It’s Thanksgiving in the United States today and I’m spending it in Peru with my husband Hank and an international gang of expats and Peruvians while feeling grateful for the random and unexpected path that led us here.
How do you celebrate Thanksgiving? Here are 8 Pinterest quotes to help inspire the day.
I was raised to tell the truth, yet sometimes I can't help but to say the thing that other people want to hear. No, I don't mind waiting. Yes, you're right, I should take tango lessons.
The lie is out of my mouth before I can stop it, though it doesn't feel like a lie because it's what I imagine a better version of me would say.
Yet, last summer, when my honest response to an airline steward's request was met with a scowl of disapproval, I couldn't stop feeling guilty. Crazy. Right?
Note: This essay, inspired by a family visit, was written in 2012. Since then my relationship to family has been slowly transformed. It wasn’t something I ever spoke about, but a powerful internal shift had taken place. At the time, I had no idea that circumstances would conspire to put my love to the test or that I would take the plunge to help when needed and still feel as I did when I wrote the piece —that the most important thing in life is showing up for one another.
It’s a compelling question: If I only had a few weeks to live, where would I go?
Would I drop everything and head off on a thrilling round-the-world Bucket List adventure?
Would I would stay right where I am, in a temporary house in Mexico?
Would I return ‘home” to the landscape of my childhood?
Part terror, part pleasure, a writer’s life is complicated. Like a gripping adventure tale, it’s a pulse-pounding journey that never lets up, with danger lurking everywhere. It can set your heart soaring one minute and break it an instant later.
So why do we do it? In my own life, writing is how I make sense of myself and the world around me. I suspect it’s like that for many of us.
Many years ago my husband, Hank, bought me a T-shirt that read “I used to be schizophrenic, but we’re just fine now.”
We joke about the crazy woman he married. The unconventional wife who reinvents herself every decade or so and still doesn’t know who she wants to be when she grows up. And, as the shirt suggests, there’s more than one of me in this marriage.
It’s the first day of the new year and I’m spending it defining my intentions for living a better life, being a better person and traveling to greater creative expression in the new year.
Are you using the holiday to write the story of your new 365-day life chapter? Here are 20 of my favorite quotes to help inspire the journey.
Who has time to think about the meaning of life, happiness and fulfillment when there are iPads, Facebook and jobs to fill the days? These are big concepts. Deep questions. Topics that for much of my life I rarely contemplated.
Like most people of the world, I was busy doing my best to hang on and enjoy the ride as life whizzed by. I’d been raised to view life and its certain pains and pleasures, struggles and triumphs, beginnings and endings as something to endure with grace. So I tried to be a good sport, to stifle anxiety and confusion with the usual American distractions: working hard, trying to appear normal and going to the gym.
The miracle is that despite a formidable capacity for denial and great gaps in knowledge of myself and the world around me, important questions still accumulated: Who am I? Where do I find meaning? What is my purpose?
So now, with streaks of gray in my blonde hair and fifty years on this planet, these are questions I’m finally getting around to asking. And the answers are not what I expected.
It was a golden November afternoon. I strolled across the bustling Mexican plaza in the Jalisco village where my husband Hank and I live part time. Photogenic scenes were everywhere.
It was fiesta time and I immersed myself in the jubilant celebrations and felt the strength of community in the vibrant Mexican village. Absent, however, was an urge to photograph. The goodwill that surrounded me felt too precious for a bystander’s camera.
The plan was to meet in Rome and then spend the following three weeks circumnavigating Italy’s hot spots creating lifestyle photography for a travel tour company. I would be the photographer and my beautiful German friend, the model. The client was footing the bill for expenses and a generous day rate. Dream assignment, right? It should have been.
I’ve learned a lot from travel and living abroad. I’ve learned about my own ignorance, arrogance, and resistance, but also about kindness and compassion.
One of the most liberating lessons of being a foreigner, however, has been learning to love the feeling of anonymity that comes from hanging out in places where no one knows me.
Sure, there are times when being away from home feels lonely or frustrating. When, for example, I crave the company of a cherished friend or advisor. Or when an unfamiliar language prevents me from connecting at a deeper level. But mostly it feels like freedom.
As a traveler, by the very nature of my foreignness I am granted a reprieve from constricting social norms. And as a visitor, I am free (even expected) to spend my days playing.
There’s a quote by author William Watson Purkey that has made its way into the public lexicon: “dance like there’s nobody watching.” When I travel I get to live like there’s nobody watching.
Strangers don’t care that my Spanish isn’t perfect, that I’m curvy instead of slim, or that I’ve reached middle age without amassing a fortune. Or if they do, I’m blissfully immune to their disapproval. I don’t know them, they don’t know me. There’s no need to impress, no requirement to conform.
I need quiet to sleep well. I need high-speed Internet to work. I need to live in a natural setting to feel at peace.
Until two-and-a-half years ago I believed unequivocally in the truth of these “needs.”
At the time, I lived in a place so quiet I could hear the whoosh, whoosh, whoosh of a raven’s wings. I had a well-equipped home office with a high-speed Internet connection that served as the headquarters of my freelance travel writing and photography business. And I spent my afternoons hiking in the dense ponderosa pine forests and white-barked aspen groves that blanketed the steep flanks of the southern Rocky Mountains that surrounded the six spacious acres we called home.
Today, as I write this from a rented house in Mexico with extended stays in four Latin American countries behind me, I can get a good night’s sleep amidst a cacophony of barking dogs, exploding fireworks, and blaring music.