Thursday, June 13, 2024

Make it a carpe diem summer: go camping, take the cruise, plan a trip

Veteran cruisers, Christene "Cookie" Meyers and Bruce Keller have made travel and cruising the
world a priority.  They offer enthusiastic endorsement to those "on the fence" about cruising.
Bruce Keller, Christene Meyers, Rick Cosgriffe and Jane Milder at Rome's Trevi Fountain.





Afternoon tea aboard Queen Mary 2 is a delightful, albeit
decadent, indulgence, here enjoyed by Bruce Keller and
 Christene "Cookie" Meyers. If you've dreamed of crossing the
Atlantic in style aboard this true ocean liner, now's the time.
We're only here a brief time, so make the most of it.

"We are always getting ready to live but never living." 
               --Ralph Waldo Emerson




Dear friends John and Sue lived life fully
and traveled the world before his death
this week, after a 7-month battle with cancer.
it with you. We just lost a dear friend in Yorkshire who lived life to the hilt. While John is deeply missed, it is a comfort to remember that he and his beloved wife, Sue, worked hard for many years before they began a few years ago to travel the world.

Sure, they had more trips in mind, but they packed a lot into their years together. (I'll write more about John and Sue nearer the celebration of his life in July.)

Here in the serene setting of our Beartooth Mountains retreat, I urge readers to "do it now."  Robins sing, a pair of young rabbits just hopped by on their way to raid our petunias and  hummingbirds are dipping into the nectar. 

We both wanted to see the penguins off the southern tip
of South America.  Dream fulfilled, a huge thrill.
Life goes on, despite accidents, tragedies, death. The sun rises and sets with or without us. Why wait if there's something you dearly want to do. Why not now?

Cookie and Keller on a drizzly but glorious
Atlantic crossing aboard Queen Mary 2.
IF YOU'VE thought of a trip, perhaps treating the family or a dear friend, do it.  If you haven't yet made the first steps, grab your phone. Start a trip NOW.
Do you dream of climbing Mt. Fuji, eyeing a Galapagos tortoise?
Have you longed to stroll the streets of Paris and have dinner with an Eifel Tower view? Time's a wasting.
I WOULD NOT trade a single trip I've taken, since my first road trips as a child with my parents and grandparents. Journeys to see great-aunties in Kansas, Oklahoma and Chicago, then more trips in my fath
The cave walk in Zion
National Park is a wonder.
er's airplanes:  a Cessna, Mooney, Bellanca. On this last long trip, Keller and I traveled more than 22,000 miles. Each day, we thanked our lucky stars that we could see the world together, enjoying peaceful Atlantic crossings, a train adventure in the Swiss Alps, concerts in Spain, a tuk-tuk ride in Portugal, and a reunion with my brother Rick, our third meeting in Europe, each one decades apart.
WE BOTH realize that life is short and each day precious. The simple act of getting on a train and hoisting a suitcase can be taxing if one is battling illness, or the exigencies of aging. If you're feeling fit now, remember the clock is ticking.
Sure, not everyone can afford travel outside the country.  But you can get a taste of foreign lands right here in the U.S.
Cookie and Keller a few weeks ago, ending
a two-month trip which covered 
Solvang, California, for instance, is a charming Swedish village. Vancouver and Victoria, B.C., are built around water and offer European and British sophistication. 
OUR NATIONAL parks are treasures, and for most of us, a park is nearby. It doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg to plan a weekend camping trip or a park drive.
For us, travel is a priority and we cut back on other areas to take the trips we so cherish.  So even if you have limited funds, it is possible to achieve travel goals.  Make a plan, draft a budget, cut back on something you won't miss. Do you really need a Starbucks every time you go grocery shopping? Do you need that new blouse or shoes?
A swim with dolphins was on the bucket list for Keller
 and Cookie, here at Hilton Waikoloa Village on Hawaii.
How about doing your own nails or having a friend cut your hair in exchange for something you bake or a musical afternoon if you're talented. Do you need the regular housekeeper, or can you clean yourself? You'll be amazed at places you could save.
TRAVEL'S BENEFITS are multiple: stress reduction, memory building, friendship forging, horizon expanding. Travel encourages flexibility, creativity and improvisation. 
If  your budget is stretched this year, and a big
trip is not possible, consider a visit to a nearby
 forest, botanical garden or national park.
 For me, travel reduces stress and anxiety, and helps me disconnect from the pressures of daily life. It  promotes happiness, makes me feel calmer and more content.
Travel helps me realize my capabilities by putting me in challenging situations where I am forced to improvise, navigate the unknown and accomplish new things. Without the stretch and its creativity,  I wouldn't have pushed myself, set new goals.
Travel teaches life skills, helps me adapt to new environments, appreciate diversity. Travel is the enemy of racism and prejudice.  It increases tolerance and acceptance of others as we realize how much we have in common as humans.
You don't have to be a millionaire to follow  your dreams....
Remember what the bard said:   "I wasted time, and now doth time waste me." 
For itineraries on your dream trip, or to book, check out our favorite cruise lines:
And for answers to your national park questions: 
Concert goers make the climb to Domo, for a concert by
world class musicians. The season is underway for
2024, with various bike, hiking and geo tours planned
along with the season of concerts by famed musicians.
Domo is inspired by Italian cathedrals, as a kind of
"open air" concert hall with splendid acoustics.
The season is beginning at Tippet Rise Art Center, an internationally acclaimed arts venue located on an 12,000 acre working ranch not far from the writer's summer home, in southcentral Montana. Various activities are offered at the sculpture and music venue , north of Yellowstone National Park. We were on the ground floor, writing the first major article about the unique and appealing center. Established in 2016, Tippet Rise presents concerts of classical music and exhibits large-scale contemporary outdoor sculptures, including an Alexander Calder piece which greets visitors.

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