Start now! See the World!


Presentation at MidLife Show, 29 October 2016

My purpose today is to help you get started.  You won’t see the world in one year … however, we can start dreaming today together on the next step.  If you start now, join a travel club, put your intentions out to the universe … I can assist you to see the world.

Be open to the inspiration of travel.

Travel changes lives.  Travel is inspiring.

Travel can be affordable, fun and do-able when you travel as part of a group.

You will venture to places you now don’t even maybe know are there.

You will experience bucket list destinations.

You will enrich your midlife.  Bring your family, bring your friends, or come out and meet new travel companions.  The world is here for you!

Summer of 2014 I retired from Government work after almost 30 years as a Probation Officer.

But before then I was looking for different ideas for business, and for income.  I don’t receive a full pension because, like many of you, I was working part time to stay home to care for my children when they were small.  I have almost always had multiple jobs and interests.

The Retirement years are full of possibility.  I started to think about how I wanted to spend my time and then I began to imagine how I could put that together.

For the first 18 months or so I travelled …. I am still travelling and yet now I have found I want more structure (and income) so I have gone back to work – related but not as intense kind of work…..To help pay for my lifestyle choices.


1.       I retired end of July 2014 and left very soon thereafter for a lovely Baltic cruise for two weeks with my partner and some women from the Womens Travel Club.  We made great friends and saw amazing sights.  Then 4 days in London England.  My travel buddies flew home and I flew to Naples Italy.  I was met there by more women from the Travel Club and we stayed a few days before a week in Sorrento at a lemon farm / Agritourismo.  I found the Amalfi coast – Positano and so much more.  A magical (gluten free) week eating and living local in Italy.  Then my friends and I, five of us rented a car and drove south.  One of the gals had a time share she traded in for a week in Maratea, south of Italy on the coast.  We spend a further week eating and exploring and laying around the beaches.  Five weeks of heaven and I flew home with my small carry on size suitcase and a lifetime of dreams fulfilled.

2. 14 traveling women from the Women’s Travel Club in Victoria went on board the luxurious Oceania Regatta small boutique cruise ship, and cruised the Amazon River (the Brazil side).  We flew to Rio de Janeiro Brazil and enjoyed and explored a few ports of call in Brazil, then a week sailing on the fantastic Amazon River, then stops on Devils Island and the Caribbean and flew home from Miami 21 days later.

3. I have a friend who gave herself the gift of 6 months in a villa in South of France for retirement.  She opened up the idea to family and friends and asked for contributions, so much a “day” to rent space at the villa and so she recouped some of the cost.  I was one of those lucky people, so with my partner, my mom and her friend, and a few women from the Travel Club, off we went for 3 weeks to stay at the villa.  When the three weeks were over I stayed on another week and then went on a ten day Azamara cruise from Nice France to Barcelona Spain, with a few gals from the travel club … before I came home.

4. In January of this year I went with 17 women to India for two week tour in Rajasthan (North) with Indus Travels and 10 of them stayed on for another 10 days to 2 weeks in the south with GAdventures tour.  I had never been and was not really wanting to go to India – it was not on my list.  I had all kinds of fear …. But the trip was amazing.  This next February 2017 I am going back to India – for a week of local living experience.

5. Just a few entries back you will find my reflections on India.   I started the blog a number of years ago when I took a river cruise in Europe and ended up in my lifelong wish-list city, Paris.  Follow along if you like ….

6. On 16 October 2016 I returned from my last trip with 42 other travellers – we did a two week cruise from Athens to Barcelona on Oceania Riviera.  Many of the folks had never been on a cruise, many never been to Europe.  I found an affordable luxurious and wonderful experience.  7 couples and 28 solo women travellers enjoyed the ports of call, and fabulous life on board the ship.

7. This fall also 11 women from the Women’s Travel Club went to Europe to explore France and or Italy by rail!  Traveling on small group tours, as part of a travel club, they enjoyed the sights, sounds and experiences of these amazing countries … highlights of large cities and the countryside in between.  Wine country, olive  and lemon groves, villas and sunsets …. some went on to do a week at the Lemon Farm in Sorrento and are traveling home this week.

8. A few small groups of women went to Cuba last year, some with WestJet Vacations, some small group travel, some on yachts and some local living in home stays.


