Off the Grid:  Wild Renfrew, BC

Weekend off the grid: Wild Renfrew Seaside Cottages, BC
It is the second morning of waking to the lovely meditative sound of the sea coming home. A large yet delicate exposed root system of a once mighty tree greets the eye as it lays out on the rocks, caught in a previous wild storm. Ripped from its place solid in the ground, it seems to define for the viewer, how life must be like for the ancient ones growing on this rugged coastline of British Columbia Canada.
Wild Renfrew, the name of the resort cabins: Port Renfrew, the town providing context and community.
Heading home to Victoria today, I am taking with me memories of this place and precious time spent with my family. Board games were played, satisfying meals and snacks were shared, wine was consumed, laughter and meaningful conversations still linger in the air.  
Cocooned inside I watch through the large picture window and sliding glass doors at natures gifts. Scanning the grey and undefinable horizon I witness sea otters frolicking and bobbing together; seals poking their heads through the wavy surface; sea gulls and shore birds picking and pecking, foraging quietly for tasty morsels; glistening rock surfaces sometimes there and sometimes completely covered by natures blanket hiding them from view as the tides rock gently. 
The weather can only be described as wet. Mist and fog define the air between the tiny yet constant sheets of water droplets falling to the soaked ground and leaving all surfaces slippery and soggy.  
I am surrounded by sturdy wood furnishings, a gentle warmth emanating from the fireplace insert and I inhale the faint scent of comfort from a cup of vanilla rooibus tea. With portable keyboard on my lap and my ipad standing on the table in full view of the window to the view, I am reminded that I have modern technology keeping me in touch with my regular busy lifestyle. I am off the grid, with no cell phone service and twisty windy roads that brought me here, but I am also connected to a sense of peace and tranquility that can’t be found in the city limits where I live.  
Gratitude for the opportunity, the safe and sheltered cottage that seems part of the wilderness here. Feeling appreciative of time spent with loved ones and how fleeting and soul feeding the rich experience is. Thank you, thank you, thank you.  

INDIA …. plans to return

Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,, the movies …supposedly taking place in Jaipur India. Fantastic actors… fabulous lines of description of India.   
“The challenge is to not only cope, but to thrive.” “All the street kids smile at me”. “Why would you not go out? There is so much to see. All life is here”. “I got a job. A kind of cultural advisor”. 

“She wants to thank you for your kindness …. 

But, I haven’t been kind”. 

“How can you bare this country?” “What do you see that I don’t”? “Light. Colors. Smiles. The way they see Life as a privilege and not a right.”

The hug …. the two men who see each other after 40 years. It brings tears to my eyes. The flight of the snowy white egret. “The top of the mountain.” The body being consumed in Udaipur. 

“Most things don’t work out as we hope. Sometimes the things we don’t plan … are the good stuff.”

“The person who risks nothing does nothing, has nothing.”

I long to return, even now and I left there only earlier this year in February.  

The head bob. Calling respected persons “uncle” or “auntie”. 
Movie Number two. “If not now, when? If not us, who?”

I am preparing my return to India. Still Rajasthani province but not the bus tour repeat from earlier this year. 
 In February 2017 I am planning to fly to Delhi with traveling friends (you are invited!!) on a direct flight out of Vancouver. Upon arrival to be met by a wonderful tour guide who will escort us by rail to Jaisalmer, in the desert. We will stay a week in a local living scenario, MAGIC time. We will enjoy activities, such as dining, spa, walking, shopping, talking and exchanging cultural experiences with locals.

We will return changed. I hope you consider this trip for you. Contact me for more details, dates, costs and to place your name on the list.

And read back in this blog for my descriptions of India ….



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.” ”

OLD DELHI, still assaults my memory
Old Delhi, an explosion and assault on all the senses.  


Loud and smelly, fast paced, hard working labour of men carrying heavy loads down narrow alleys in the wholesale market, animals including dogs sleeping, piglets rooting through refuse between car tires, and cows with right of way and holding their ground, colourful fruits and produce, grey and dirty roadways littered with debris and years of garbage left to sit… Spices, rice, nuts, flowers on display in burlap bags in small doorways.  


