchard that the Squire and I created from bare land.

housesitter

A few more facts!

  • I am an early starter in a few of life’s challenges and a late starter in many.  One example of my lateness is completing ten half marathons [competitive walker] and one triathlon in my fifties.
  • I have the most incredibly patient, caring and intelligent husband, and the best travel buddy any girl could want.
  • My first trip overseas was to Melbourne in the 1970’s when passports were not required.  I have been traveling on and off since then.
  • I love to garden and have this strange affliction of enjoying mowing lawns.  NO matter what shape, I love them all.
  • Don’t stand in the way of me and a good cup of coffee in the morning.
  • I sometimes capture excellent photos; many get deleted as I am my harshest critic.
  • I have a very contagious laugh, and I love to make people smile. You can find me at Global Housesitter x2. Why not drop by for a virtual cup of coffee?

Suzanne

Housesitter
Suzanne [the blogger] and her Squire. One couple, one globe, no regrets. Walks dogs, cuddles cats, pats the odd donkey, life learner and photographer.

From Retirement Reflections: Thank you, Suzanne, for dropping by this week to share a bit about yourself and your blog.

You can connect with Suzanne on the following social media sites.
Blog
Instagram
Facebook

I am confident that you will find Suzanne’s travels, adventures, writing and photography as interesting as I do.

Please join us next Sunday with Guest Host Lynn from  Encore Voyage — A Journey of Reinvention and Discovery. We hope to see you then!

If you would like to join in on the fun and submit your own Guest Post, I would love to have you share with us.  Simply leave a comment, send an email or use this site’s Contact Form.

Palm Desert: A Blogging Holiday

blogging holiday

When you hear the expression ‘blogging holiday’ you might imagine a break from online reading and writing. For me, my most recent experience with this term was the exact opposite. After a summer on the Camino Trail, followed by a September devoted to 70th birthday celebrations (my husband’s not mine), Richard and I headed to Palm Desert for a six-week long home exchange.

blogging holidayThe first three weeks were sheer relaxation. Daily yoga, lounging beside this beautiful pool, catching up with my favourite blog reads and participating in much-missed writing link-ups.

 

 

 

blogging holidayblogging holidayThe next week brought a first-time meet-up with fellow bloggers, Kathy from Smart Living 365 and Liesbet from Roaming About. It is incredible to me how two people, whom I had never met in-person before, were instantly recognized as long-time friends by my eyes, ears, and heart. We spent two days together talking, laughing, eating and getting to the core of issues that were important to each of us. Oh, and as the photos show, there were many antics and messing about!

blogging holiday

 

Then it was off to Riverside WordCamp 2017 to experience my first Bloggers’ (WordPress) Conference. I know what you’re thinking.  “A WordPress Conference? What the heck??”  Actually, it was pretty cool. $40 got me two full days of sessions, plus continental breakfasts, lunches, snacks, drinks and ‘swag’! Many of the WordPress conferences are very technical and targeted to those using WordPress for the core part of their business (developers, designers, etc.). However, more and more WordCamps are including tracks for bloggers. My most significant takeaways included beginning to understand just how big WordPress is, and receiving some rationale and strategies for growing blogs/social media. I also met some interesting people, so for me, it was worthwhile.  Check here to find an upcoming WordCamp in your area.

blogging holidayFinally, it was the weekend that a few of us had begun planning many months ago. Unfortunately, Liesbet was unable to join us, but she was there in spirit. As the photos reveal, Kathy (Smart Living 365), Janis (Retirementally Challenged) Terri (Second Wind Leisure) and I continued the eating and the mucking around. We also grappled with those pesky blogging topics of social media, photography copyright, sticking to our niche, encouraging  comments, managing our time and so much more.

Kathy, Janis, Terri, and Liesbet have also written posts on this topic that  will publish  at the same time as this one. I highly encourage you to check out their blogs to read their different perspectives on our gathering.

We have already begun discussing meeting up again in October/November 2018 either in Indio/Palm Desert or San Diego.  Watch this space for more on that. I eagerly await my next blogging holiday!

