Travel: Exploring Switzerland

{Lake Geneva}
Hello friends,

If you were following us on track my tour, you have seen some of these photos. Now it's time to share the story.

The World Traveler is in Switzerland all the time, but never long enough for me to have a proper visit. When he mentioned having to attend a conference for a week, I jumped on the chance to explore life in Vevey.

We flew into Geneva and took a train for a hour to Vevey, a small village sitting on Lake Geneva.

Our plan: As is our custom, we had a list of options but didn't make plans until we arrived. This approach takes pressure off us to check off a list of ten things we have to do/see. Once we settle in and meet with friends/colleagues, they tend to suggest must see's not listed online or in a travel log.

Vevey is a tiny french speaking village, you will not find much online to help plan.

I hope you enjoy traveling with me, via the written word. Let's get started with an overview the region we explored. ~ enjoy!

{old town Vevey}
Vevey: Trios Couronnes was home base for our visit. Part of the old village, the location was perfect. I was able to explore the delightful streets, shops while looking at these shop windows.  Every morning I was out walking the streets within fifteen minutes of waking up.

There is a paved path to walk/bike along the shore, playgrounds everywhere.  Vevey has a train station, and a bus loop to Montreux but mostly is a walking town.

The village center is located on the lake, but look to the south and you are surrounded by vineyards, and a cable car leading to the International Hotel School. Charlie Chaplin lived in Vevey, click here to learn more about the Charlie experience.

{Chateau de Chillon}
Montreux Riveria: This is a lovely town, with a castle at the end of town.  It's home to the famous Jazz Festival, Freddie Mercury tribute, and the Noel Village.  On foot, the journey from Vevey to Montreux is 4.2 miles.

During our stay, the Noel Village was in full swing which gave me the perfect destination for a daily run. I could run there, walk the shops lining the lake, grab a nibble and work my way back to Vevey in under two hours.

Lausanne: Lausanne is a large city with an old world feel.  Located between Geneva and Vevey.  We didn't spend much time there but it's a lovely place to visit, you can walk everywhere AND you can take the twenty minute ferry to France, for lunch, or a run!

{Evian, France}
Evian, France: Another town we didn't spend much time in but it's just a twenty minute ferry ride away (from Lausanne). Home to Evian water, museums, cheese(!), and it's own old town feel.  I will be back to explore, and need to learn more about the towns display of driftwood.

We happened to visit opening weekend for la fabuleux village (Evian's noel celebration) so we spent our time enjoying this rather than visiting a museum.

The Language: I was thrilled to discover I can read French pretty well. Sadly, the locals speak so fast I couldn't understand much.  After mentioning this to a few colleagues I learned they speak in a different dialect from what I'm learning with Rosetta Stone (and my foreign movie consumption).

A few things you should know before visiting the area:
- Vevey, Montreux, and Lausanne speak french but most of Switzerland speaks German.
- Residents speak one or the other, not both.
- Shops are open from ten to noon, and 1:30 - 7PM
- It's hard to eat out midweek, most restaurants are not open past 8PM
- 99% of Switzerland is closed on Sunday's

More posts to come, from cultural observations, our travel adventures, and more! Have you been to Switzerland?  There's SO much we didn't see.  Let me know if you have any suggestions for my next visit.  I would love to hear from you.

Next travel post: Montreux Noel (Christmas Village)

Travel: Christmas time in Vevey

Hello my lovely friends! It's hard to believe I have been in Switzerland for a week: exploring, living, and loving everything about Christmas in Vevey.

Lac Leman (also known as Lake Geneva) has embraced Christmas, most of the shops in old town Vevey look similar to this one. Having been to towns in Switzerland, France, and Italy this week I can tell you that this photo expresses the holiday spirit to perfection.

Santa likes to rope climb!  He's creative but could learn some tips from the elf.   Speaking of the elf, I have not spotted one yet but I have been smurfed!

I promise to share every detail soon, I have so much to share with you that I need proper time to sit and process what you might want to read.

