Revisit the Bucket List

Bucket lists and Inspirations

What causes something to arrive on my bucket list? What makes me want to return to certain places? And why did I end up there in the first place? What do I love about travel to new locations, and familiar ones?

This past few weeks I have been really surprised by my answers to some of the questions noted above. I have committed to travel to places that I did not know were on my list and also some that have been always on my list, and I have been to a few times before! So surprised at the range of responses to “invitations” to go along.

A few things come to mind, and I just thought I would write about them. When someone I know gets super excited about a destination, and then, as a travel consultant I do some research for them and find the absolute best deal, great value and intriguing vacations, I am so tempted to go along.

Some leave me cool, for my own travel plans, and some take me to a full boil in an instant, where just moments before there was almost no interest. Is that an inspiration from the Universe? Is it a sign? What to do with it?
When I get a sign that this is a great value, luxury cruise (for example) to a destination that is intriguing and unique, an exciting adventure springs in to my mind. I admit some of it definitely has to do with relationships.

I make most of my decisions based on relationships. Maybe we all do? Inspiration and dreams leads the way. “Travel to far off destinations with family, friends and women holding hands around the world.” This has been part of my vision statement for my personal life, for several years now. It is coming true, and it is showing up in my life in a clear and consistent way now. Did I create it by narrowing my focus?

Whatever the path, the truth is that I have arrived. I love where I am and I love even more where I am going. This past two weeks I have laid my money down on deposit for two outstanding brilliant, life changing and fabulously exotic trips. Both with Oceania. One is Greece, oh I love Greece! With a few stops in Turkey and a few more islands in Greece that I have not yet visited, of course, also Santorini, Mykonos and Rhodes, my 3 favourite Greek islands.

I am over the moon excited, even though we don’t go till September 2015. The most fun is that several of the Womens Travel club members are joining me and we will travel together. My favorite bus driver, she is joining me too. And my mom, and some great friends, and two gals I met on my last trip to Italy … the list goes on. There is still space and I hope you join me.

The second trip, which is sooner, March 2015 is 21 day repositioning cruise aboard Oceania Regatta (small boutique ship) through the Amazon! Can you believe it? Can you even dream such a fabulous trip? Flights included round trip Vancouver and there are 3 of us gals booked so far. Breathtaking scenery, the ship that I love so much, and the luxury of Oceania. Going places I have never been and returning to Rio de Janeiro (I still have my Brazil passport from my last repositioning cruise with Oceania!!). I get to cross the Equator again and be in that glorious heat.

Well, for now that is my travel blog. The stories of my future travels will unfold. I hope you have been inspired to take a chance, join a group and see the world! If you want to join my travel group, google Meetup Victoria Womens Travel Club and you will see us there!!

Tally ho,

I Love Paris in the Springtime ……

Bonjour! As a few people I know are preparing to head to one of my favourite destinations, Paris, this spring, I am reminded of my own adventure a few years back. I embarked on a Scenic Tours river cruise from Nuremberg Germany through the rivers of Europe, tasting wines and eating wonderful foods, enjoying the culture and architecture of the area. All the while my mind was on the “prize”.

I had been loving and dreaming Paris for over 50 years. Well to be fair as a baby I am not sure what I was dreaming about, however since I knew Paris, I wanted Paris. I did projects in elementary school, I read books and watched movies that centered around France. I attended French speaking classes in all my school years, right up to and including University. There is some inner voice of mine that speaks that language! In 1967 my family and I lived 11 months in Germany and the plan was to travel Europe, however we returned to Canada before I made it to France. I was in Montreal in 1976 for the Olympics, with the Canadian Armed Forces, and enjoyed the immersion in French Canadian culture. Still, however, the dream burned in me to go to Europe.

When I began my search for travel as an adult in the past ten years, I have had at the top of my bucket list a desire to travel France and spend time in Paris. So much so that I have collected a list of some ten items that I wanted to do when I finally got there. I had purchased travel books and a game on learning more and more about this vibrant, intriguing and historic world city.
My list included the “best” place to taste crème brulee; where to taste champagne infused sorbet; Pont Neuf bridge and all the bridges; Notre Dame Cathedral; walking cobblestone alley ways looking up at the small iron balcony laden with bright red flowers growing free; seeing if the sky really does turn pink in the evening as the sun sets; have a meal at the Eiffel Tower; see the place where Lady Diana is honoured by the Paris locals and tourists; shop along the Champs Elysees; sit at a small table outside a small cafe, with a bottle of wine and some tasty cheeses and watch people go by along the walk that follows the river; see the Louvre from the outside; sit at a park bench and listen to foreign languages; shop in a second hand or consignment store for designer fashions; shop for and or buy a hat.

