Life in Kefalonia

I recently found old photos of my first backpacking trip which began in Athens, Greece, and ended in London, England.  Like many new travelers, I was excited and filled with adventure as I traveled through Greece, Italy, Austria, France, and England, by foot, ferry and train.

My first memory was of the huge backpack that I struggled to carry.  I remember Athens was hot and crowded as my backpack appeared to grow larger and heavier with each and every step I took.  I found myself throwing shirts, shorts, and dresses into city garbage cans along the way, leaving a trail of my identity on the streets of Athens.

I boarded a bus to the coast and then jumped onto a boat to Kefalonia, an island in the Ionian Sea, west of mainland Greece.  At that time, it was not a tourist destination but an untraveled location, unspoiled by commercialism and tourism.  I immediately fell in love with Kefalonia and the relaxed, laid-back lifestyle.  My days were spent riding a moped around the island exploring the green mountains, and swimming in beautiful azure blue seas. Evenings were spent strolling along the shore, eating at cafe’s and connecting with the locals.

I remember thinking that I had found a paradise, a place where time was irrelevant and life was simple and minimal.  The island created a sense of stillness within me, as I fell in love with the island and its people.  Eventually, it was time to pick up my backpack and move on again. The rest of Europe called to be explored, but Kefalonia had settled in my spirit in an unexpected way.

From Kefalonia I took a ferry to Italy where I traveled by train to Venice and spent a few days on the canals, exploring a completely different world of water, gondolas and Italian food.

The journey continued on to Austria, France, and then eventually a ferry to Dover, England, where I lived for the next twelve years.

Sometimes when we travel, we are so focused on the next destination that we don’t really experience the place or present moment that we are in.  I remember that on the island of Kefalonia, I settled into a lifestyle that I had never known before.  It was a place where body, mind and soul, all felt at peace, and everyday life became meaningful in a way that it hadn’t before.

I still dream of my short life on Kefalonia, and although I haven’t been back in many years, I suspect that its probably changed and has become a popular tourist destination now, but it’s true essence of its beautify and people are still there and will forever be a part of my journey as a new traveler.

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Sacred Traveler’s Bucket List

There are travelers, and then there are sacred travelers, which I believe are those of us who have a deep connection to the earth and have a desire to experience it all, the deserts, mountains, oceans, and forests of the world.  We hear the call of faraway distant lands and have a love for their landscapes and people.

As a lover of travel, I dream of exploring the world.  Remote places like Zanskar, speak to my soul in a way that only a true traveler would understand.  I imagine standing in the Himalaya’s, on top of the world, eating meals cooked over an open fire and listening to the spiritual chants of the Buddhist monks, as I breathe in adventure, spirit, and life, with every breath I take.

I recall a few years ago when I was traveling to southern Texas, I was reading the book, “The Snow Leopard”, by Peter Matthiessen, which was about his adventures in Tibet in 1973.  A man sitting next to me said that he had also read the book and had traveled to Tibet and found it to be a mystical place.  When the flight ended, he turned to me and said, “I hope you get to Tibet.” I remember thinking, yes I need to get there…

The photo above is from my journey to Costa Rica.  Ironically Costa Rica was never a place that called to me, but I ended up going on a yoga retreat and it turned out to be one of the best experiences of my life. I hiked up a volcano, zip lined above the rainforest canopy, went white water rafting and swam in volcanic hot springs. This trip brought me back to life after a long and difficult year.

Sacred travelers also find passion in other people’s travel journeys. What’s your story?  What countries are on your travel bucket list? Where have you traveled to and why?  What are some of your favorite countries and travel experiences? Please share!

Soul Motion

A SACRED JOURNEY OF MUSIC, MOVEMENT AND SOUL

Sacred travelers can hear the call of faraway places and distant lands, and we love the experience that international travel brings.  Our senses come alive in the spice markets of Marrakesh, our lungs fill with crisp mountain air in places like Tibet or Zanskar, and our bodies are refreshed in the rainforests of Costa Rica.  As a person who intentionally seeks international travel and beautiful places, I am always planning my next trip.  Quite unexpectedly one day, I found myself not on an outer journey to a remote and exotic land, but instead, on an inner journey of body, mind, and spirit.  It was called, “Soul Motion” and Mark Ensweiler was my guide.

Mark has been in the healing arts for over 35 years and has an impressive background as a Board Certified Licensed Chiropractor, Certified Yoga Instructor, and Certified Soul Motion Teacher.  When asked about Soul Motion, Mark said, “I continue to find these wonderful “conscious dance/movement” practices to be an ongoing way to support healing, creativity, (movement & seated) meditation, and inspiration in my own life and it’s a great way to share meaningful time with others as well in a supportive group setting.  Each individual Soul Motion class is complete unto itself and yet there are a wide variety of “practices” that can be experienced in a class and this is the beauty of Soul Motion.”

