In 1872, Jules Verne – French novelist, poet and playwright, sent Phileas Fogg, the protagonist of his novel ‘around the world in eighty days’.  Phileas Fogg travelled to win a bet.  People travel or wish to travel for a host of reasons.  Today, in less time, we can embark on our own journey to places both serene and exotic, go zip-lining or just soak up the sun.  When our travels are done, we are left with beautiful memories.  Memories, like a sweet fragrance, which linger even after the blooms have faded. So, sit back, relax and get ready for ‘take off’.

One of our favorite trips was to Costa Rica for my nephew’s wedding. He & his (now) wife were married in a 17th century church in a small village. The party was on a jewel-toned lake.

An exciting side trip for me (my husband not so much) was taking an incline car up 1500 feet to go zip-lining! The descent was breathtakingly beautiful and scary at the same time. It was an exhilarating moment looking out over the treetops and seeing the ocean. It was far better than looking down!

For the past forty-seven years, my husband and I have travelled to the small town of Southampton, Ontario to enjoy simple cottage style vacations. Lake Huron is famous for its spectacular sunsets, and as the years have progressed I have become a sunset addict. Like snowflakes, no two sunsets are alike, yet the effect they have on me never changes. As I watch the sky transform, a sense of peace comes over me and I find it impossible to think about anything else. Even after all these years!

My husband and I were traveling in southern France, when we met an American man who said he had bought a village in the Pyrenees not too far away. He invited us to come see it, so we drove our mopeds down the road and into the hills. It was a lovely village: about eight old stone buildings and a little stream running down the middle of it. We had a house to ourselves with an open-hearth fireplace and a single rose growing, despite the December chill. The inhabitants had all moved away because the ground was rocky and hilly, making it too hard to farm and raise a family.

Many villages in the area were being abandoned too – we visited another one where we saw a house with the breakfast still on the table and coats on the hooks. There was one old man living there still, by himself. He hid when we came. Outside the village a little spring ran down the side of a steep craig – the sweetest water I have ever tasted.

I’ve had the good fortune to visit several corners of the globe; but some of my most treasured “travel” memories occurred in the bathtub.

When I was a young child, my mother, while washing my hair, would have me close my eyes and imagine I was on a magic carpet that could take me anywhere I wanted. I’d tell her where I wanted to go (often my grandparents’ house!), and she would narrate the sights as the carpet swooped through the air from our house to our destination.

In pandemic times, my bicycle has been my magic carpet, and a sanity saver if ever there was. Like the bath time version, it rarely takes me anywhere exotic or even unfamiliar, but the pleasure is all in the ride.

There are a lot of wonderful places I wish to visit. However, most of all I would like to visit Hollywood and I have many reasons to do so. If my parents offered me a trip, it would be great. This is because I really want to see how the movies are made, meet famous actors and actresses and just have a good time.

It was in 1968, at age 14, I emigrated from Scotland with my family, for a better life in Canada.  This came at a substantial personal cost, in that I was leaving extended family and one very special friend behind.

This special friend, Marilyn, and I have exchanged hand-written letters throughout all these years, and she is the first non-family contact I make when I travel across that pond.

Back in 1968, Marilyn planned a lovely farewell party and invited all my classmates.  She and those classmates rented a school bus and driver to take me to Prestwick airport where I boarded that life-changing flight.

Treasured memories of my own “natural treasure”.

Our travels have come to an end.  All we need to do is say “Goodbye” and we hope to see you all again soon.