1.       India local living, and the Taj Mahal in February 2017: India local living in Jaisalmer (desert stay at a local Haveli, and followed by an independent 3 day private group arranged by GAdventures to see Delhi and Agra (Taj Mahal)  Flights are direct Vancouver to Delhi and there are six of us confirmed and booked to do this fun get away.  Includes desert safari, spiritual experiences, shopping and exploring this fabulous region of India.

So you’re taking a trip to India but haven’t made plans to see the Taj Mahal? We can’t let that happen. We’re offering a little something extra for those who don’t want to miss Agra’s highlights. On this Independent trip, you’ll see the spectacular Taj as well as take a G Adventures-supported walking tour around the streets of Delhi led by a former street kid. It’s a whole new perspective.

2.       France barge on Burgundy river for a week June 2017: Burgundy River Barge 23-30 June 2017 with GAdventures (hurry, almost all the spots are taken!!)

Blessed with some of the most gorgeous countryside in Europe if not the world (not to mention perhaps the best wine around), Burgundy is a place everyone should explore at least once. And the best way to do it is from the deck of an ambling river barge. Visit small villages and first-rate wineries, bike through forests and vineyards on a provided bicycle, and soak up the glorious sunshine, all with the help of a charming little hotel that goes where you go. You won’t get a better glimpse of Burgundy’s pastoral pleasures than this.

Add on mid June to Italy for a week at Lemon Farm agritourismo

OR Add on Puglia coast in Italy.  11-23 June Sorrento / Puglia combination.  This would be a private small group and we would spend some time at the Lemon Farm and some time exploring the Puglia region of Italy.

Get a taste for Italian life on this one-week trip to Sorrento, located just around the corner from the Amalfi Coast. Replete with gorgeous scenery and all the fantastic food and drink you’d expect, you’ll unwind on an organic lemon farm where a local family will be your hosts, giving you an in-depth look at what life at an Italian agriturismo is like. And of course, there will be food demonstrations, including limoncello- and pizza-making as well as a walk along the stunning coastline, a visit to the elite island of Capri and a stop at Pompeii. Don’t be a tourist in Italy—live the dream.


3.       South America cruise November 2017, 3 weeks Buenos Aires to Lima Peru Three week cruise with Oceania November 11 2017 …. Or make it a 35 day cruise ending in San Diego?


4.       Panama Canal cruise February 2017 Miami to Lima Peru Eighteen day Oceania cruise on board Sirena, Panama Canal starting in Miami Feb 2018, with option to stay on and explore Lima PERU!


After that – Myanmar, Bali, Egypt, more local living adventures in Spain, France and Italy.

Where do you want to go?  Let me know and I will assist to find travel companions to join you.

Pamela MacDonald

Your “travelling” Cruise and Land Travel Specialist

Cell (250)857-5518

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Post two: intentions

Post two: cheers to the FREE stuff!  
On the flight, domestic flight to Toronto. The woman steward has our names on a list. A special list. We can have free food, free wine … now or later. Options are endless!
She recommends Chocolate banana granola minis .. gluten free, vegetarian, organic. Oh my …..
Shelly gets a sandwich, and we settle for tomato juice at this time. Ha ha, 7 am in the air seems a bit early for wine just yet. Lol. Well, it must be five o’clock somewhere? There will be wine opportunities aplenty on this two week adventure to ancient vineyards in Europe. 

Daily Intentions for exquisite travel memories:
Dancing and singling, laughs and giggles, great friends – cheers!