An average session will last approximately 75 minutes, as Mark skillfully guides you through a variety of music, and at times will instruct you to connect to specific areas of your body.  Most of the journey is freeform, with no talking; an inner journey for you to solely take.  There are no limitations as you follow your breath and let your body move in ways that it needs, as it releases old stagnant energy, aches and pains and everyday stressors.  The diversity of music allows you to choose your own movement whether it is slow, standing still, or dancing wildly.  Each piece of music is carefully selected by Mark and includes a mix of international vibes, spiritual tunes and a crescendo of notes that takes you on an inner journey that is uniquely individual and yours alone to take.

Music has been well known to a be a potent healer for people in a variety of ways.  Music soothes the spirit in difficult times and lifts the spirit in times of celebration.  Movement is also recognized as an important element of healing, and when you combine music and movement, you have a powerful combination of personal expression.

If you are seeking a new experience, want to connect more deeply with yourself, or simply love music and movement, take a trip through Soul Motion.  There is no greater journey than one to know your authentic self…

Mark is offering an upcoming series, “Soul Motion Movement Meditation”; sessions begin this fall at Dance Dynamics in Plover.

For more information about Mark or Soul Motion, please contact him at:

msensweiler@gmail.com

For more information about Soul Motion, or its creator, Vinn Arjuna Martí contact:

http://soulmotion.com/

 

Hiking the World with Wildland Trekking!

 

I’m very excited to announce that I am now an Ambassador for Wildland Trekking Company!

Someone once said to me, “I could never do group travel.”  I also used to have that same thought, but once I traveled with Wildland Trekking Company, I completely changed my mind.  On my first hiking trip, I met a diverse group of people from all over the world. Together we hiked in remote slot canyons, swam in beautiful tranquil waterfalls, made shadow puppets on the canyon walls under star-filled skies, and ate healthy gourmet meals in some of the most beautiful natural settings imaginable.

Wildland Trekking Company offers domestic and global hiking trips to Iceland, Nepal, and Peru, with options for several different trip styles including; basecamp, stock/porter and inn-based.  Trips are rated for difficulty levels, offering a hiking experience for people of all ages and abilities.

Wildland Trekking trips are for people who have a love for nature and adventure.  If you are looking for a new experience or want to personally explore “Therapeutic Landscapes”, you can’t go wrong with Wildland.  You will have the experience of a lifetime!

https://karoleeblog.com/2017/08/24/therapeutic-landscapes/

For more information about Wildland Trekking check out the link below:

http://mbsy.co/j3WsH

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Therapeutic Landscapes

Did you know that different geographical locations or landscapes can be spiritually or physically healing? The mountains, forests, oceans, and deserts of the world offer you the opportunity to explore both your interior and exterior worlds.

The next time you travel, tune into the elements.  Each geographical location will have its own energy, its own ecosystem, and its own natural vibration.

These include:

Mountains

Mountains represent strength and stability.  By connecting to mountain energy, we can generate inner strength to withstand emotional and physical problems or barriers.  Mountains remind us to feel centered and grounded.

Mountains can be chipped away at; holes or tunnels can be carved deeply into its core, but they always remain solid.  Mountains are reminders to be strong in body and mind.

Sometimes our problems may appear like mountains, huge obstacles that we can’t get around or over, but with each step, we eventually climb the summit, overcoming personal struggles or difficulties.  Mountains remind us that we can get through the rough terrain, the tough times, and reach our goals.

Deserts

The Desert has been known to be an ancient and sacred place throughout history.  People have been known to go into the desert to find themselves, or to seek a connection with God, spirit or the universe.

The desert offers a stillness that we often struggle to find within.  In the desert, the landscape can seem quite harsh and barren, and where we find we have nowhere else to go, but within.

The desert is a place of emptiness and solitude.  It can represent our feelings of loneliness and isolation, but in the desert, if you listen, you will hear the whispers of the winds who continually blow, forever moving and changing the landscape. If you find yourself in a barren and desolate inner desert, go within, seek connection, and remember that the winds of change will guide you safely out again.

Forests

Forests are magical places that for centuries, people have written stories about mythical creatures that live deep within its foliage.  Forest symbolism represents our unconscious, and getting lost in the forest can represent our own inner search for direction and meaning.

Green plants and trees have been known to heal body, mind, and spirit while reducing daily stressors and tension.  Psychologically, green forests can offset angry and aggressive feelings.  Next time you feel irritable or upset, take a walk in the forest, chances are, by the end of your journey, your anger will subside.

Oceans

The ocean has been a source of healing for centuries.  Saltwater replenishes our spirit, while salt air cleanses our lungs.  The sound of waves can induce a meditative state, helping to leave worries and cares behind, while the color blue instills a sense of peace and tranquility.

The ocean is symbolic of life in many cultures. Psychologically, water is symbolic of emotions, often fluid and flowing, changing with the tides, sometimes volatile and sometimes calm and serene.

One of my favorite places is the Gulf of Mexico.  A natural thinker by nature, I find that the expanse of the ocean clears my mind and brings about a sense of clarity and focus.

The next time you plan a trip, think about geographical locations, and let your body, mind, and spirit guide you…

Deserted Island Dreaming?

 

Have you ever fantasized about going to a deserted island, leaving your worries and cares behind?  Have you ever experienced solitude in a place where the expanse of the ocean and sky, fills your soul in a way that nowhere else ever has?

