Close to home

Today will take me 115 miles west to a small Minnesota town.  Although I have elected the fastest route utilizing the interstate, the miles will still be long and solitary with lots and lots of green to view.  These drives allow me to relax and let my mind drift to whatever topic it needs to explore.

This is the travel of my work and I find it so pleasant!  Gone are the anxious feelings brought on by too much traffic, congestion and missed appointments.  My days in California are behind me now.

The country roads of Iowa and Southeastern Minnesota are beautiful and peaceful; farms of rich soil and abundant produce cover the area.  Sometimes the only other vehicle I encounter for hundreds of miles is a tractor.  The roads are flat for the most part and run straight for many miles at a time which is almost hypnotic in a way but also cleansing for my spirit.  Winter drives enchant me with the blowing and drifting snow swirling before me and the total quiet of the air;  Spring and summer rains wash the dust off my car and my windshield wipers provide a syncopated soothing rhythm.

I look forward to my drives because they allow me to watch the progress of the seasons as they march through the plains.  I am thankful to be in this place and able to enjoy and appreciate it.



When I was 2 or 3 I enjoyed stacking blocks and my brother enjoyed knocking them down.  I learned, at that young age, how to rebuild.  In my teens I allowed my desire for acceptance to leave me vulnerable to rejection.  When my ego was crushed by disappointment, I learned how to rebuild my self confidence.

Each day I am provided with news that tells the story of something or someone(or community) that has been knocked down and stands at the edge of their choice to rebuild.

Today I recognize Orlando, Florida where a terrible massacre occurred yesterday in the early morning.  The parents, sisters, brothers, friends and neighbors touched by death and injury will have to learn to rebuild their trust that the world is still safe.  In the larger community, an awareness and tolerance for our differences as human beings must begin to rebuild and strengthen.

Rebuild.  We do it every day, in some way.


Lobster Crawl planning

Succulent, buttery lobster has been on my mind.  For a few years now, I’ve wanted to take a trip back to New England to see the fall foliage and pursue my desire for lobster.

Years ago, my sister and I met in Boston and traveled up to Maine while staying in bed and breakfasts along the way and enjoying the local cuisine.  I don’t recall that she was as willing to seek out lobster as I was but she never complained when we made another meal of seafood our priority.  I discovered Lobster Rolls for the first time and am salivating while writing about it now.

My first thought, as a cruising aficionado and agent, would be to combine the trip with a cruise up the coast.  I’ve checked available itineraries from various cruise lines.  I am excited about cruising anytime, anywhere but for lobster to remain my focus, I think this has to be a land-based trip.

I’m a little overwhelmed by the sheer number of lobster offerings on the coast and since I can’t eat more than a few meals(of lobster) a day I have to be pretty selective about my itinerary.  If I make this a 5 day trip and have 10 lobster meals that means I can choose up to 10 restaurants and lobster shacks to visit on my trip.  Finding these eateries will determine everything:  the airport I arrive at and the car I will rent and the roads I will travel and the places I will stay.

Wish me luck and let me know if you have any favorite lobster places from Massachusetts to Maine!

We all came from somewhere

I’ve been watching the migration of refugees into Europe and reflecting on the movement of peoples and the changes they bring.

Being of European descent, I have always felt at home when traveling in Europe.  I know that I am the outsider from America and that I don’t really fit in like a local but I try to respect the host country’s customs and enjoy the environment and culture I am visiting.  I know that my ancestors brought a part of the European culture to America and used it as a foundation for building their new life.

Watching the refugees flow into Europe – and other parts of the world – reminds me that we all came from somewhere.  Very few of us are indigenous.  Back in our ancestral dna was an intrepid soul that felt the need to move.  My husband has ancestors that moved because their family lands had already been divided out and nothing was available for the younger sons.  I have Irish ancestors that moved because their lands were no longer life-sustaining. I have Eastern European ancestors that moved because of the oppression of their government.  Everyone moved because they were seeking change and opportunity to provide a better life for themselves and their family.  I like to believe that each generation has added something to strengthen their new community.

It’s part of the movement of life and we must embrace those refugees and give them the opportunities that we all had at sometime in our lineage.

Cruising is a great way for you to see Europe – I can help you personalize the perfect trip.  Visit my website at

Middle America

California, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, South Dakota are all in the rear view mirror as we settle into our lake home in Minnesota. Our road trip from the west coast took 6 days and we admired the beautifully changing countryside as we headed east.  The moving truck arrived and all has been set into the house – but the house is not ready for us to unpack due to renovations.  So I escape to the beauty of this place and find serenity in nature.

The mornings are spectacular as viewed through our kitchen window.  The large winged pelicans gracefully glide into the water ready to snatch a fish or two as they jump out of the water for bugs.   The great heron stands patiently and turns it’s long elegant neck from side to side like a periscope looking out to the horizon.  The mother duck and her nine ducklings pass under the dock and begin bobbing their heads into the muddy shoreline searching for breakfast.  The day is new and full of promise.  I love the early mornings on the lake!

Evening with friends

I am blessed with good friends that enjoy travel as much as I do.  While we may have different destinations, it is always enjoyable to get together and share our stories.  Last evening I dined with some good friends to catch up on our lives.  The weather was perfect; calm and near 70 degrees Fahrenheit.  The sunset cast it’s beautiful colors across the lightly clouded sky as we watched from our patio table next to the little lake.  I forget sometimes how wonderful my little corner of the world can be!

One of my friends had just returned from a trip to Puerto Vallarta. She was traveling with a 93 year old woman and two other women in their late 50’s.  She’s in her early 70’s so they made a lively group of senior ladies.  Her stories had me in tears from laughter; it encourages me to know that the desire to travel and experience new things will stay with us throughout our lives.  It’s more important than ever to keep myself healthy to enjoy it!

My 5 favorite travel necessities

It doesn’t matter if I’m heading for an overnite with my sister or a month-long cruise; there are five things that are always part of my trip.  If you keep these stored in your luggage you will always be ready to go!

  1. Spacebags for clothing. The medium and large sizes are perfect for your garments and fit nicely in a typical 21” carryon bag.   Be sure to get the kind that expel air without a vacuum.  I usually just fill the bag with my clothes and lay on top of it until all the air comes out.  These things allow you to organize your clothing for easy unpacking at your destination because you can use one for pants, one for shirts, one for dresses, etc.  They protect your clothing from moisture, spills and smells.  They are great for separating your dirty clothes from the clean ones when you are packing to go home.
  2. Hanging toiletry bag.  This “go to” bag contains everything I need in small sized containers.  It’s always ready to go with my essentials.  I just add my makeup bag and hairbrush.  When at my destination, it comes out of the suitcase and hangs in the bathroom either on a towel rack or hook.  This clears the small bathroom counter for other things!
  3. TSA approved clear bag for carryon liquids. Invest in a strong clear vinyl bag with zip top and keep your carryon liquids ready to go anytime!  These will be less prone to puncture and leakage and because they are more substantial, I find it easy to pull out and put back during the security process.
  4. Kipling bag. These stylish lightweight bags are made of durable nylon with lots of zippered compartments.  My favorite style is the crossbody flat bag with three zippered full sized compartments and additional layered zippers in rows on the front.  I can put passports in one section; etickets and confirmations in another.  I can keep my currencies separated and allocate a specific pocket for my travel receipts.  There’s still room for a camera and phone and maps!
  5. Packing cube for electronics. Make sure you have all your chargers and cords and universal adapters in one place.

Enjoy your trip knowing you didn’t forget anything because you are so organized!