Tastes and smells to recall delectable details described every evening

Speaking to the locals, using Italian phrases .. ti amo, piacere

Being inspired by and inspirational to international women

Effortless ease, go with the flow, no resistance

Beaches, ocean, hot tubs and pools

Luxurious living, receiving abundance

Out of my comfort zone, extraordinary, a little wild side

Do anonymous acts of kindness and generosity for others to feel special 

Capture ah-ha moments

Stay in the moment, a little bit longer

We are all beautifully photogenic

Lobster and prosecco, the great foods 

Skylines and vistas that take my breath away

Palma de Majorca and more

A beautiful peaceful friendly day. At the port of Palma de Mallorca we had a pre booked excursion to Soller (pronounced soll-yer). We sailed all morning in the beautiful sunshine arriving around noon in the last port of call on the cruise.  
The previous few days the seas were choppy, we missed stopping at our port of call in Saint Tropez. We had a sea day. Then Marseille, PROVENCE France yesterday. We wandered, walked, stopped for local lunch and listened to foreign languages being spoken. Our only stop in France as it turned out this cruise.
But today…. ahhhhh, the best stop. I love Palma and was here a few days last year on Azamara cruise with Azamazing evening at the Cathedral. This time I selected this excursion across the island and over a mountain range to another coast of this small island to this lovely little village, Soller. And we will take the famous train back to Palma. Hopefully to find a few treasures to take home to my daughters and mom …. ending the two week Mediterranean cruise.
Dining tonight with some of the fabulous women of the travel club I need to return to the ship and then packing later for early departure in the morning.  
It has been challenging trying to spend time with all the many wonderful women and couples who came along this trip. Some are staying on for extending their trip to Barcelona and some even to Paris.  
After the old time rail on board the Soller train ride back to Palma, we had a quick shop through the Majorca Pearl section.  
This is the eve before a major marathon run in Palma and the streets are alive with runners, their families and celebrations. Balloons, loud speakers, street foods and drinks, cameras at the ready, practice rums and prizes for the very young participants.  
The sun is still warm, the breeze from the Mediterranean Sea is light and welcome. Sail boats with white flags dotting the clear blue sea. Palm trees waving and glistening in the suns rays. Beautiful marina. The majestic and famous cathedral in the back drop. Last year I was here for an Azamazing evening and an overnight in is magical place. I remember the beach, the warm sun, the cathedral lit up for our event, the magic of Palma. I feel so fortunate to find myself here once again. One of my favorite destinations. Today made it more so.  

The European cruise adventure 2016

Monte Carlo today. I have been on this cruise ship, Oceania Riviera for about ten days now. No days at sea, some days more relaxed than others.  
The Grecian Delights cruise began in Athens and moved through Heraklion, Santorini, Katakolon and Corfu. Greece is peaceful, and has delightful port towns.  
Santorini is spectacular and offers stunning scenery for those who take the cable car or taxi to the top. We selected a private ferry boat to Oia ( pronounced ee-ah). We shopped and then took a bus ride back to Fira (also pronounced Thera) and walked down the donkey trail to the ship’s tender docking station. White washed buildings, cobblestone streets, local wine selections, art galleries, painted blue domes, shops and cafes.
In Katakolon we enjoyed local wine, ouzo, Greek feta cheese and olives, swimming in olive oil. After lunch we found our way to a little piece of beach and cooled off in the sea. Many of our traveling friends went to explore famous Olympia.
A port stop in Messina Sicily was about 50 km to the old town (founded in the sixth century) of Taormina, by negotiated taxi. Off we went to explore this beautiful little town of incredible views, ancient ruins, quaint shops, enchanting architecture, cobblestone streets, bright flower boxes, ornate doors, small alley ways and great look off points. Many of my friends took in the famed Greek theatre and then we enjoyed rooftop dining and people watching before heading back to the ship.
Probably the highlight of this trip for me was a short visit to Positano and Sorrento, with lunch at the agritourismo, lemon farm where I stayed a week a few years ago. The weather was perfect, the scenery was breath taking, the lunch experience was personal and satisfying. I love this place and the family who run it.  
Mid cruise was a stop in Civitavecchia, the port city for Rome, Italy. Two dozen of our group went in to Rome and were treated to time to throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain.  
Portofino was the next stop and a visit to that colorful and scenic little town nestled in the coast of Italy, was the starting point for our purchased Oceania tour to Genoa city. Genoa was new to me.. and we were shown some amazing architecture and famous paintings an art sculptures from a different age in Italy. Our guide was lovely and very knowledgeable. We also saw Santa Marguerita and I was reminded of some previous cruises to this area.  
Yesterday a nine hour guided tour of three of the Cinque Terre towns that dot the coast of the Italian Riviera. Although the weather was cool and wet, it seems there is never a bad time to visit here. This is my third cruise to this area and I never tire of the colors and beauty of this coastline. We stopped a few times for warm up drinks and then a little meal midday. We began in the Tuscany region port city of Livorno, and drove through LaSpezia to visit Monterosso, Verrazano and Manarola. We rode on bus, several little local ferries, we walked and took a train ride. Pretty spectacular! I love this area of Italy and never tire of seeing it.
Back on the ship we enjoyed a relaxing soak in the thelassotherapy pool on the spa deck, reserved for suite and concierge guests. And then some time to warm on the heated tiled beds. Room service selected from the Red Ginger menu list. And then dancing in Horizons.
The sun rise this morning took my breath away. Stunning colors and the skyline of beautiful Monte Carlo, Monaco still lit up from the night before. This land is a destination playground for the very wealthy. The boats in the marina attest to the opulence of life for residence and visitors alike.  
Today the twin Oceania ship, Marina is also docked with us. And a Holland America ship, with its black hull, that has been keeping pace with our cruise throughout, is also here with us.
Tomorrow is Saint-Tropez, France, for a day, followed by a stop in Provence, Marseille, France. We have a tour booked on Palma de Mallorca, Spain (Soller Vintage Train Ride) and then disembarkation in Barcelona, Spain where I begin my flight home.
My friends on the cruise line, Dan Ostler and his sister Jane have been on cruises with me previously. Dan is a guest lecturer and an interesting fellow. Graham Denison is the artist in residence and joined us in Civitavecchia. I hope to have time to spend with them all. I stopped in to the artist loft today to catch a glimpse of his amazing paintings, done with a palette knife technique. Fantastic art of textured strokes and vibrant colors bringing his images to life.  
More later, 
Ciao ciao for now
Pamellllla of Italy