I have dreamt of being on a deserted island my entire life, and have often visualized myself walking for miles on white sandy beaches, swimming in warm healing salt waters, while watching fluffy white clouds float by.  There, I wouldn’t have a thought or care in the world.

On August 12, 2017, I finally made my long-term dream come true.  Being a familiar traveler of southern Florida, I have visited many different and beautiful beaches but had never boated to a deserted island. On my last trip to Marco Island, I did some research and although there were several boating excursions to pick from, I chose Hemingway’s Water Shuttle, a relatively new company that had received positive reviews.

Hemingway’s Water Shuttle is located on Marco Island and is a small family run business that shuttles people from Rose Marina to a deserted island called Keewaydin. You have the choice to go to the island and stay for a couple of hours or for the entire day. If you stay for more than two hours, I would recommend that you bring a beach umbrella for shade. But if you don’t have one, not to worry, because Hemingway’s has all the gear and equipment that you need at a very reasonable price.

The boat trip is a fun, smooth sailing journey through tranquil turquoise waters, and you have the choice to either sit in the shaded covered part of the boat, or you can stand up front with the wind in your hair, like I did, pretending your onboard the Titanic with Leonardo DiCaprio, feeling a sense of freedom that you have never felt before.

Keewaydin Island is surrounded by beautiful crystal white beaches, and the water is so warm and soothing, that all your cares and worries literally float out of your head with each passing wave, being left onshore for the remainder of the day.  (When I left, I chose to leave my cares and worries there).

One side of Keewaydin Island is barren, with only a handful of people who also share the same dream of tropical nature and solitude; while the other side of the island has more of a party feel to it, with food and cocktail boats floating alongside the shore.  People picnic, socialize and dance to Latin music. You can start your morning off on a secluded desert beach, and then end the day dancing in the surf!

Steve and Val Hemingway are exceptional guides, both having warm friendly personalities and a passion for creating wonderful experiences for people who come onboard.  They made it a point to get to know all of their passengers, finding similarities between people and asking where everyone has traveled from.

I asked both Steve and Val, what were some of their favorite stories from their boating trips.  They shared several experiences, some of which really touched my heart, they include:

“Children’s excitement and joy when finding seashell treasures in the sand; An elderly man in a wheelchair saying he never thought he would feel the sand beneath his feet ever again, and a woman who hadn’t watched the sunset in years.”

The boat trip consisted of dolphin watching, slowing down to take pictures, and Riley the dolphin dog, who runs from one side of the boat to the other spotting dolphins. Riley, a cockapoodle, always knows when the dolphins are nearby.  He travels on most of the trips with Steve and Val to Keewaydin Island.  Having a canine boating companion was another fun and unexpected part of the journey.

Now back onshore and back home, I continue to dream about Keewaydin Island, and can still feel myself floating on the warm salty waters of the Gulf of Mexico, wishing that some moments would last forever.  My worries and cares are still there, they continue to float in the gentle waves but probably have traveled far out to sea by now, carried away forever…  I never needed them in the first place.

With many thanks and appreciation for a wonderful time with Hemingway’s, I was able to make one of my own dreams come true.

For more information:

https://www.hemingwaywatershuttle.com

 

American Airlines Greatest Asset

Every once in awhile you meet an exceptional person who inspires you or makes an impact on you for the rest of your life. That is exactly what happened to me on August 10, 2017, onboard American Airlines, flight 2634 from Chicago to Fort Myers,

I misunderstood the captain’s announcement that it was someone’s birthday and thought he was talking about one of the flight attendants. I later got out of my seat and met the flight attendant that I thought was her birthday. I said, “Is it your birthday today?” She said in a jovial way, “No, my birthday was in July and I turned 76.” I thought she was joking and said, “How old did you say you were?” She said again, “I’m 76 and hope to be doing this job until I’m 80!”

Mary had a magnetic personality and I was immediately intrigued to find out more about her.

Mary was happy to share that she has been working for American Airlines for 35 years and only became a flight attendant at the age of 54. She said that at the age of 76, she is the 3rd oldest flight attendant working for American Airlines.

Mary expressed that her life is blessed, and said that she loves to meet people, which is obvious by her natural warmth and friendly demeanor. Mary said “Age is only a number.”, and went on to say that she enjoys skydiving, parasailing, and golf. On Mary’s time off, she volunteers with a local hospice center and Alzheimer’s organization in Fort Worth Texas.

Mary’s life story inspired me greatly. She is truly living an authentic life of serving others. She has a wonderful attitude about life and sees each day as an adventure. Mary said that each morning she wakes up and hopes that she can inspire someone. Well on August 10, 2017, Mary truly inspired me in more ways than she will ever know. I have no doubt she will reach her goal of working with American Airlines until the age of 80, and that she will go on to inspire many others.

I also want to give American Airlines a huge thumbs up for hiring Mary at the age of 54. She is truly one of their greatest assets.

I hope someday that our life paths will cross again somewhere in this world, and that Mary will say to me, “I turned 80 and hope to work until I’m 85!”

  • Keep flying high Mary, wishing you all the best!