Would You Take Fashion Advice From This Woman?

fashion

I am a huge fan of ‘Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond.’ It offers women over fifty excellent information that encourages and inspires them to live their lives to the fullest. It provides a balanced view of the highs and lows of retirement. It also gives tips on health, fitness, and positive aging. The author, Sue, regularly invites Guest Hosts to share their thoughts in specific areas.

Two months ago, I received a message from Sue asking if I would be interested in serving as one of her guests on a collaborative post on ‘Fashion Tips for the Holiday Season.’ Laurie from ‘Vanity and Me,’ and Linda from ‘Boots, Shoes, and Fashion‘ had also been invited to participate. Both Laurie and Linda have blogs dedicated to fashion and are respected experts in the ‘fashion over fifty’ field.

I double checked the message. Had Sue really planned to include me as a contributor to this post, or had there been a mix up in the message sending? Since retiring, my ‘daily uniform’ has consisted of yoga pants and long-sleeved t-shirts. What could I possibly contribute?

I checked with Sue. Yes, she had meant to include me. She is one brave woman!! But you know, as soon as I began writing (and I confess, researching) I was delighted to participate in this challenge.

I would love it if you could pop over to Sue’s site and read the full post. I look forward to seeing you there!

Favorite Fashion tips for the Festive Season from three fashionistas over 50!

Sunday Guest Post Series: Shallow Reflections

Shallow Reflections

I made plans to retire on September 1, but after I submitted my resignation, I felt restless and unsettled. My friends and family were excited for me, but I wasn’t happy and wondered what was wrong with me. After crying while I wrote a tearful goodbye to my thirty-eight-year nursing career, I admitted I wasn’t ready for full-time retirement. I pitched to my company that I could job share with another experienced nurse who also wanted to work part-time, and they agreed. My new schedule consists of working two days, with five days off. I go to work Thursday morning with enthusiasm, saying, “I can’t wait until Friday!” I get to stay in touch with coworkers, keep up to date in my profession, and bring home a paycheck which keeps my hand out of the retirement funds cookie jar. My husband still works full-time and our next step is to transition him into a part-time schedule.

I appreciate Donna’s blog and how she presents not only the joyful side of retirement but the challenges of transitioning from a full-time career to full-time retirement. As much as I’ve looked forward to this stage of my life, I discovered that for me it is a process, not an event. I’m honored to share my perspective on semi-retirement in her Sunday Guest Post series.  Below is a recent post where I grapple with how to best spend my ‘new found’ time. All suggestions and comments will be warmly welcomed!

My Falliable Plans for Semi-Retirement

Patrick says I romanticize life events, like my semi-retirement, but I don’t agree. I think he’s negative and sprinkles acid raindrops of reality on my rose colored progressives.

My theory is he’s jealous he had to postpone reducing his work schedule because apparently, he romanticized about our finances.

Anyway, I’ve read that you need to make plans when you experience more unstructured days of freedom to ensure you don’t grovel in the corner drooling. Or worse, start looking for a full-time job.

Here is a list of my plans with foreshadowing of how some pesky nettles could give the shaft to my Garden of Eden.

I’ll cook healthy meals during the day so we can eat before 8:00 p.m.

Patrick splashes cold water on this fantasy when he says, “I can see what is going to happen. You’ll get an invitation to meet a girlfriend for dinner and leave a box of Captain Crunch on the table with a note that says, “Pour your own damn milk!’”

“Crunch berries or plain?”

“I hate crunch berries!”

“So plain.” (Adds to grocery list).

I’ll grocery shop on weekdays saving Patrick the trouble of going with me.

Patrick is balancing the checkbook and shrieks, “Four hundred dollars for groceries this week! Are we eating caviar and filet mignon morning, noon and night? I better start going with you so you’ll stick to the list.”

“If you think you must.”

 

I’ll keep the house spotless now that I have time to clean and declutter.

After about a week of drudgery, a sliver of resentment jams into my psyche causing significant pain. I thought I was going to work less, not sign on as a chambermaid.

“Patrick, can we squeeze in a budget item for a cleaning service?”

I’m sure his response includes some boring details about making hard choices with my reduced income, but this is what I hear, “No.”

Undaunted I move to Plan B.