Switzerland is the most magical place, I'm sad to think of my home with only the tree decorated (without presents), stockings to be hung, no cookies or baking this year. We are planning to bake on Christmas Eve, and enjoy our family tradition of Raclette. Maybe I will decorate when I arrive home and keep things up for a few weeks in January so I can enjoy an extended season.

Lastly, I'm working remotely this week so our adventure's will slow to daily life in Vevey.  I am posting a few photos daily to instagram, and this weekend we have two action packed days planned.  You won't want to miss our adventures!

Three things:

Reading: I finished the third book in the Divergent series and hope to start reading Mating (by Norman Rush) tonight.

Loving: I must find out the smell being forced down the hallways of our hotel.  I want to bottle it up and bring it home.

Wanting: to go for a sunny run around part of the lake before work emails start arriving from the US

Are you ready for Christmas?

Travel: THE Serengeti

Lovely Friends,

Visiting the Serengeti was the last part of our adventure.  By the time we left the Ngorongoro Crater, Bill and I were worn down and sick.  On day two in the Serengeti, the lodge called for a doctor to see us.  This took about 36 hours.

To our surprise, the Serengeti is a ragweed minefield!  Bill is extremely allergic to ragweed.  I was diagnosed with bronchitis/walking pneumonia. The doctor offered us some herbal medicine and when we asked his visit/medicine fee... he said no charge.  We pressed a bit and he finally let us pay him.

Bill quickly got better but we had to leave a day early.  Avoiding a hot and bumpy day journey we asked Gregory to coordinate a flight to the Arusha Lodge. I was treated for pneumonia shortly after returning home.

Now to get to our amazing experience!

Travel: NgoroNgoro Crater

Lovely Friends,

Have you heard of the Ngorongoro Crater? Located in Tanzania, exploring this magical place was Part III of our Africa Adventure. The crate looks like a painting, an optical allusion.  When you drive into the crater you quickly understand this is a thriving ecosystem. I was awe stuck.

Part I: Getting to Africa via Istanbul
Part II: Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro

Ngoro Ngoro means Gift of life, named by the Maasai.  Part of the Great Migrations, and our final stop before visiting the Serengeti.

We stayed at the Serena Lodge, and highly recommend this company.  We arrived in Arusha, greeted by a host and our guide, Gregory.  Gregory was our personal guide, driving us on the well know desert roads (they were rough). We spent three days exploring the Crater with picnics and learning so much about this wonderful place.

Adventure: meet me at the Summit!

Earlier this week I shared the physical/fitness part to climbing Kilimanjaro, today I'm sharing the experience.

I loved writing this post! Reflecting on my experience, sharing it with you.  There is a photo link at the bottom of this post for those looking for more ~ enjoy!

Setting the stage: We hiked in the dry season, winter.  The high temps around 35 degrees, low 10. We had two VERY windy days.  One long hike day, about seven hours... and summit day.

The higher the elevation, the less oxygen in the air.  Windy days make breathing a challenge, trying to get a full breath AND not take in dust.

Let's get started!

Fitness: I can't believe I did that

It's hard to share my Kili story in one post, with this being fitness day... it seems like a good day to share my emotions behind this accomplishment (I will post an experience recap later this week, with photos).

I have spent months preparing, planning, scheduling, never doubting, just wondering, anticipating.

Since returning from my trip I have felt off my game and today I realized why - I haven't let myself feel a sense of accomplishment for reaching the summit.

I'm struggling to process the following: 

Instant gratification: a nine day journey, with no communication didn't let friends and family celebrate our achievement real time - darn it social media and cell phones!

Travel: Tanzania from my eyes

I may have traveled to Africa to climb a mountain but what I saw before and after has left me wondering what role fate and karma play in our lives.  How might my life be different if...

~ Market Day ~

I'm left wondering how I can help, or if I'm honest... I'm really wondering 'can I help'. I wasn't expecting to see the poverty we did, slums, and squatter settlements.  My husband and I found a way to help during our visit but we need to focus this energy and continue help now that we have settled back into our daily routine.

Observations from my recent visit to Tanzania: This is important to share before my summit story, most was experienced from the time we landed, to the drive where our adventure would begin.... 

Life: vacation hangover...