Beep beep sounds of tuktuks and small cars, motorcycles passing each other on left and right. Bicycles jutting in and out. Large trucks squeezing in to small spaces, taking time to unload and reload wares. Smoggy grey air, toxic to breathe, many people with masks and or scarves tied around their mouths to filter the smells in the thick air.  


Trying not to touch anything .. The walls look sticky and dirty, cracked and old … The walking surface makes you glad of closed toed shoes …. Puddles of unimaginable liquids to step over, and feces piles. Uneven surfaces of stone and curbs, and people. 


People, people … Poor homeless faces, disfigured bodies, women clutching babies and begging for food, young children not shy about asking for money, trying to take our hands. We have been cautioned to hold tight to our bags, not give to beggars as people who do get swarmed by unlimited number of needy ones. So hard on the heart. 
 Breathe again.  
Enormous Indian flag can sometimes be seen from the hotel through the thick smog in Delhi. The struggle of India!

A Morning Post.  Gratitude and Mindfulness

Good morning 15 November 2016. My keyboard is set up and my fingers itching to tell a story.  
Early morning rituals include gratitude thoughts, my morning beverage and some time alone. Not always easy, or achievable but always an intention. And also a bit of dreaming.
Dreaming, I have learned, in adulthood, is good for my soul. I dream of locations, destinations, travel, and mindfulness. Truly.
Sometimes I forget how important it is to others that I do what I do. Last night I received a call from one of the wonderful women on my last travel adventure to Europe. She has been trying to find a mutually agreeable time to chat with me. I thought maybe to ask questions or talk about the next trip, or even to have feedback of the last one.
She called to express in some detail how it was for her to be part of the amazing trip that it was. Early October, 42 traveling people went on a fantastic luxury cruise for two weeks in the Mediterranean. There were stops daily in exotic ports of call. Some of the highlights for her were the same as for me. She wanted me to know how it was for her. I am and was reminded again and again how special travel experiences are for others, not just me.  
Sometimes my own thoughts are not accurate. Mindfulness reminder to breathe, stay with a feeling and try not to give it a story – good or bad. The more I practice, the more reminders I get and the more I breathe in and out during the day in mindfulness, the more in touch with this energy I become.
Today the story combines gratitude with mindfulness. I am feeling the energy, breathing in happy contentment and breathing out any expectations or fear. Breathe again.  
Time to go for my morning walk – climbing the apartment stairs, 12 stories, twice. I found a dear friend and fellow apartment dwelling gal who is patient and reliable and we do the stairs together each week day. Ta ta for now, my friends.

Tides In: 31 October 2016, Kingsport Nova Scotia

Tides in today as we drive around the Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia.  
A slow start to the day as yesterday was a travel day for me and my mom has a bad back right now. Last night we dined on baked beans and maple butter on raisin toast. Oh my. I love being “home”. Foods of my youth! Oh and dulse… a salty seaweed snack that I can’t get enough of when I get to Nova Scotia. And then some local white wine. Devine dining!  
Leaves rich in color cover as a blanket on the lawns and streets. Many still hanging gently in the branches, until their turn to fall. Rich reds, fiery oranges, yellow golds. Black bird conference in bare branches. 
Pumpkin people in Kentville .. 
We drive to Kingsport. The place of my childhood .. the only place for certain. I did not live there, but celebrated holidays and family. It’s the home, also, of the highest tides in the world. The red clay and sand are home also to the small white shells and critters.
I take pictures. 
Old concrete steps of the home I visited where my maternal grandparents lived. An oak tree in the yard, planted when my mom lived there as a little girl. Golden farm fields of corn stocks. Twisty turny roads with treasures around each bend. Old yellow school bus meets us bringing goblins and masked children home for trick or treat night.  
Front porches and sun decks decked out in orange pumpkins and welcoming decorations of autumn.