Dangling a wine glass in front of Patrick, I promise to pop the cork on some love nectar as soon as we spend quality time cleaning the house together. I remind him of how much it excites me to see him wearing Playtex gloves while scrubbing the shower.

I won’t need to buy as many clothes.

Who am I kidding? I’m still going to need cute and comfortable clothes for special occasions, i.e., days I wear clothes. And since I’m not going to join a nudist colony that would mean every day.

I’ll shop for sales.

Since I feel nauseated imagining myself traipsing through stores, pawing racks of drab items to find a single gem, I have to confess something. Having more free time is not likely to transform me into someone who loves to shop any more than it will turn me into a gardener or a camping enthusiast. Alternating between J. Jill mail order and Stitch Fix ought to keep me from wearing sweatpants every day.

I’ll save money on gas.

Patrick’s daily inquiry, “Where are you going today? Will it be under or over a four-hour drive? Just curious.”

I’ll get in shape.

The only drawback to this plan is how much time lies before me to exercise later, after I’ve attended to social media, writing, meeting friends for lunch, napping, etc.

I won’t procrastinate.

See above.

I feel so much better now that I’ve become more realistic about planning my time. Now, if I could just find a way to improve Patrick’s spirits, I think things would be perfect.

How do you think retirees or part-time workers should spend their newfound extra time? I need some achievable suggestions.

Meet Molly:

Molly Stevens believes humor is the emollient that soothes life’s rough patches and promotes these convictions in her blog: Shallow Reflections. She is the author of an adult picture book called, Boomer on the Ledge™, released in October 2017, published by Humor Outcasts Press. She won third place in the 2017 National Society of Newspaper Columnists writing contest and is a contributing author for These Summer Months: Stories from the Late Orphan Project, edited by Anne Born. She is a featured contributor for Humor Outcasts and part of the Bangor Daily News blogging network. Her guest posts have appeared on: Erma Bombeck Writer’s Workshop, Better after 50, Sizzling Towards 60, Mostly Blogging, and Sixty and Me. Molly grew up on a potato farm in northern Maine, where she wore a snowsuit over both her Halloween costume and her Easter dress. She lives in central Maine, and when she’s not writing, working or watching the New England Patriots win super bowls, she and her husband, Patrick, love to spend time with their son, daughter-in-law and two perfect grandsons.

Links:

http://www.shallowreflections.com

https://www.facebook.com/shallowreflections/

https://www.facebook.com/BoomerOTL/

https://twitter.com/ShallRef

https://www.pinterest.com/mstevens1953/shallow-reflections/

https://plus.google.com/u/0/+MollyStevensPerham/posts

https://www.instagram.com/mstevens1983/

From Retirement Reflections:  I can never sneakily read Molly’s posts when I am supposed to be doing something else. Her writing always makes me snort with laughter (not pretty, I know)! If you are new to Molly’s writing, I highly recommend her site to you. I double-dare you not to laugh-out-loud. Up next week is Suz from Global Housesitters X2. Suz is another blogger who brilliantly models creative lifestyle, extensive travel and thinking outside of the box. See you Sunday!

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Please Stop By and Visit Me at Deb’s World

Thank you to Debbie for inviting me to Guest Host on her site while she is away. It is an honour to be filling in for her today. I enjoyed the thought-provoking questions that Debbie gave to me as a framework for this post.

While at Deb’s World, please have a look around. You will find travel, adventure, fitness, photography, great reads, new challenges and so much more (even poetry)!

I look forward to meeting you there!

Deb's World

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Sunday Guest Post Series: Lisa Dorenfest – One Ocean At A Time

One Ocean at a Time

I mull over the contents of this post as I soak in a traditional Red Zao herbal bath while overlooking the resplendent mountains of Northwest Vietnam. My entire being is filled with gratitude for every moment in my life that got me to this one; both the good and the bad for they are what shaped me and made this moment possible.

One Ocean at a Time
Herbal Bath – Ta Phin Village, SaPa, Vietnam

I begin to recount how I got to this place since shutting my office door for my first ‘Sailbatical’ in April 2011, and my gratitude increases exponentially.