I have a hangover - a sensory/experience hangover. I have only been home for six days, from an experience that I have been planning in my head for decades.

I know several of you are anxious for me to share my Kili story, it's coming.  I did journal so I just need to take time to translate my notes into a post. I promise to share this in the next few days.

While you wait, here's a story for you.

Trekking story: WT was just talking to a good friend, bonding over the British Open when I overheard him share a story that I hadn't thought to share.  He was talking about how hard the hike was (it wasn't hard physically)... one day we hiked for eight hours, starting at 13,000 feet, climbing to 15,000 and ending the day back at 13,000.  We were walking around the mountain, while acclimatizing!

Fitness: a dancing duel on the mountain?

I missed you guys! Reading blogs, following my fitness friends embracing summer. Joy hosts Reader's workouts, feel free to join us.

A dancing duel on the mountain? Calvin is a trek guide, a person with a spirit rarely found these days. He is happy, the life of the party... and he likes to sing and dance.

We quickly bonded, laughing, giggling, singing. We challenged each other to 'dance move duel's' often while standing on a rock during a water stop.  I miss this guy.

Kili reflections: I am thrilled to tell you the physical part of the mountain was a breeze for me! Fellow trekkers commented on stiffness, sore muscles, aches... I had none of this. People seemed shocked that I actually trained towards the 60 miles distance vs hours on a stair stepper.

Once I have time to narrow down a thousand photos to a dozen... I will share my Kili story with you.

Life: a retreat on the Bosporus

Today is my birthday!

I woke up just after sunrise, in my own bed - looking around and exhaling, feeling my home hug me.

After 3 1/2 weeks of travel, we couldn't have planned this any better. Greeted with cards and a few gifts to open later today, we will BBQ and have a glass of wine for dinner as we adjust to life.

There's a lot to do today... unpack six bags, laundry, baking, settling back in.  I have so much to share with you but find myself overwhelmed by the events of the last month so I will let the photo's tell the story.

Today let's start with part one... Istanbul.

Istanbul highlights:

Have you been to Istanbul? WT told me I would love it, he was right! This was the perfect way to begin our adventure.  A few days to adjust to the time zone while decompressing before heading to Tanzania.

14 million people, second largest city in the world, filled with religion, history... click here to learn more

Happiness: 100 Day Project (Reflections)

2013 has been a good year.  My heart is full as I write this post, my Happiness Project is complete, and I'm leaving for Africa soon.

I'm going to climb a mountain!

What did I learn over these last 100 days? 
-  It takes a bit of effort to be truly happy: creating a happy life vs being happy in the moment. They are two different experiences, both rewarding.

-  What started as a recovery plan after the injury - walking every morning, reading something good for me, and learning to find 'calmness' - has become habit.

-  Happiness has a snowball effect. People around me are acting different, making decisions they wouldn't make if not for me actively instilling this into our life.  

Life: Sadie Monster

Good mourning.

Yes, mourning not morning.  Thursday our thirteen year old dog, Sadie Monster, woke up and I knew something was wrong… immediately.  

With the holiday weekend approaching I decided to bring her to the vet, as a precaution. I went to the vet thinking she caught a virus, maybe it was time for arthritis medication.   I wasn't prepared to hear that she had a tumor rupture and was bleeding internally, actively dying.  

I drove home alone, crying while on the phone with AWP. 

The queen is gone and her princesses are looking for her, trying to reconcile what happened, where did she go?  When will she come home?

Yesterday, in memory of Sadie, we took a long car ride to my favorite place.  Stone Barns is a farm to table, organic, a favorite.  I feel at peace when I get to Sleepy Hallow, drive to the farm, see the chickens and pigs, rows of herbs being grown. It’s majestically calm. 

Dogs are allowed on the property, just not in the pastures (yes, people are allowed to walk with the pigs and chickens).  Sadie would have loved it there. We walked in the rain, Jessie and Lily had hard boiled eggs at the cafĂ©, I had…  PB&J and a latte.

We packed up, drove across the Tappan Zee and had a quiet night at home. 

We miss you Sadie, but I know you are in heaven with Balto… running, chasing her, driving her nuts. Don’t worry Monster, I will take care of Jessie and Lily.