GREECE Katakolon

GREECE: Katakolon

This was going to be an easy day. We put on our bathing suits under our clothes, then down to the lobby to meet with some of the other gals for a day in town walking around. I remember this place from 4 years ago being here while on a Cunard cruise with another dear friend.  
As we departed from the pier we reminded each other of some of our intentions … to stop and notice the smells of the day, to be kind to others expecting nothing in return. We spied a rose bush heavy with beautiful red blooms, some open wide and some perfectly formed buds.  
Today about six of us, the groups size expanded and contracted like an accordion as we stepped into little shops selling local wares. 
We talked about and decided to experience the authentic Greece. Feta cheese, local olives and a taste of ouzo. We wanted it, we spoke it and then we put it out there to the universe.  
We spied a long row of cafes and bars, with seating facing out toward sea, beautiful blue skies above sparkling like jewels on the teal green water.  
We tried one establishment, rearranged chairs for those who wanted the sun, and those who wanted shade. And then we found out they could not provide what we requested. Haha. The server indicated that his type of business was a “bar” and he had no feta and no olives to serve us. He pointed to some places down the way, on the boardwalk that might meet our needs. We apologized and moved on.  
We spied santorini blue and white plaid cloth table coverings … spotted and immediately felt welcomed.  
I stretched my arms out as far as I could and walked toward a short Greek gentleman who worked in a restaurant, as if he was a long lost friend. The five other women who know me thought I knew this man … and were surprised when I confessed I had never seen him before in my life.  
His authentic “opa” greeting to us made us feel welcome and part of his Greek family.  
We celebrated our human connection with hugs and cheek kisses through the greeting, the service, and then our saying goodbye. This man, we shall call him Nic, or Vic, although he says his name is Pete had a fantastic experience as well. He brought over friends and maybe family- other men to meet us and share his good fortune. I am sure this will be a topic of conversation for some time to come.  
The shopping and sense of human connection ….flowed into the Mediterranean Sea. 
One of the highlights of this trip, is touching local culture in a deeply personal way. Not just to visit a place, not just to act like tourists touching the local creations, souvenirs, and walking sidewalks and roadways…. but reaching past generations and through thousands of miles and years of separation to truly share an experience and moment in time, where oneness is felt.
Unorthodox. Unique. Subtle yet poignant. Maybe a little enlightening and certainly entertaining and happy making.  
The flavors of the olives, soft and firm, rich and pleasant. The feta, the texture and taste is not like we have at home. This is heaven. Served in a block, smothered in light olive oil and spice.  
We walked away, toward a beach, close by the ship but still pleasant enough to step in out of the hot suns rays to enjoy the fresh cool feeling as the salty sea covers the beach. We swam for a while and enjoyed the refreshing experience.  
Back to the ship for a late lunch, followed by happy hour and dining in Red Ginger.  
I will write more soon. Sleep is calling. Tomorrow is our forth and final stop on GREECE.