I loved exploring Paris my whole life and was ready when the time came. I had a list of what I wanted to see and I made it my point to see them. Of course the Eiffel Tower, I took a little boat ride down the river to see all the bridges from the water. I walked and walked and walked, the river side, small alleys in beautiful districts, I took pictures and hung around the bridges .. I watched the sky turn pink at dusk. It really does! I found a tiny music box that plays La Vie En Rose … I love it and cherish it still. I sat at a tiny round table, drank wine and watched people. I shopped the little green boxes along the river bank. I had sorbet made from Champagne and I ate the most delightful authentic crème brulee, I went to Notre Dame Cathedral and stood in the magic spot. I saw the Louvre from outside and the Arch de Triomphe, I walked along Champs Elysees and only had a few short days. I found the place that honors Lady Diana who died in the tunnel, I shopped a bit but Paris is very expensive. I wore a hat and carefully selected scarf.

See what you can when you go to Paris, because then every movie you see and every book you read with Paris as a backdrop, you will feel you are back there. 🙂

Ask me anything you want about my trip – or check out my early blog, as I wrote about it as I explored.

Pamela MacDonald

If I had one trip left, the story of Grace

If I had one trip left ….

Good morning. I have been so inspired by a woman who has shared with me that she is dying. She wants to go on a last cruise, in her weakened physical state, before she can’t leave home. Illness has taken her body. Her spirit is alive and well.

A few years ago somehow she entered my life, she and her sister. They knew their cousins and siblings, all women in advanced years, were wanting an experience together before they started to pass on. What an honour. I called it the Cruising Cousins and enjoyed helping these women from around this country get their plans together for their reunion vacation of a lifetime. It was magic and they all made it.

Since then I have introduced some of these women to other vacations and have been struck, in the heart, when they call to get flights to attend to an ailing “cousin”. And then to attend the funerals.

This past month or so I came to know that one of the women I am most close with, when I called to check on her travel plans for the year, is nearing her end. She is very ill, can’t eat and is failing in her health. I was hosting a special wine and appetizer evening this past week locally in a lovely hotel and featuring a luxury cruiseline that I had introduced to some of the cousins over the years. She accepted. Let me call her “Grace”.

Grace arrived at the event, asked for me and found me. We embraced. Does everyone have such a great and close relationship with their travel consultant? Would we say we have become friends?

I looked in to her eyes and felt indeed gratitude for the invitation to keep living. To step out and enjoy what there is left of her life. To grab every precious moment, dress up, don the wig, and purple outfit and step into life. Say yes to the days that are left. No whine, no apology. What a gracious woman indeed. I wonder if I could grow into graciousness like her.

And I did not expect her to book another vacation. I was warmed to my very heart that she placed her name and credit card commitment to sail one last time. She placed her deposit on living and embracing the dream.

As I write this I am streaming love for this woman and her strength of character and her love for life and my deep gratitude for knowing her.

I ask her what is on her list of places she has always wanted to go? She tells me and says her doctor has approved her to travel. I get the sense the wise physician has said, “go, and live your life to its fullest”. I want that doctor to speak to me in my last years of my life. Maybe she is speaking to me now?

International Womens day was yesterday. I was busy connecting women with their dreams, all day. I feel like I am in the river of bliss and doing what comes as natural to me. I too have imagined what my life would be like. This is part of it, an expression of a small part of inspiring women everywhere to take centre stage of their own lives, be their own leading lady of their unique story.

To inspire women to travel in love and luxury, with grace and style to see places and wonders of the world. To help women literally and in every sense, hold hands around this world in peace, by celebrating our authenticity and showing up in all our brilliance.

This woman, Grace, may never know how her single life has impacted me, and I expect if you are reading this, you also are impacted.

Help me in thanking her, from all of our hearts, to live the dream that still stirs in her heart. To make choices to put family first, and to honour our dreams until our last breath.

Today I honour all women, and am grateful for Grace showing up and staying in my life, leading the way.

Peace be with you today.