A Sparkly New Year From a Different Perspective

Planning 2016

The map spreads out before me, so expansive that I am easily overwhelmed. 

After almost thirty-two…32…30+…more than three decades, of being in one profession, I’m retiring from law enforcement. My road has been very defined for most, if not all, of my life. That’s about to change drastically.

As I look back in review, there have been ups and downs, but overall, I’m proud of the work I’ve done and how I’ve served my community. I’ll write more about that later, but for now, I’m looking forward to a bright and sparkly new year.

It’s strange, scary, exciting, intimidating…I’m not sure I can even name all the emotions that flash by quickly like an out of control slide show.  So, what do you do when life opens up and you’re walking a path you’ve never been on before? Here’s my plan.

The year will begin as it has for decades, with a relaxed timeout for an inventory and then a rough mapped route of where I want my life to travel this year. Even better, I’m facilitating a group session on mapping out the new year with my favorite people, some I know and some I will soon meet.

A new year always seems like a fresh start, building upon the foundation I’ve set over the years. While I’ve thought a lot about my path moving forward, it’s still opening a door to a place I’ve never been before.

So, I’ll be looking at life from a new perspective with lots of available choices. So, I’m choosing to have a sparkly, fun and adventure filled new year and I’m planning to share my journey here. Stay tuned!

What do you choose for the new year?

Preparing for a 10 Hour Layover

skyline of Frankfurt at Hauptwache
The layover hits almost right in the middle of my 40 hours of travel to Cape Town, South Africa. 40 hours? Yes, 40 hours, 10 of it in Frankfurt, Germany.

I can choose the very conservative option of playing it safe and hang at the airport. It may be less stressful, but I think sitting for ten hours in preparation for my 11 hour flight to Johannesburg would drive me crazy.

The other option is to take the train from the airport into downtown Frankfurt to visit a few of the sights and to have an early dinner that includes anything other than airport food. The ability to get my body moving and my blood pumping sounds great. While I’ll be careful about what I plan so that I’m back in the airport in plenty of time for my next flight, I can still take a few hours to see a very small part of Frankfurt. It’s a beautiful city in the country of my ancestors and I don’t want to miss out.

Here is how I’ve prepared:

  1. Reviewed and printed the map for the Frankfurt airport
  2. The train to downtown actually leaves from the terminal where I’ll be and there is an information booth nearby where I can get the scoop prior to leaving
  3. Checked out possible places I want to visit on Trip Advisor and other tourism sites
  4. Discovered I can leave my carry on luggage at airport storage so I can travel light
  5. Made sure my travel outfit will include comfortable shoes and a jacket

I’m looking forward to this part of my trip almost as much as the rest. It will be good to get out an walk for a few hours. I have a few surprises planned and will be posting photos.

Do you play it safe on long layovers or go experience new adventures while you are on the ground?

Help Two Sisters Looking For Adventure

Freezing Cold

The telephone rang early yesterday morning.

Me: “Hmrrr….mrmmrh….mellow?”
Wendy:  “I c-c-c-can’t handle this any…more!”
Me: “Hmmmm?” 
Wendy: “It’s 11 degrees below zero….”

Her teeth were chattering so loudly, I had to move the phone away from my ear.

It has been a very cold winter in Denver just like most areas of the country. We’re 11 degrees below zero while Sochi, Russia, home of the Winter Olympics, is in the 40’s.

After I finally woke up enough to have a semi-intelligent discussion with my sister, we decided we needed to take a trip someplace fun in the next four or five months….some place we can look forward to during this freezing weather. But…where?

There are so many incredible places to go that we don’t even know exist. How do we make the most of our travel budget and still experience a great adventure? We decided to ask the experts…all of you. Can you help us?

Here are the parameters:

  • Budget of $1,000 or $500 each
  • Five day trip
  • Someplace off the beaten path (Wendy)
  • No strict agenda (Wendy and Jennifer)
  • Someplace that is or has an unexpected surprise (Wendy)
  • Things to do besides sit on the beach (Jennifer)
  • Wonderful places and people to photograph (Jennifer)

Airfare and souvenir shopping will be considered extra, so those costs will be in addition to our $1,000 budget. Other than that, everything will be included: meals, rental car (if needed), lodging, tolls, etc.

