83076900 © creativecommonsstockphotos |

Those who know me know I often speak about having a dream, or “bucket” list items, to live fully and with intention. A hot air balloon ride, a swim with the dolphins, traveling to see tulips bloom in Holland in the spring, seeing the pyramids in Egypt, seeing the Aurora Borealis….the list is so long for many of us. But what if thinking of our “bucket list” isn’t quite the way to do it? What if there is another way to enjoy those breathtaking and precious moments our lives?

I am reading a book right now called “Driving Miss Norma” by Ramie Liddle and Tim Bauerschmidt. This book is about a 90 something year old woman finding out she has cancer after having just lost her husband. Instead of going through palliative treatments designed to extend her life just a little bit, she and her family decided to take an RV trip throughout the United States and to “live” while she was dying, creating memories of new experiences and moments of joy. I thought the book would be about fulfilling those life-long dreams, or “bucket list” items before “Miss Norma” passes away, but I was wrong. Totally and completely wrong.

The book passages say, “Norma could not find the words to create a bucket list, although at first that is what we were hoping for. If, for no other reason, it would have helped with planning. “Oh, I don’t know,” she would say over and over again, and it became clear very early in our preparations that we were not going to get a list out of her. Sometimes I felt frustrated that she would not participate much in the planning. Was it her age? I wondered. Was her brain unable to retrieve language easily? Was she simply not used to dreaming or being asked her opinion about things? But I soon grew to appreciate the opportunities her reticence to make a list gave us. With out one, we could really go with the flow. There was so much to see and do, and more than anything Norma just wanted to enjoy life. A bucket list would be much too limiting. This trip was not about checking off predetermined items. As we had quickly learned from those first delayed plans at the Mackinac Bridge and our experiences at roadside attractions, this trip was about living in the present moment, embracing whatever came our way. There would be no regrets and no need to race against time.”

Such beautiful words. Such wisdom. After contemplating two opposite approaches to living fully (the “bucket list” vs. “going with the flow”), I have decided that either approach works, depending on our own individual personalities. Neither is wrong. Neither is right. I guess it all comes down to HOW one can live one’s life fully and how one can embrace whatever comes our way. For some it comes down to the bucket list, and for others it is living in the present moment, wherever the wind blows us with spontaneity.

Life is good; find a way to embrace whatever comes your way any way you can. No regrets. Carpe diem, friends…


A beach on Hutchinson Island, St. Lucie County, FL

My daughter “Teen Traveler” and I decided to get out of the house today while we are all coping with the Corona Chaos here in Florida. Luckily we don’t have any symptoms, nor does anyone we know. Here in Florida, it is recommended not to be among crowds of more than ten people at a time, and we decided we can still LIVE while we are living with the Corona Chaos. We began thinking of all the things we can do on a road trip here in Florida and decided we wanted to go horseback riding on a beach with beautiful blue water, so we came up with Tours On Horseback in Fort Pierce. We called them, and they said they could meet us in Frederick Douglass Memorial Park on South Hutchinson Island in St. Lucie County. Their website said, “Horseback riding is the perfect way to relax and take your mind off the stress and tension of everyday life, ” and that sounded just PERFECT for us while we take a break from travel due to the US travel recommendations and restrictions during this Covid-19 outbreak. We made the reservation today and for $45.00 per person, we rode along the seashore while a gentle breeze blew in our hair. The temperature on the beach today was only about 81 degrees Fahrenheit, and it was just what we needed to avoid any cabin fever we might feel in the coming days…………

“Teen Traveler” on her horse

The ride lasted about an hour, which was just the perfect amount of time for “Teen Traveler”, who has never been on a horse that long. The horses walked along the edge of the beach with their hooves in the water but did not go into the water, which would have been fun.

We saw unexpected bursts of color along the trail to the beach

After our beach ride, while we were driving home, we noticed LOTS and LOTS of electric scooters scattered about the island, all for rent. What an unexpected surprise. You can use an app to pay for the scooters with your cell phone.

Electric scooters all lined up in multiple spots along South Hutchinson Island and ready to rent.

Use the Link Scooter Sharing App to rent your scooter through your cell phone

Along the way home, we enjoyed our day at the beach with its breathtaking blue waters………

Sand here on South Hutchinson Island is a bit more dark than the white sands of Vero Beach, north of St. Lucie County in Indian River Count
Lighter sand on Vero Beach

What a wonderful day spent together with “Teen Traveler”, soaking up the sun with laughter and reminding ourselves that we will overcome this virus situation eventually….