Adventure: Kilimanjaro planning (part 2)

You might think I'm crazy after reading this post!

This has been a high activity week for Africa prep.

Click here to read a list of gear already purchased... $1200USD

You get what you pay for: we are paying for two opportunities to summit, staying one night in the arctic zone (18,500 ft) and our summit hike will take 3-4 hours.  If we are feeling good and the weather is favorable I'm told we can stay up there for a while.  

I'm shocked when I see adverts to reach the summit for $2,000 or less.  I read one blogger's experience were he climbed 4,000 feet to the summit in one day, twelve hours of hiking!  He only spent a few minutes at the top and mentioned how painful the hike was..   

Shots & medication: This week I sat down with a travel doctor.  It was really interesting and he provided a lot of knowledge. I'm not to eat ANY uncooked vegetables in Africa, I guess it's a normal to use 'human matter' for fertilizer.... message received!

Shots received this week... 12!
Yellow Fever
Hepatitis A
Hepatitis B

I walked out with six prescriptions, traveling with four:
Diamox (acute mountain sickness)
Jungle medical kit

After I recover from the Yellow Fever, I will take the 'live typhoid' over four days.  I go back to the doctor on June 14 for one more set of vaccines and Typhoid sign off so I have valid CDC paperwork.

Bug control isn't an issue on the mountain but is on day one while in Arusha, and when we come back down for the Safari part of our trip.  We will travel with Deet, and our doctor's secret... Permetherin (an insecticide spray that works on gear for one week). 

Shopping: This week we paid for our rental gear, $600USD

Arctic Zone gear:
- Gore-Tex jackets and pants
- Down jackets
- Mittens
- Windstopper fleece gloves
- Insultated Mountain Mittens

- gaiters
- rain poncho
- sleeping bags
- sleep pad
- trekking telescopic poles

Gear for two: $1,800 to date with about $500 to go.

Life, it's happening!

Happiness: 100 day project (Day 74)

My Tuesday posts will shift back to fitness updates next week with my 100 day project coming to an end... I have learned so much from this exercise but no longer have blog worthy updates as I'm starting to look past day 101.  I will post one final post later this month.

Getting back to books!  I will announce the June Book Club book this week, have reviews to write/post, summer reading to plan.  It's May 7 and I haven't written a book post in a month... April did me in with my work project.  

Fitness update (hosted by Joy): Last week was my lowest week in ages, with just 27 miles logged.  13.1 came from one run.  That's okay, this week I'm planning my Africa trek self challenge of 60 miles.  I'm also just four miles shy of 600 miles this year, stellar!

100 day happiness challenge update: I crossed off 'foreign film' this week, leaving just two items left on my list.  I expect/hope to cross off my fitness challenge this week.

Happiness: 100 day project (day 67)

This week I had the opportunity to help a photographer friend, taking several natural photos with the theme 'faces/portrait' for a project.  

I can't share the photos yet but do have a few candid snapshots worth sharing. 

Memories.... when I was a little girl I was on a magazine cover and billboards throughout Minnesota. I need to dig up the billboard photo!

I'm going home this weekend and know my Dad has it hanging on the wall.  Funny story behind the photo... a story for another day but one I promise to share.  

My 100 day happiness challenge: I'm making good progress, with only three items left on my list.  I have had to take a break from french, a life balance decision.  I REALLY want to learn 100 words and start talking/watching movies without relying on subtitles.

Happiness: 100 day project (day 60)

In the late 90's I met a gal who honestly smiled ALL the time... so much that I noticed it.  The gal looked just like Olive Oil (from Popeye), with a big smile and a lightness to her.

I thought to myself 'I should try that!'

I started smiling at cashiers, wishing them a great day etc... then getting the courage to embrace this approach with everyone I interact with, guess what?  This was a life changer.  I was no longer plodding through the daily activities of life but engaging with people.

Some people get confused by a kind gesture as small as a smile. Others smile back.

My favorite person to smile at is a cashier, following  up with a few small words.  It seems so unexpected that someone is nice to them and they tend to look up with an odd expression.  A delayed smile.