Not only will we be selecting a place out of those you suggest, we’ll be blogging about our trip, including budget updates and photographs, so you can follow us every step of the way. We plan to travel in late June or early July. Please comment and leave any links you think will be helpful for us to see. Each week, we’ll summarize the suggestions and let you know how things are going.

In April, we’ll narrow the list down to the final three. Then, everyone can vote later in the month and we’ll travel to the destination chosen by all of you. We’ll even send a postcard to everyone who suggested a viable destination and a souvenir to the person who recommended the location we visit. (excludes spammers)

Wendy and I know of a few places, but all of you know thousands. We are eagerly looking forward to your ideas. Please help us expand our search for the perfect sister’s trip destination by sharing this post with friends who may have great recommendations, too.

A Work In Progress

stickerLooking back over the years, I remember having lists of things to accomplish. Sometimes they were just a fixture in my brain, while others I actually wrote down and revisited on a regular basis. A lot of amazing things came as a result of working toward these goals.

I’m not sure when I stopped paying attention and let life run its course. Not that things have been bad, but I think I settled in and stopped stretching. It’s amazing how much the world can shrink when I let myself get into a rut. There’s so much more out there and I’m not done learning, creating and contributing.

After almost thirty years in my current job, I’ve set my retirement date on or before January 12th, 2019. It’s a scary thought in some ways and very exciting in others. When I think of retirement, it’s really just leaving my current job to move on to my next adventure. What is it? I’m not quite sure.

Five years seems like a long time, but I know it will pass quickly. So, over the next few weeks, I’ll begin putting together my list of things to accomplish. This time, they’ll all be in writing.

My life, even at almost 55, is a work in progress. Now, where should I begin?

Never too Late

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Elsa, you go girl!!

I’m definitely one who loves a new adventure. Adventure is a relative term. I don’t climb mountains or jump out of planes. I don’t even hike or bike for days at a time. I do love to travel to unusual places. I’m not a beach and umbrella drink kind of girl, at least for more than a day or two. When I go on vacation, I want to go where “no man” has gone before. Or at least where most people aren’t interested in going.

Why? For several reasons…first of all, I don’t like crowds. I like to be able to see, contemplate and really take in a new experience. I met a friend a few weeks ago that I only have known on social media. She cracked me up when she told me she didn’t really like people in general. I have those times, so I can definitely relate. I’m an introvert and I like to be alone sometimes, or almost alone, so I can recharge my batteries, so to speak.

The second reason I travel to places like Antarctica and Africa is because I’m fascinated by nature and wildlife. One of my favorite channels to watch is the National Geographic channel. A beach is a beach is a beach. I can be served drinks on a beach in Florida or Mexico or Tel Aviv. There are only a few places in the world where I can see three cheetah hunt zebra and where I can take a photograph that has cheetah in the foreground with wildebeest and zebra watching them. Oh, did I forget to mention that there is an elephant grazing (do elephants graze?) in the far background. And…there are only a few places where you can see polar bears in the wild.

Which brings me back to Elsa. Elsa, at 100, is headed to Churchill, Manitoba to see the polar bears. If my timing is right, she is flying with a group from Winnipeg today to board the Tundra Lodge in Churchill for several days worth of “once in a lifetime” polar bear viewing. A Natural Habitat Adventure staff member heard about her desire to go and the company made it happen. I love it when people help others make their dreams come true.

Elsa, you inspire me. I hope I am experiencing new things my whole life, too. Just wish I was there to see your face when you see the first of many polar bears. I’ll be there in a few weeks sharing your delight. We are both lucky girls.

Missing Green Chile Soup

My nephew, Joey, has taken on a brave adventure by moving to Taiwan for his work. It’s been a good time in his life to make that choice. He’s made a lot of new friends and has had incredible opportunities. It was so good to see him when he came “home” for Christmas to be with our family. He made a Taiwanese dish that included shrimp with the heads still attached. That was a new one for all of us and very delicious. It was fun to see even the most adventurous family members a bit squeamish when they tore off the heads. His adventure has created more adventure for us.

I think his move also makes him appreciate some things that he may have taken granted before…including green chile soup. I just had to capture a photo of him taking a picture of the soup to take back with him to Taiwan. I wonder if his new friends will be tasting green chile soup anytime soon. Cheers to new adventures!

Missing Green Chili Soup