Where in the world am I now?
I don't stop...
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To keep up, please subscribe.
Feel free to share this blog.
Visit @SailGirl Design on Instagram!
As I sit at our dining room table writing this post I can't help but smile. My life has been blessed beyond measure! Not only am I lucky enough to be heading into my 6th decade, I'm pretty healthy and thrilled to be quite active.
In January I resigned from my corporate job and have spent the past month and a couple weeks traveling (of course), putting my photography in an exhibition, providing. yoga videos focused on seniors for a new app called Oseterics, hanging out with family and friends in Portland and over at our new place at the Oregon Coast, among a myriad of other things. Most days I cannot imagine how I found time to work... oh right, it used to be the priority!
Steve and I traveled to Hawaii the week after I stopped work. It was a wonderful 2 weeks of exploration. We spent a week each on both Maui and Hawaii. Please have this blog opened in your browser to see the slideshow.
One of our most memorable experiences on Maui was sitting in a double kayak, watching the sunset behind Lanai, and having a whale pass beneath us... we were awestruck!!
This has been a challenging time for everyone. Over the past year and more I spent a lot of time walking around my neighborhood here in Portland. Things are now opening and people and out and about, bars are full and people are hanging out in the new outdoor seating that was added for COVID. The hood is hopping.
When life was shut down, I was still walking. No one was out and truthfully, it was depressing. The amazing thing that happened however was that I truly started to see. Noticing all the signs placed by artists in my "hood" became a life line.
Because of the signage and the feelings it helped bubble to the surface I also found myself writing haiku and was using images of my neighborhood and especially the signs to inspire me. If you want to see more, please visit my Instagram page (Sailgirl Design) and look for pictures of signage and Portland... I matched with haiku for many days..
The haiku I wrote to go along with this sign:
What saves you each day?
Family, Friends, Yoga, Prayer?
Love can save us all.
Thank goodness for art!
As a traveler, particularly one who likes to venture off the beaten path, I have had extreme toilet experiences. This may seem like an odd blog topic but these gorgeous outhouses from the Canadian National Park system convinced me that this topic must be broached. In light of the recent focus on toilet paper it seems like this is the time to share my photos and have a little light hearted discussion about toilets and travel.
Canada had toilets with a view. I couldn't fail to notice everywhere we ventured that the scenery and even the toities themselves were amazing! I couldn't resist taking photos. Here are a few of my favourites. Please open the blog in your browser so you can view the slide show.
Living and traveling SE Asia is a completely different story from the lovely Canadian loos. The pit toilets in many of these countries could make even the most avid adventure traveler a bit faint of heart. And although I am bringing this region and its toilets to light it is your lucky day, as I didn't dare hold a camera or even a phone out in the open in most of those locations. That said, do have one shot to share. The water bucket is for flushing... these are just never fun!
I've also had the privilege to visit Kenya. If you look closely at these toities there is a convoluted entry. We were told that this keeps animals out which I thoroughly appreciated although was skeptical. I wish I'd had one of these...
Have you tried one yet?
This is an odd blog topic but ever since our trip to Canada last summer I had hoped to share these pics with you. The current travel moratorium and TP hoarding is wearing me down and I eagerly await my next opportunity to experience a perilous and questionable bathroom experience. Stay healthy everyone!
I started this blog late last year... not sure why I never finished it but likely it was just that life got in the way. I'm finding that this pandemic has gotten me writing again... Join me on last year's vacation and possibly beyond.
During the summer and fall of 2018 the Pacific Northwest was literally on fire. My partner and I had hoped to head to Glacier Park and on to Canada but alas, it was not meant to be. This past September (2019) was a totally different story. We finished up at my family reunion in northern Idaho on the beautiful St. Joseph river over Labor Day weekend and headed straight for Montana and beyond. Rain was never far off but we enjoyed some spectacular scenery just the same.
Montana is the birthplace of my mother. As a child, I spent many a summer swimming in Flathead Lake with cousins and riding ponies around their family farms. It is a magical place and deserves its nickname, "Big Sky Country." We learned a few things on this trip... number one, you must reserve campsites well ahead in Glacier Park and in most popular parks in Canada. Our lack of planning made our trip a bit challenging but we still had a ball! Enjoy the slide shows by viewing this blog in your browser. Here are some of our favourite shots from the Montana part of our trip.
Onward from Glacier we headed north into Canada. As I mentioned the weather was not kind, but we drove from the border all the way to Jasper, stopping along the way to camp and take in the scenery. We were very lucky to get some reservations at Lake O'Hara. Camping in the rain was less than stellar but we had some time to hike without raindrops and take in the absolute beauty of the area and enjoy the campsite set up as well. It was worth tolerating the drizzle! The slide show below shows some of my favourite shots. Enjoy the Canadian Rockies!