Happiness: a dinner party

If you live somewhere with four seasons I'm sure you have been teased with warmth one day and something less than ideal the next.  Last week we had 80 degrees for two days, followed by 50 and rain.  Today it's going to be 65 and sunny!  Bonus... no wind.  I have a nine mile run planned and hope to finish the book I started two weeks ago.

Dreamy dinner parties: I have been daydreaming for months, planning a summer dinner party with candles, wine, flowers, good food... and dessert!

With the power of pinterest and a good imagination I have been thinking about the people who might come to one of my dreamy dinner parties.

Would you come?

I'm dreaming of a casual mid-afternoon get together on a warm sunny day, 75 degrees, no wind, flowers in bloom, candles, and music that can be heard only when the talking drops to a lull.

Happiness: 100 day challenge (day 46)

I took this photo just before announcing my happiness project. Unplanned, I stepped out of my car after driving to meet a friend. She was standing next to me when I said I have to snap a photo of my wellies, and it's from the same day as the photo on the banner. Good FUN!

I love it when I log into pinterest and amazing quotes just happen to be there for me to read. I heart this phrase... it's so true.

Fitness: Last week was my lowest mileage since last fall, 20 miles.  With our son in town for only three days I spent every minute with him... it was an amazing weekend.

What did I just do?!  I dropped AWP off at the airport and on the way home I signed up for a half marathon... in 27 days.  I will be in Minneapolis May 2-5 to see my family, and have a few friends running the event so I decided to join them.  I haven't run longer than 4 miles in a year  so this will not be easy.  I usually run 3-4 and walk the rest as part of my 'be outside' commitment to myself.  Wish this crazy gal good luck!

Happiness: 100 day project (day 39)

I'm 40% through my 'creating happiness' challenge today - whoop!

I want to share another conversation... my friend doesn't know I blog so no worries about her reading this and if she did read it I know she wouldn't be upset.

We are both in our 40's, she has a personal trainer, I have running shoes.  She's had at least five procedures (including lipo/tummy tuck at size 2), I'm embracing aging.

Friend: I like women (on the boat) to notice that I take care of myself
Me: I don't remember you getting in water when we boated with you
Friend: I don't
Me: Why don't you let yourself wear a tank and shorts one day to take the pressure off dieting?
Friend: I would get SO hot!
Me: Is there much difference between a tank/shorts and a bathing suit?

Happiness: the good life

What does 'Good Life' mean to you?  I have heard two people reference this in the last week, now I'm thinking what this means to me. I think having a good life is living simply, with comfort and purpose.  I wonder if it's that simple...

My family has been having fun with Dr Drew's Narcissism test this week. Curious?  Click here to take the online exam. I scored 6, a few people in my family scored 19, 10 and someone scored a 31 (with pride).  HA!

Last night I met with my Omaha book club to discuss The Painted Girls, with author Cathy Buchanan.  It was such a thrill!  I will write more in my book review/post but it was delightful chatting with her.

100 day project: Day 32 ~ I hope to accomplish most since the list was built to ensure success, with a little push.

Adventure: Kilimanjaro planning (part 1)

I just realized I haven't blogged about my latest life adventure since announcing it in January - how is this possible?!

This week we are applying for our visas which means WT is grounded until we get his passport back. Prefect excuse to fly our son home for a visit ~ woohoo!

Visas: Passports will be sent in tomorrow, with a $100 check for each (plus expedite fees).  The turn around is usually a month but we are trying to speed this up so Bill can get back to traveling.

Medical: With Bill's third world/ international travel he's current on vaccines.  I need to set up my medical appointment to begin the vaccine process (and quarterly blood draw for Lymes status).

Shots & medication:  One of these is a three part series so I will start the process this week.

Here's a list of the shots I need:
Yellow Fever
Hepatitis A
MMR and Polio update
Typhoid Fever
Hepatitis B

There are also a few prescription medications to travel with:
Diamox (acute mountain sickness)
Zpack (super strength antibiotic)

Shopping: The hidden costs that accompany any adventure!  With the World Traveler grounded... this is the perfect time to research, shop and buy.  We are buying everything online but still have to try on apparel/shoes to make sure we have proper fit.