Post one: great Europe Adventure, travelling with 42!!

On my way to the next great travel adventure. This one is extra special.
I get to travel with 42 friends on a luxury cruise from Athens to Barcelona Spain on my favourite cruise line and ship, Oceania Riviera.
I am on the plane for the first leg of the trip. Just left at 6 am from Victoria to Toronto. Next leg will be Toronto to Frankfurt with premium upgrade seating and then Frankfurt to Athens. The luggage gods are with us, I feel my new carpet bag style carry on size, checked bag is even now below in this plane. My bag will follow me carrying precious and carefully selected items to help me celebrate the occasions of this trip.  
Travelling with friends, 
Guest blogger, Shelly Harvey has this to say …. “I am so grateful and feel privileged to be here. So many new experiences are waiting to be discovered.”  
Punctuating this day with the startlingly spectacular bright orange sun rise laying across the fluffy white clouds. It looks like we could walk into forever across the horizon …. I guess we will!  
Going as far as we can, beaches, luxury, adventure, meeting new people and seeing new places … with the fresh new vision of my fun and brilliant travel buddy Shelly, I can see this trip with new eyes of my own. Seeing from a perspective of unexpectedness and curiosity. What will be revealed?  
Our days on board will begin and end in a Penthouse suite on board one of the most luxurious ships at sea.  
How do regular every day working women, some retired, get to see the world in this way? Trust, faith, openness, taking seemingly small steps of “yes”.  
Me, I get to be the leader, at least for a little while. I get to encourage and welcome and enjoy all the women and couples who have trusted me to join them on their exotic European adventure. Lucky me! I also feel privileged to have become travel companions with such extraordinary people.

More of India, some weeks later ….

I was prepared for difficulty, dirt and disease.

I found love and the soft spot of human existence.  I found acceptance and desire. I was not prepared for luxury and ease.

As with most of what I saw and photographed, India is surreal for the foreigner.  It’s as if it floats, almost disconnected … Like in a cloud in heaven.  Yet … It’s all part of and interconnected with the rest of the universe.  Spiritually, it may be the center of the the globe, beating with the blood of the worlds people’s.

I did not expect to be blessed, accepted and especially not celebrated, just for being me and showing up.  I believe this is how humans should feel, every day.  In familiar or unfamiliar lands, we ought to feel privileged and among friends and family every moment of our lives, in every place we venture.

Standing on a ghat along side a body of water, I felt akin to the people everywhere.  It is not in the water itself, this life’s blood is just one of the ways in which the pulsing energy is transported to connect the creatures that share the bounty.  A great conductor of life, the water assists me to feel the connection to nature and all that is live.

I did not expect the simplicity of life.  Almost free of longing or striving to be “other” than what is.  I found a land of healing, magic and mystery .. For and from all the senses, emotions, spirit and the precious body.

How did this gal from the ocean waves calling deep from the extreme high and low tides of Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia Canada, fall in love with a desert in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India?

With my antennae tuned to receive the negative, I found only love and joy.  I found colour and life.  I found a simplicity previously unimagined.

I found it all on a short camel trek to see the large orange sun ball slip gently behind the massive glorious sugar soft sand dunes on the other side of the planet Earth.

I fell enchanted with the women of this country who dress in spectacular colours and flowy silky fabrics.  Women who carry heavy loads of history along with bundles of sticks or large containers for water, carefully and with seeming ease upon their beautiful heads.  Their tasks are simple, important and immediate.  No question or resistance can be seen on their faces.  Life is what it is.


Excerpts from a blog: Song of India, Tales of Travel and Transformation. By Mariellen Ward: “I don’t entirely know why this is true, but India is much more than
a travel destination. I wrote recently in a magazine article that: “People don’t go to India to experience India; they go to experience themselves in India. They go to pit themselves against the crowds, chaos and poverty. They go to experience the open and unabashed spirituality. They go to test their egos, which India alternately builds up and smashes apart in the blink of a street child’s eye. People go to India knowing they will be forever changed … and not knowing how. But India is a master, a guru, who takes people where they need to go, and teaches them what they need to learn.” “