Posts Tagged ‘travel’

There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven’t yet met. William Butler Yeats

When some people hear the word travel, their eyes light up Christmas-tree bright. Mishaps slow eager travelers’ tales long enough for a comma’s breath. These individuals could spend a week in an airport, then fall off a camel unharmed. They have the stamina of a million-year-old rock.

I scarcely know my right from my left and have turned the wrong way inside a restroom. Airport Terminals One and Two could be different continents. I would rather be in a guillotine line than a queue for customs.

Once I enter the plane, I see the goal with reasonable clarity. However, getting that far doesn’t always seem worth it.

For me the possibility of meeting friends makes the decision a worthwhile gamble.

The Best of Ireland Tour, sponsored by Trafalgar, could turn me into one of those irritating globe travelers. Okay, once I get beyond the irritating places. Maybe. No one can claim a win from the starting line.

Our tour guide acts as an expert social catalyst. She has a sense of humor. I laugh. And sing. With ease. The song doesn’t need to have Irish roots; it needs to be sincere and come from my heart. This group knows the difference.

The history of Ireland suddenly becomes mine even though my ancestors came from Alsace-Lorraine. Irish history is human. The story of oppression. The story of one ruling group taking over another as if farmers and their families were things and potatoes were commodities, instead of the only food the people had.

Beautiful land and impressive castles seem to sanitize the past. Yet, memory and memorials hold the truth.

In Dublin the colors of the doors stand out: blue, red, yellow, or white. Our tour guide explains. When Prince Albert died, Queen Victoria declared that all the doors of the kingdom be painted black in mourning. The Irish rebelled. The brightness remains.

Time to leave. My husband and I pack our bags, larger now with gifts for our family. I struggle, but not for long. Both fellow coach travelers and world travelers help me lift my load.

I pray kind action be contagious. Simple, yet powerful. One gesture to help rather than center on self, me-only. Peace. A long-term goal. Yes. Yet worth the effort.


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The answers you seek never come when the mind is busy; they come when the mind is still, when silence speaks loudest. (Leon Brown)

If my husband never planned a vacation I suspect I would never travel. Getting from one side of a maze-like restaurant to the other is enough of a challenge for me. However, Jay has a knack for finding the best places at the best times. Perhaps some generous heavenly spirit guides his selection. We may never know, and it doesn’t matter. I’d rather savor the gift than analyze it.

The Blue Water Motel on Route 21 in Grand Bend, Ontario is walking distance from Lake Huron. Pinery Provincial Park is a fifteen-minute drive away. The owners of the motel act as if they were our next-door neighbors, ready to help when we need anything. The guests in other rooms act as if they have known us all their lives, even if we neglect to add eh at the end of our sentences now and then. Yes, Jay and I seem to be the only non-Canadians.

I consider this place a plus since we were not looking for wax museums and endless T-shirt shops. Sure, there is a shopping-restaurant-ice-cream strip with an old-fashioned boat-and-pier flavor to it, but it extends along one or two streets. In fact, Jay and I almost missed it. The lake and beach called louder.

Blue Water Motel07202015_0000

Jay, the quintessential extrovert, relaxes when he interacts with other people, maybe has a beer. (I am grateful that when he says one-beer he is referring to a twelve-ounce can of Alexander Keith, perhaps two, never a keg.) I love the opportunity to edit without worrying about the phone, preparing meals, or washing as many dishes as one sink can hold—even if I do like to cook. I can focus on deleting stray commas and reconstructing sentences that look as if they were prepared in a blender. My good friend, Nancy Johnson, helps me via e-mail from miles south.

Perhaps she and I are separated by an International border and a six-hour drive, but the motel’s free Wi-Fi makes it possible for us to communicate. She finds errors that sneak into what-I-think-should-be-on-the-page. And I smile the width of the room with gratitude. Thank you, Nancy. And thank you, God. You gave me a great friend!

I don’t stay indoors all day, however. Canada is far too beautiful for me to make that choice. And this sixty-nine-year-old body needs exercise or it will cramp into one arthritic knot. My shoes bring back souvenirs in the form of sand.

Let one photo speak.

Lake Huron shore

In the evening we discover the sunset on Lake Huron. While my hubby may be outspoken and I’m introspective, we both enjoy nature. Neither one of us needs to say much. The horizon takes over the show. And we savor the joy of simply being. I photograph a younger couple from the back. They appear anonymous, unidentifiable,  as both old and young watch the powers of nature. It is  greater than anyone silhouetted against it .


In the silence of a departing day we watch as the sun touches the horizon. Intense light contrasts the darkness, accepts both, and gives birth to color. No journey is perfect, but the serendipity is worth the effort.

Peace upon all. And a special thank you to Mark and Laura Boogemans for a delightful stay at your motel. Maybe, if we are lucky, we can visit again next year.

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