Items purchased this weekend:
WT's hiking boots: $250 retail, found online for $140
Mari's hiking boots: $290 retail, no online deals
Six pair wool socks: $18/pair, found online for $8/pair
Two duffle bags (Sherpa's carry from camp to camp): $80 each but we found them for $30 each!
WT's solar day pack: $239
WT's convertible zip offs: $80 retail, $20 online
Mari's Convertible zip offs: $75 retail, $30 online

Retail value: $1,200

We spent $827

We are in the three month window so our focus, chatter will start to shift towards planning and preparing.  I hope you will enjoy following these posts - I'm mostly posting my journey since I can't find any online journals and don't know anyone who has done this... I'm in uncharted territory and don't want anyone else to plan such a trip 'blindly'.

Time to lace up my shoes, enjoy a sunny Sunday, and get a run in!

Happiness: the ripple effect

When I started this personal challenge I thought maybe one or two people might join me.  I wasn't prepared for the ripple effect. Your emails and phone calls warm my heart.

What makes this 100 day challenge different is that it's not a diet, we aren't trying to make big changes to our lives. We are making time to reflect on what brings us joy. 

Today is day 25 of 100 for me.

How are you doing with your happiness project?  (it's not too late to join us and create a little happiness in your life).  Here's the post that started it all

New foods: About a decade ago I tried this experiment and discovered the avocado and pummelo (I enjoy both immensely).  Last week I tried my second new item, the white dragon fruit.

If I was on Survivor I would love this fruit since it tastes like water.  Should it be sweet? Tart? How would you prepare it?

Happiness: 100 days of happy

in this edition: reading, friendship, & 100 things I love

Go big or go home!

While in the midst of an enormous work project, I was preparing for my friends visit, WT decided to throw a party for fourteen, and I logged 40 miles.  

The visit was a success: we saw a movie, ate, shopped, walked seven miles in NYC, drove to Sleepy Hallow in a snow storm, hot tubbed under the stars (listening to Madonna), walked in the woods, drank tea (and spirits), and shopped some more.

My girlfriend and I have a strong bond, but we don't have a lot in common these days... the first item tells it all (HA):

- While I was secretly rooting for Amour, she choose Magic Mike
- I'm quiet and reserved, she's a trash talker
- She can shop for hours... strolling from store to store.  I shop for need (in and out)
- I love being outside, regardless of the weather...  she's not an outdoors gal
- I always save room for dessert while she passes on sweets... BUT after a few drinks I was happy to watch her enjoy a giant piece of carrot cake.  Slowly eating every last crumb over laughter.

Life: 100 things I love!

Lisa, Lit and Life, is a friend of mine.  She and I met through book club and thanks to book blogging and 'letting social media in'... we have been able to stay in contact almost every day since I moved... um... almost three years ago.

A few days ago I opened pinterest and saw she had pinned this picture.  I emailed Lisa right away to see if she would post with me.  The timing is perfect!

Building this list brought back fond memories from yesteryear.  I tried not to list specific favorites (ie: Christmas morning when AWP slept until the tree... for 16 years).

I loved making this list. What's on your list?

Let's get to it:
REM - automatic for the people
Survivor (the show)

Happiness: 100 day update (day 11)

Let me tell you about Kate.  She's a friend, wife, mother, juggling a career, volunteering.  The kind of person you want in your life.  

A life long dieter, Kate lost 50-60 pounds, she felt lighter and happier.  A few months later her mother died. Overcome with sadness and depression she gained the weight back.

Over the next year Kate's journey freed her from her vanity struggles, the depression melted away and her smile/laughter slowly returned. It was amazing to watch her transform and her confidence return after deciding to focus on what's important. 

The next summer she wore a bikini to the public pool.  I will never forget her telling me, "I'm tired of feeling like I HAVE to cover up.  I've always wanted to wear a two piece... so I'm doing it".  Something about her had changed, she was alive.

Happiness: 100 day update (day 4)

My happiness plan is listed to the right... but remember it's not about the pressure to blog about 'creating happiness', it's the doing that counts.  Jump in anytime, with an email reply, comment or write your own post.