AWe wrapped up our trip on my birthday by spending the night back in civilisation and in a comfy dry Marriott bed! Vancouver is such a wonderful city. We had some tasty food in Chinatown, went to the Chinese Gardens, and wandered along the water looking at boats and exploring downtown.
This spring, spending our time trying to be physically distant but also working hard to maintain our social connections, we have to look forward to all the adventures to come. At least that is what I remind myself when I am feeling deflated. I hope you enjoyed this little photoblog through our eyes. Please check out some of my past blog posts if you are feeling even more daring. You can experience multiple countries, amazing food, and even some sailing.
While we wait out this pandemic let's be kind to each other. Peace.
Oh yes! I cannot forget to mention the very last night on the road was spent at a special concert... I cried as Elton walked off the stage. What a performer!
Earlier this year I spent two weeks in Haiti.
Employees of BD can apply for volunteer service trips that the company supports in partnership with NGOs around the world. These trips are amazing opportunities! The employee is considered working while serving in another country, providing manpower to support a local project and improve the community. BD associates must apply and interview; If chosen, the trip is completely paid and you do not have to take vacation time to be involved. My original trip was planned to support a similar mission in Cameroon last year. Due to political upheaval, security was of great concern. The Cameroon trip was delayed, delayed... then finally cancelled. We were informed we would be going to Haiti more than a year later!
My role for this trip was to train Community Health Workers on general healthcare topics such as Hypertension, Diabetes, Stroke, Communicable Diseases, and more. BD's service trips require you to apply for specific positions that suit the project. The CHW training roles were open to healthcare professionals, particularly but not necessarily nurses. The NGO we worked with on this trip is Heart to Heart International. They do great work all around the globe and have had a Haitian presence since the earthquake to continue their amazing work. The newest project was to build a clinic in a neighbourhood market to serve the local sellers. Most of the sellers are women that work many hours a week running their market stalls. Their schedule and life challenges minimize their access to healthcare. The new market clinic brings healthcare to them. The clinic is staffed with doctors and nurses as well as non-medical folks, the healthcare workers (or agents as they were called in Haiti), that go out into the market providing follow up, further education, and support. It is an amazing strategy to enhance the health of the community.
As a frequent solo traveller to developing countries and someone who has actually lived as an expat in more than one developing country, my experience in Haiti was very different from some of my co-workers. The opportunity to teach four community health agents, be honoured with their full attention, and feel their eagerness to learn was by far what impacted me the most during my stay. My observations of their commitment to improve the lives of those they would touch in their role inspired me. While many of my fellow associates were challenged by the food (fish served with heads and goat :) and the abject poverty we saw on outings, I was most affected by living completely behind the compound's walls. BD and Heart to Heart had such a large group that we were housed in two compounds, very close together. I am not a good judge of distance but seemed to be about a football field's distance apart. For safety, and I totally understand the ramifications, we were not allowed to walk between. We had to be driven, from one walled compound to the other. Haiti is an extremely challenging place, and safety is a constant concern. Each of our compounds were surrounded by high cement walls topped with razor wire or glass shards and closed off by huge solid metal gates. There were guards, and dogs. This all provided safety, for those of us inside. All I could think about were the folks outside the walls and having any chance to interact with them and see some of the beauty of Haiti, outside of Port-au-Prince.
My volunteer role was to teach the agents. They came to the Heart to Heart compound for training so I was only able to venture out from behind the walls twice in two weeks. One trip, we went to an expat grocery. When I travel, I often do try to get to local stores and buy any local items available. I bought spicy peanut butter in Haiti and of course, coffee. The second outing was to visit Papillon. This organization was started by an American woman who originally planned to adopt a Haitian orphan and in the process, realised that most orphans in Haiti are not created by parents dying, but instead by parents so poor they choose to relinquish their children because they literally cannot feed them. Many mothers and fathers still visit their children while living in orphanages, bringing them an occasional treat. These are the children that American (and other) families have adopted. This breaks my heart... how can a country so close to the USA and Canada be the poorest country in the western hemisphere? Adopting the children may give them a better life but why not help their parents provide for them? This is the mission of Papillon, Shelley and her team. https://papillonmarketplace.com/pages/our-story Please visit the website and consider purchasing their work!
We also visited Croix- de-Boquet, a community of artists creating beauty out of steel drums. Please see my slide show below for some pics. (Make sure you open this blog in your browser to enable the slide show.) I carried home multiple pieces of this art and hope to return someday for more!