I’ve had the good fortune to live my dream of circumnavigating the globe under sail. I’ve traveled nautical miles to SE Asia across two oceans and into a third, sailing from The Netherlands to Malaysia with a yearlong stopover in New York between oceans to replenish the cruising kitty and treat a bout of breast cancer.

One Ocean at a Time
Amandla In Paradise – Taveuni, Fiji

I joined my partner, Captain Fabio Mucchi aboard his sailboat Amandla at the beginning of my second ‘Sailbatical’ in February 2013. I had planned to return to work after sailing to New Zealand, but here I am, almost five years later, still traveling and loving it.

One Ocean at a Time
The Captain Provides – Pacific Ocean En Route to French Polynesia

With Amandla safely dry-docked in Malaysia, The Captain and I began a bit of land traveling SE Asia by bus, train, boat, and on foot, visiting Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, and Laos. The Captain returned home to Italy in September to promote his new book on his early travels, and I continued onward to Vietnam.

One Ocean at a Time
With My Guide Man Mây – Lao Cai Province, Vietnam

Here, I added motorbikes to my list of transportation modes, riding as a passenger along the streets of Hanoi and through Northwest Vietnam from Mai Chau to Pù Luông, and over the past 36 hours, from Lao Cai to Lai Châu and back.

The Captain and I will meet back aboard Amandla at the end of October to start preparing for our Indian Ocean transit in 2018.

One Ocean at a Time

Some might call this retirement. I call it living life to the maximum! You can read more about the journey here.

Thank you, Donna, for giving me the opportunity to share my story on your blog. I find your wonderful posts as well as the stories shared by others here in your ‘Sunday Series’ to be an incredible source of inspiration for anyone contemplating a lifestyle change whether it is retirement or a trip along the road less traveled.


From Retirement Reflections

Don’t you want to drop what you are doing and immediately join Lisa and The Captain aboard the Amandla for a sailing adventure? I know that I do! This is an incredibly inspiring example of ‘living life to the max.’
While Lisa has us primed to think ‘outside of the box’, please join me next week when Molly takes charge and (humorously) revises her retirement plan!
Do you also have a ‘retirement’ or ‘lifestyle’ story to share? Just leave a comment and I would be happy to include you as an upcoming Guest Host.

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Sunday Guest Post Series: Natalie the Explorer

Greetings! I’m Natalie, the blogger behind Natalie the Explorer.

First, I’d like to thank Donna for inviting me to write a short guest post that highlights my blog. I’ve enjoyed Donna’s writing, and other guest bloggers’ writing in her Sunday Guest Post series. I’m happy to participate today.

Second, I’d like to thank you for being here. I hope my post is entertaining enough to keep you reading to the end, and leave a comment. Together we can make this a fun experience on a Sunday.

Natalie the Explorer is my first personal blog that I started on October 10, 2016. Prior to creating it, I’ve been keeping a paper journal and various electronic files documenting my personal plans, explorations, and experiences for many years. I’ve also been an international pen pal, and now email pal, with friends in Asia, Europe, and America. I had some pen pals in Africa and Oceania as well, but we lost touch. Blogging seems to be a good fit for me to continue writing and sharing my activities with friends.

Format-wise, I use one of the free templates on Blogger so what I can do with the layout is limited. Content-wise, my blog currently reflects my explorations and experiences in the following three areas:

1) Exploring my city: I live in Toronto, Canada. My hubby and I choose to live close to the city centre and without a car. Toronto is a dynamic, multicultural, and relatively young city, compared to other cities in the world. It’s one of the fastest growing cities in North America with a walkable centre and a well-used public transit system. We are far from an ocean or a mountain but are right by Lake Ontario, one of the five Great Lakes, so I go to the waterfront frequently to enjoy one of our city’s best natural resources.

One of my friends once told me “walking down a block of Yonge Street in Toronto, you meet half of the United Nations.” I enjoy exploring the various neighbourhoods, either by walking, or taking public transit, and experiencing the diversity of the people, culinary scenes, and cultural events. From May to October, the city hosts many outdoor public arts and entertainment programs and festivals, more than I have time to attend. Even as a long-time resident, I still discover hidden gems, and have yet to run out of things to explore in the city.