“Instead of worrying about what you cannot control, shift your energy to what you can create.”

― Roy Bennett

We CAN create a day full of joy, full of love, full of exploration, full of adventure, full of hope…………

Life is good; carpe diem, friends………………

A Cruise from Greenland to Quebec City

Photo by stein egil liland on

A few years ago, I had the good fortune to travel aboard a ship in a two week journey in the Arctic Circle from Greenland to Quebec City with one of my best friends. The trip was meaningful in so very many ways. It was chance to reconnect with my friend in ways I couldn’t even imagine because we had the luxury of time. Staying up late and talking well into the night in our cabin reminded me of talking well into the night with my college room mate, exchanging ideas and thoughts about life and living. What a wonderful gift to have the luxury of time in order to connect with another person so deeply. This cruise visited many wonderful sights, including L’Anse-Aux-Meadows in Newfoundland, Canada. L’Anse aux Meadows is the first and only known site established by Vikings in North America and the earliest evidence of European settlement in the New World. As such, it is a unique milestone in the history of human migration and discovery. To think that I might have been walking among the same path that Erik the Great once walked was so humbling. The cruise was memorable for many reasons but because of the people I encountered. Connections with people make all the world of difference to me.

This cruise was truly  life-changing because I met so many inspirational people.   I met a woman who grew up in East Berlin before the “wall” fell.  Her mother was a doctor, and her dad was a professor.  After the wall fell, her mother was no longer allowed to practice medicine but finally got an assistant job in a medical clinic with HIV patients.  Her dad ended up selling insurance.  Many of her parents’ friends committed suicide because the change in their lives was so difficult, yet this young woman saw the change as opportunity, even though it radically changed her world.  I couldn’t help but think that everything is perspective. We Americans thought the wall falling was a good thing, yet many of those in East Berlin may have thought it wasn’t such a good thing at the very same time. Very inspiring. Very life-changing.

I met an 88 year old man from England who sails on a cruise every month for the past fourteen years since his wife died.  Instead of pining indefinitely for her death, he has moved on, although he misses her.    He gave half of his business away to a friend because he no longer needed it, then gave the other half to another friend because his kids no longer needed the business.  His goal now in life is to be arrested for speeding when he is 110!  He said the secret to his success was to always be himself, work hard, and be kind to others.  Such a simple ideology that I share. 

I met the hotel director who eats dessert first (and sometimes two) every night. On occasion my friend and I eat dessert first now in deference to all that we learned on that wonderful journey.

I met the ship’s doctor who had served in Kosovo and Afganistan but still remains to be light-hearted and smiles a lot.

I met a couple from America. She used to be an opera singer who gave that up to open a pottery studio.  He used to be a high-powered marketing entrepreneur in Silicon Valley.  They decided to sail to New Zealand, and stopped in Hawaii for a few years along the way.  When they went to New Zealand, they loved the attitudes of the people and found them so refreshing that they decided to become citizens there. They now reside there and are citizens of New Zealand.

I met a German woman who lives in Abu Dhabi and works in Dubai.  She traveled on the cruise as single woman without any companions and is a strong and powerful woman, having overcome a difficult family and homelife as a child.

I met one kindred spirit who smiled at us when we first boarded the tender to get us to the ship in a tiny little cove in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland. This boarding was not what we expected, with make-shift home-made wooden steps, when we thought about the luxury cruise for which we signed up. The cruise line was French-speaking, so some of the conversations around us were difficult to understand with my limited French speaking ability. This beautiful kindred spirit near us spoke to us and simply said, “Strange, right?” in English. He is the first person who understood our thoughts about which we dared not speak. I felt like the “Emperor Who Wore New Clothes” looking around to all the others who thought the embarkation was wonderful, yet this stranger from Belgium who later became our friend had the courage to reach out to us with his similar thoughts. His joie de vivre that we had come to know on that ship still inspires us to this day. He reassured us that once on board, the cruise would be wonderful and luxurious, and he was right!

Finally one of the most magical moments of the that cruise was having the captain wake us up in the middle of the night over the PA system to see the Aurora Borealis one night. Seeing the Aurora Borealis was always on my bucket list, and I am humbled and grateful to have had the opportunity to see it.  It was magical. We all scrambled to the upper deck, with our parkas over our pajamas to catch a glimpse of what the ancient people in Greenland thought was the spirits of children who died at birth. The dancing of the children around and around caused the continually moving streamers seen in the Aurora.

Life is, indeed, good…………