Just a quick update this week since I launched this four days ago (click here for details).

My list is 100% achievable if I focus on work/life balance. I hope I'm successful (or mostly successful).

Last week: I created happy by taking time to feed a friendship I value. We EACH drove about three hours, in the rain, for pancakes and a walk. How great is that!

This week: I'm planning to meet with a new friend and would like to pick the classic I want to read.  There are so many books to choose from and I don't have a list of must reads... do you have a recommendation for me?

Happiness Project: 100 day happiness challenge

I have learned that you need to make an effort to be truly happy.  Choosing to create a happy life vs being happy in the moment.

Happiness has a snowball effect.

After a few months choosing happy, and putting in the work to make it happen, I'm seeing a shift with family and friends. THEY are changing!  Just last night a friend told me that she told someone "not to spend emotional energy on something they can't control". That's my tagline!

Reducing the daily chaos is tough yet we create 90% of it. Getting too involved in a family/friend matter, the pressure to start a garden from seed, worrying about our finances yet claiming we can't be happy without ____, etc...

Adventure: Mount Kilimanjaro, here I come!

I believe in adventure and challenging myself, just beyond my comfort zone.

I have been researching, planning, and doing more research to make sure I understand what I'm getting myself into...

My next adventure will test my boundaries and comfort....

I'm climbing one of the Seven Summits! Mount Kilimanjaro to be specific.

Why this one?

I'm in love with Africa.  It's also the least rigorous of the seven, and I have breathing concerns related to elevation (my lungs burn quickly).

I have been exploring this idea for a while.  Just a few months after completing the Ultra Marathon (Jan 2011) while traveling in Italy I met a gal who has climbed a few summits.  She even invited me to join a climbing group in NY to learn how to climb.  The commitment was to much at the time, with a six hour drive each way, but the idea stuck.

Eighteen months later I'm beyond excited to tell you that I have my eyes set on the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro (summit:19,341).

More to follow as I finalize plans bookending the trek (Istanbul prior to our arrival at base camp, and a week relaxing/exploring Tanzania post summit). Yes, I have talked WT into doing this with me which makes this a 'we' challenge (one of us will over prepare, one will show the other that preparing is overrated).  HA!

~ Life, it's happening!

Travel: Crossing the Atlantic

Hello Friends,
Have you been on a cruise? Do you enjoy them? 

Earlier this month, I joined my father on a seven night cruise from NYC to Southampton, to visit Oxford and London.  We would sail to London (3,459 miles) and fly home.

My father had double knee replacement surgery this year and I didn't want him to travel alone.  He wanted to take cruise vs flying to avoid the small seats and gradual time change.  Did you know that at sea they adjust an hour a day, midday?

Leading up to the trip I was anxious since there is no way off the boat, January is the known for rough seas, and the news confirmed a terrible flu outbreak on the QM2. 

Cruise Highlights:

The QM2 made no stops… it was me, water, a boat, and a thousand senior citizens ~ photo to right was my uniform: headset, scarf, vest, sunglasses, ipod

I met Celia Imrie. She’s just delightful

Madame Butterfly - in 3D

The entertainment was okay. The violinist on board will be on Britain's Got Talent, he has a great spirit about him.

Satellite internet is very slow, and expensive, but kept me busy. I was able to be online everyday. I worked for a few hours each morning, keeping up with email, enjoying the view and consuming a lot of green tea.

Video Skype is amazing

My dad was a big hit!  There were at least 50 widows/single ladies for every one man on board.  I kept joking that I accompanied him to make sure he didn't get married.

Travel: For the love of London!

Hello Friends,

This is Part II of my father/daughter travel adventure.  Click here to read bout my week at sea.

The Trip: My father booked himself a trip on the QM2 last fall, from NYC to Southampton and a month ago I decided to join him. We spent eight days at sea and survived a week of ‘extremely rough’ seas, followed by three days in Oxford, and three days in London.

London (why I joined my father on this trip): 
I fell in love with William Shakespeare in the ninth grade… this is why I had to come to London.

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