2) Exploring the world: I started traveling when I was a teenager and have happily continued since. I like reading about a new destination, planning a trip to go there, exploring to learn more about it, and hopefully gaining positive and memorable experiences at the end of the adventure. Conveniently, Toronto is also an international travel hub, offering non-stop flights to many world cities.

I’ve actually met some of my close friends from my travels. At the beginning we shared the common interest of travel, however, as time progressed and our friendship deepened, we shared our life’s ups and downs, as well as in-person visits.

My travel style has been eclectic, from backpacking, staying at youth hostels, university residences, to all-inclusive resorts, to vacation rentals, and everything else in between. I aim to have a mix of trips with family and/ or friends, and a solo trip to a new destination each year. So far this year I’ve been to Costa Rica, Spain, and Gibraltar. At the time of writing, I’ve planned two additional trips to Ireland in October, and Central Europe in November.

3) Practicing healthy living: I must confess that I’ve been having so much fun attending local events and traveling abroad since May that “healthy living” mentions on my blog have been mostly about my learning Spanish for brain plasticity and my physical exercise goals. As I grow older, I’ve been more disciplined with practicing healthy living. I hope to write more posts about this topic in the winter when I’m at home longer.  🙂

Aside from the usual exercising and eating a balanced diet, I work on other components that make my life healthier, such as positive relationships with family, friends, social connections with my community, fewer materials, more fun experiences, and self-initiated changes. I like to intentionally add variety and moderate challenges to prevent myself from plateauing or declining. Most of my fitness, social, and fun activities are free or low-cost as I try to optimize the resources that I have.

In summary, on my blog, at this time you can expect to see posts with pictures on:

  • Local events and places that I’ve explored
  • Foreign places that I’ve visited
  • My personal plans, quarterly fun lists, and monthly updates
  • People, places, things, and life events that inspire me to write
  • Tips to share

Thank you for your time. I look forward to receiving your comments.

 What did you find most interesting in the post? What would you like to read more about? Please share your thoughts.

 Natalie
natalietheexplorer

 

 

 

 

Thank you to Natalie for Guest Hosting this week. If you love travel and exploration or are simply looking for some ‘healthy living’ motivation,  I highly encourage you to check out her blog. I previously thought that I had traveled extensively, and was committed to a healthy lifestyle.  Natalie has raised the bar (high) on both accounts! While remaining on the theme of travel, adventure and ‘thinking outside of the box’, please come back next Sunday when we will be joined by the author behind “Lisa Dorenfest — Once Ocean at a Time.” If you have not yet discovered Lisa’s blog, I know that you will find it as inspiring as I do. See you there!

‘We Are the World Blogfest’

We Are The World

Every last Friday of the month, Ally posts a good news story for ‘We Are The World Blogfest,’ And every last Friday of the month, I think “Oh man, I wanted to join in too….I definitely will next month.” But then I forget, and the pattern repeats itself.

‘We Are the World Blogfest’ seeks to “promote positive news stories that show compassion and the resilience of the human spirit.” The intention is to increase our awareness of daily kindnesses that receive little recognition and are so often strangled by negative news stories around us.

To help me commit to a monthly #WATWB post, I am asking for your help (yes yours!). In the comment section below, please tell me about a heartwarming piece of ‘news’ that moved you recently. It could be something that you witnessed yourself or a simple video link. I will then read more about the piece that you shared and include it in an upcoming #WATWB post.

For example, here is a story about Mikko Meldrom and his wish for his 9th birthday.  It is Mikko’s kind of thinking that helps make our world a better place.

To further set the mood, I leave you with a link to one of my favorite videos about how small, positive actions can have life-changing consequences. When viewing this clip, you may wonder why I have chosen a link from a Thai insurance company. ‘Fake news!’” I hear you cry. And yes, this is ‘just a commercial.’ But its message is very powerful and achievable — and that’s the whole point of this blogfest.

Your turn. Please don’t be shy. What good news has moved you recently? If nothing comes to mind, please take a quick look at your favorite information source. I’m confident that something good is there – you may simply need to unbury it!