Back to some thoughts on walls... The USA is embroiled in a fight around a Wall. Some people believe that crossing our southern border with a physical barrier will make us "safer." I noted in Haiti that there were many walls. Walls surrounded most living compounds of anyone with means, but as noted above, people also had razor wire, guards, dogs, alarms, cameras, and more. I got the feeling that although a barrier may slow someone down, it would not stop them. When people are hungry, when they are oppressed, when they and their children are in danger, when the gap between the haves and have-nots is so wide it requires "protection" of one from the other, walls are only a brief deterrent. It takes much more than a wall to stop people who don't see another way to survive. Would those behind walls be safe without them in Haiti? I doubt so. Do I understand the reason why we didn't get to walk 100 yards down a street during daylight between our compounds? I do. Particularly as an employee and volunteer of a wonderful company, supporting another amazing organization. I've spent my life so far meeting people where they are at, sharing my smile, and giving of myself, even if it is just to show another deep respect. So far, this has provided for safe interactions, interesting experiences, and likely emboldens me. Someday, my openness to others may result in harm. I choose to walk that line, with awareness and appropriate caution but with love.
My time in Haiti was bittersweet. It reminded me of so many of the places I've been, where the gap between people who feel safe vs those that do not is wider than the blessed among us should allow. Living behind a wall, for two weeks, with only two brief day trips outside was very difficult for me but gave me pause to think, a lot. The questions I ask now include- "What did I learn about myself? What can I do to break down walls, to encourage justice where I am at and beyond?
So many questions... I'm still pondering them.
As someone that seeks out travel and adventure opportunities, I was lucky enough to have one drop into my lap at the perfect time. Although I do love Portland, this winter has been ridiculously cloudy, wet, and cold. My body has been perpetually chilled and I have been craving sun. In fact, when the sun has so rarely shown itself, months on end, it has made everyone here a bit nutty when it does appear. Over a month ago, (I believe the only sunny day in March), the sky was gloriously clear. My stomach was growling so I stopped into one of my favourite restaurants and everyone was exceptionally and hilariously cheerful! It made me smile to notice the impact that a day with promise had made on everyone around me. But, I digress... on to Bermuda!
Bermuda has a mystical intrigue to someone with a sailing background. It is in the middle of literally nowhere, 600 nautical miles off the coast of North Carolina, and is the recognised northernmost point of the Bermuda Triangle.
Juan Bermudez, a Spanish sea captain was the first person to claim the island in 1503. Subsequent visitors, if they were lucky, survived shipwreck on the reefs surrounding Bermuda. The first settlement was a lucky group of Europeans on their way to the New World in 1609. The British crown took over administration of the island in 1684.
Bermuda is a gem. The island is only 22 square miles and inhabited by approximately 65,000 residents. The houses are painted a variety of shades but roofs are traditionally white washed with a limestone mixture. I really can't describe how quaint this lovely island is. You may have to check it out yourself!
The beaches, particularly on the southern shore have a pinkish glow and are a soft as powdered sugar. The turquoise sea, fading to deep blue just a bit further offshore is dreamy. This time of year the high air tempurature was only about 70 F but it was nice and warm in the bright sunshine and my body soaked up as much vitamin D as I dared allow. The water was a bit chilly as well but I spent time stand up paddle boarding and kayaking which were perfect ways to pass the time at the beach.
We stayed in Hamilton for a few days and then spent a few days on the south shore. Bermuda is fairly expensive, particularly food and drink. The America's Cup will be held there in approximately a month's time. Wish I were going to be on the island.
Make sure to click on the title so you can see the slideshow and enjoy a few more pics of Bermuda... you may just book a ticket. I know I'd like to go back!
My most recent employer was based in Goleta, California. You may have never heard of this town but I'm sure you've heard of its neighbour, Santa Barbara. Recently, I attended a training session at the corporate office that lasted eight days. This kept me in the area over the weekend and gave the chance to see a National Park I haven't been to before- The Channel Islands. I only had time to hit one island and chose Santa Cruz. It was beautiful!
California has had record rainfall. This has made everything so green it currently resembles Ireland, no kidding!
To access these islands you must take a boat, which I love to do. Any day on a boat is a good day in my book.
Another day I drove the loop behind Santa Barbara through wine country. No wine was involved but a few more hikes and overlooks are documented in the pics below.
Take a look at the slide show below in your browser- the captions tell the story.
Oh, and for those of you wondering... I am returning to BD as the Alaris Sales Training/Process Manager so look out BD peeps, you will be seeing me soon in sunny San Diego!
Many of you know I love Rockaway Beach, OR. No surprises there...
The beach is always full of surprises... the weather, the ocean, the locals and more. Today found me with a huge smile as I looked down the beach and thought I saw the ugliest dog ever. As Mom and I walked and we caught up to the couple with their animal on a lead we realised it was a billy goat!
You always hear that there is a first time for everything- this was certainly a first!
Stay tuned for more fun blogs highlighting my time back in the USA! Just thought this was the perfect kick off.
It's been awhile since I've posted. Life has been full of twists and turns.