Travel is a regenerative escape. Suicide is not.

This outpouring of social grief over the suicides of two celebrities last week, has left me thinking… Is this social outcry, the same white noise that contributed to Kate Spade (Fashion Designer, 55) and Anthony Bourdain (Traveller/Writer/Chef, 61) taking their own lives?

The millions of people turning to social media to express sadness, and feelings of pain and loss, for people that they did not have meaningful two-way relationships with is interesting. How is it that thru media alone, can one person (celebrity) can have an impact which causes emotional, and even physical pain, to strangers? Is this genuine?

What if, in life, that celebrity felt the enormous internal pain inflicted by of a whole world of people who thought they knew him? Millions of “people” aka social accounts that wanted his attention, or a piece of his fame? What if the noise of social celebrity was absolutely deafening? What if you couldn’t get that noise out of your head? What if you felt like every hour of every day people wanted a piece of you? How would you even survive?

Is this what musician and celebrity suicides have in common?

Rather that a state of depressiveness, is suicide the ultimate “flight” choice? Meaning that when your most basic instincts are “fight” or “flight” is this what it comes down to? To fight would be to regain your privacy and find your one true inner voice. But what if that seems impossible? What if though you try, you can NEVER quiet the madness? Is this when select musicians and celebrities choose “flight?”

I can only speak to my own experience, but I have definitely been overwhelmed with demands. (I think most of us can relate.) Have you ever wanted to run away or quit work because it felt too chaotic or absolutely overwhelming? I definitely have. So that’s when I would travel. On the hard days, I would desperately cling to the anticipation of my next vacation. Escaping or getting away from my regular life was always the reprieve I wanted and needed. The chance to go exploring and mix among strangers was wonderful. I love the freeing feeling of anonymity.

Travel was my escape from reality when I owned a busy restaurant. At work I would typically be in the kitchen filling orders on a busy busy night (multitasking to finish multiple dishes simultaneously) and at the same time staff were asking questions and guests were wanting to visit/socialize have my ear. It was always chaos. At times I wanted to race out the backdoor and hide from all people and responsibilities. I would fight through it and divide my attention every way possible, but it was an awful feeling, like you’re never enough. There’s never enough time of “you” to go around. That’s just me, and on such a small scale, but I absolutely believe teachers and nurses and politicians and business owners also feel similar internal strife. And if this is our every-day lives with 30 people nagging at us for attention, imagine it on a celebrity scale. No thanks. I wouldn’t last.

So what if, the same social madness that reaches out in grief, is the same social madness that caused the tragedy? Is the only way to rest in peace, to stop the noise?

Ultimate budget bargain

You know that feeling when you’re desperate to leave the cold weather behind, but your budget screams Raman noodles? But you STILL want to go, so groceries be damned.

Can you compromise a bit?  5 night vacation instead of 7?  Can you book and go at the last minute? Eat granola bars, and buy your own bottle of rum, but still live on the beach? Then, tropical vacation might just be do-able after all. Check this one out. It leaves Winnipeg on Saturday. (Yes, this Saturday).  How’s $555 tax & flight included?

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From selloffvacaktions.com

Everyone’s version of “worth it, is different.”  I think there’s a vacation for everyone and everyone’s budget. But it’s about compromise. Of course, we all want luxury 5 star vacations for $500 but that isn’t reality.  Value is probably the best word for me to describe what I find a worthwhile vacation. I like to feel like I’m “getting what I pay for” and maximizing my dollar. You know, 5 star vacation, at 3 star price. And it’s very possible, simply by compromising on the dates. Go when others are not. Don’t go at Christmas, but instead go two weeks before.

As always, check the recent TripAdvisor reviews for honest, current, relevant feedback. And only YOU can determine what is good value for your hard earned money.

Current Trip Advisor reviews for the Melia hotel as shown above.

Add insurance, whether on your credit card or not. A bargain can turn into a financial disaster when you go without a safety net. And less stress. Manitoba winters can throw a wrench in things. So can a flu or sudden illness.

Favourite photos of 2016

This photo represents a beautiful afternoon in Italy. It was very emotional and will be one of those moments I never forget.
Using my Canon long zoom camera, I managed to capture the soft eye and sweetness of this seal pup. It was a photo I took in San Diego, California. One of my all-time favourite photos.
I love this photo because it represents a mother-son trip to watch baseball. We went to Arizona and saw the Diamondbacks play both the Giants and the Yankees in a weekend. My son caught a ball, also had it autographed and ran the bases post-game. Such a good time!
A bridge in Revelstoke, BC from August 2016. I simply love the symmetry, and the moody colours. I’d frame this one and put it on my wall, I love it that much.
The blue waters of the Turks and Caicos will forever hold a special place in my heart. I feel so centred there. One of the happiest places on earth, to me.
I love this photo because it represents the surprisingly great time we had in Cleveland. My younger son took the photo on a Monday morning in September.

5 Star Mazatlan $675 plus tax

Hey Winnipeggers, here’s a bargain you can share with your friends. I know you like a deal!

Here’s a Black Friday deal from SellOffVacations.com. You leave Friday December 16th, and return on the 23rd, in plenty of time to hang the stockings for Santa.

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Nov 21st, screenshot
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A 5 star vacation, for a family of four, under $1000 per person.

Stay tuned all week, for more Black Friday travel deals.  If you like the deals, please share them with friends.

Give me a minute

I hate the idea of blazing from one gas station to the next, leap frogging traffic as you go. However, if a road trip in inevitable, I’m going to stop, explore and wander a bit. This makes it much more enjoyable for me. One such example was this detour off the Trans-Canada Highway in Saskatchewan, to stop and explore Wolseley.

The sign ON the Trans-Canada said “swinging bridge.” I thought that sounded like fun and slowed the truck down to make the turn.

“Mom! Where are we going?” Riley asked.

“Just give me a minute”, I replied. “We’re going to stop and see if we can find this swinging bridge.”

We turned onto the eastern access road, and literally 2o seconds later was the town sign. And at the 45 second mark, a golf course on the left, and a snazzy looking quilt shop sign on the right. So I pulled into the parking lot.

“Mom! Where are you going?” Riley asked.

“Just give me a minute” I replied. “I’m going to check out this quilt shop.”

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Tiger Lily Quilt shop, less than 1 minute north from the Trans Canada Highway in Saskatchewan

Tiger Lily Quilt Shop was just a cute as their sign. Inspiring designs on the walls, shelves and shelves of fabric, and yarn too. And a warm, friendly clerk at the desk. She told me that they’d moved from a location “downtown” to this one, just this year. I asked her where the bridge is, and she replied, “just over the tracks turn left. Then, at the three way stop sign go right. It’s at the end of that road.”

Sure enough, we were at the swinging bridge after a mere minute further of driving. What a beautiful location over the river!

My teen leapt from the car. This obviously looked like fun.

We stolled across the bridge and back, snapped a few photos and looked at the bridge. We paused then to read the plaques. And before you know it we were back headed towards the highway again.

All together it was about a 12 minute pause on our journey, but definitely a highlight. I highly recommend it. Take the detour, stretch your legs and see what a cute town Wolseley Saskatchewan is!

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Dedication, at the foot of the bridge
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Steadying myself as my teen son bounces on the bridge and takes my photo
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Heritage building on the far side of the bridge

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More heritage buildings still in use, down on Front Street