Sunday Guest Post Series: Travels with Fran

Fran

Now that I think about it, travel has always been a significant player in defining who our family is. Our family ancestors have had roots in Australia, Europe, the United States, and in Canada. As for me, I always had a hankering for travel. As a matter of fact, my high school yearbook entry clearly announced that my one and only goal at that time was to travel the world. It was quite some time though before I got to fulfill that dream.

Life kicked in, and I got down to the nitty-gritty routines of life-graduated, got a job, got married, bought a house and had my son. Every holiday we had, I inevitably scanned the travel sections of the newspaper dreaming of places I would like to visit, but other than a few trips across Canada and the United States, those far-off exotic lands were never on my list of destinations.

Sabbatical – Off to Germany

Somewhere about mid-career, my husband and I applied for a job teaching overseas for the Canadian military. We got the job and joined Gutenberg School staff and Westend in Lahr, West Germany. I was introduced to incredible German food, wine and cultural events like Fasching, volks marches neu wine, and spargletoast. The die was cast! Not only that, but the travel bug also bit my son who counts our time in Germany as one of the best in his life.

Impulsivity Kicks In

Once our German hiatus was completed, we returned to Canada. We all suffered withdrawal pains from this fabulous experience. However, life continued as it always had. We resumed our teaching career. My son finished high school and went away to university. Both my husband and I took an early retirement. While on a solo trip to Ottawa, I read an ad in the paper that invited applications for teaching in a foreign country. Without really thinking, I went to my computer and applied. Then I realized that I had done so without even talking to my husband. Upon my arrival at home, I told my husband, and of course, he simply said he wouldn’t go. Amazingly enough, I was interviewed on the phone within the day as was my husband. Before we knew it, we were on our way to Charleston, South Carolina where we had a fabulous time meeting wonderful folks and experiencing life in a southern American city.

Birth of the blog “Travels with Fran”

But life in a southern American city isn’t always fun and games. Hurricane season can be nerve-wracking. One time I wrote a short story about Charlestonians getting ready for a hurricane. When in Charleston, local television stations monitored the hurricanes of the season as they marched across the Atlantic. By the time the hurricanes got close to the mainland, people are hyped up and frantic to protect their property and their lives. During one potentially close call, I wrote a short story in an email to my son documenting our visit to Home Depot where locals bought up all the plywood and bottled water in the store. In spite of the volume of people in the store, it was absolutely silent. We had been planning on riding out the storm in Charleston, but after witnessing the fear in the local people, we decided to book a hotel inland. My son found the story interesting and suggested I start a blog. It was a good suggestion, and I found myself enjoying the process of recording our life away from home as we traveled around the world.

International Teaching

For over sixteen years, we continued to work in places like Egypt, England, and Uzbekistan. We also enjoyed the opportunity of meeting people and discussing political issues with people from different cultural backgrounds. Holiday travel to countries like Iran, Thailand, Morocco, Cambodia, Latvia, northern Sweden, Iceland, China, and India to name a few served to broaden our perspective of the world and to reinforce how lucky we were to come from a country like Canada. How different our lives would have been if we had simply stayed home after retiring! And all of these experiences have been documented in my travel blog, and in photograph books.

There’s another chapter in this ‘travel theme’ for our family. My two grandsons have traveled to visit us in many places. So now it isn’t unusual for them to say, “The next time I visit England, I will……..” Another generation of travelers in our family!

Our Second Retirement

Just this past June, we retired from teaching yet again. So far our retirement has followed the normal routine of applying for pensions and repairing the house. Yet, I can still feel this pull for something extraordinary calling. We will see what the future has in store. In the meantime, I continue to enjoy interacting with other blog writers and will continue to write when the inspiration strikes. Often the writing is done impulsively. I’d love for you to check it out and travel along!

Travels with Fran

From Retirement Reflections: Thank you, Fran, for sharing your love of travel and the impetus for your blog. I encourage all readers to check out your site which is filled with adventure — and great writing! Speaking of adventure, our next Guest Host (also Canadian) has visited over 42 countries. She documents her extensive travels on her blog, ‘Natalie the Explorer’. Please join us next Sunday. I look forward to seeing you then!