My Tour of Spain Comes to a Close

Saturday I leave Spain and travel to France, so for my my last day in Spain I have taken a 1 hour bus trip north to the coastal town of Cadaqués. As I reflect on my four weeks spent traveling through Spain, I am in awe of what I have seen, where I’ve traveled, what I have learned, feelings that have surfaced, how many miles I have walked and how much more comfortable I am at this moment from when I got out of the taxi in Madrid and walked into my hotel. Comfortable with what this life of travel look like and feels like. Comfortable with picking destinations and figuring out how to get not only to the city but to my Airbnb. Comfortable with navigating around towns and cities, whether they be large or small. Comfortable waiting and waiting for buses and trains. I am currently sitting in a cafe in Cadaqués as I write these words and am watching a thunderstorm move in over the hills to the north. The temperature has dropped and the majority of the visitors have gone into cafes to get away from the lightning and rain that is likely to start any minute. This is a medieval town that used to be walled in. I had never heard of this city, but after 2 different hosts told me about it, I decided it was worth a bus ride to see it, and I am so grateful that I did. Wandering through the old town I looked at houses and out at the view of the Mediterranean Sea they had from the front windows and I thought how lucky you would be to have this view. The white buildings, with bright blue shutters and doors are a beautiful backdrop to the green-blue tint of the water and the white sailboats anchored in the bay. 

I arrived in Madrid exactly four weeks ago today and in that time I have visited 10 cities including Madrid, Sevilla, Málaga, Granada, Ibiza, Alicante, Valencia, Barcelona, L’Armentera and Cadaqués. Each of these areas was unique and I enjoyed various aspects of each town. Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and Sevilla are the largest cities in Spain in that order. Málaga is the 6th largest and Alicante the 8th but the populations of these two towns is each less than one million. I spent 3-4 days in most locations, except for Barcelona where I spent five days. I chose to spend a bit longer in Barcelona from being worn out traveling place to place and I knew that the size of city and the things I wanted to see in Barcelona would take more time. I was thankful to have this time because it allowed me to explore the city in depth and discover the neighborhoods I liked the most. I was then able to dedicate more time to people watching and sitting in coffee shops writing. I see myself returning to Valencia and Madrid to further explore those cities, especially when friends of mine that live in these two cities are actually there to show me around and the heat of the summer is no longer a burden.

The small towns made the deepest impression on me. This was true as I ate in small neighborhood restaurants like the seafood place in Alicante that was tiny but packed with people laughing and eating together. And the garden experience of La Sal that I had in L’Armentera as well as the quaint piano bar in L’Armentera called L’Ut de l’Emporda, that is open when they decide to be open and by coincidence my waitress from the beach bar that I went to on Thursday was sitting having a beer after her shift ended at the beach and before she was meeting friends in L’Escala to see some live music. She recognized me from the beach and we had a lovely conversation about the area and my travels. I loved watching the families on the beach enjoying their holidays together. The kids playing in the sand and parents relaxing in the sun. 

It was very intentional that I traveled from the southern coast to the northern coast, starting in Málaga all the way to Cadaques and into the Balearic Islands during my travels to Ibiza. Each coastline is named and from what I’ve read, it seems to be based on the terrain, what grows there or just a vibe. I wanted to explore these different coastal areas. As I started in Málaga I was in the Costa del Sol – the Sunshine Coast and the sun was prolific there. The beaches wrapped around various rock formations, hardly ever went in a straight line. When I traveled from Ibiza by ferry to Denia and then down the coast to Alicante, I traveled along the Costa Blanca which is a very mountainous region. Throughout the entire trip from Denia to Alicante, I traveled via TRAM, like an above ground subway system that weaved in an out of mountains directly up against the coast. As I traveled by train from Alicante to Valencia I traveled along the Costa del Azahar, or orange blossom coast and you can see orange tree groves throughout the countryside as you travel by train. Barcelona is in the Costa Dorada, or golden coast because of the color of the sandy beaches. The last part of the coastline I visited was the northern part of the eastern coast, or Costa Brava, the rugged coast. As I rode in the bus today to Cadaqués, I was reminded of the fact that any pro cyclists call this area home during their training periods. There are steep, winding roads that drop off to beautiful beaches below. I didn’t make it to the northernmost part of the country nor to the southernmost part, but I definitely will at some point in my travels.  

I came to the realization that I am not one to seek out world renowned museums in every destination I visit. I did visit the Modern Art Museum in Madrid, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia only because it was a free evening and I needed something to keep me from sleeping the entire duration of my 3 days there that didn’t involve being outside in the heat. I enjoyed the Picasso museum in Málaga as it’s his birthplace and there was also a visiting exhibition of Andy Warhol’s work that I had never seen. While I was in Alicante my host was telling me about an Archeology Museum there that is one of the top museums of its kind in Europe. I decided to visit on a Sunday, one because it was so bloody hot outside and the idea of hanging out in air conditioning for a few hours sounded great and it was only €1.50 since it was Sunday. I stayed more than 2 hours and was completely blown away but not only the content of the museum but the layout. I found it more engaging that most natural history museums in the United States and it included an entire section for Andalusian history for that region of Spain and  also marine and shipwreck exhibits. While in Valencia, you have to visit the City of Arts and Sciences center located on the old Turia riverbed. The architecture of the complex is simply breathtaking. Each of the buildings, while they house works of art and science exhibits inside, the outside of each building is equally engaging. I visited the Museu de les Ciències (sciences museum) and was thoroughly engaged in two of the exhibits they had, one on Mars and the other on the Mediterranean Sea. I felt like a little kid on a field trip from school as I engaged with the hands on pieces of the exhibit. 

My top highlight of my travels in Spain was attending Paella School in Valencia. It was the most unique experience I have had while traveling. The chef that ran our class is someone who is doing the exact thing they were meant to do in life. As I struggle to envision what “my thing” is, I watched Carolina and had a constant a smile on my face watching her laugh, dance, hug and take pictures with the attendees. She did this the entire 3 hours she was with the 13 of us. She taught us to cook paella with love – love for the ingredients – love for the process and for the love it brings to others as they sit down to enjoy it. The world would be a better place if we could all spend of our lives loving what we do, half as much as she did. If you ever travel to Valencia, please seek out attending this class, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

The other activity I enjoyed in nearly location I visited, was going to local markets. In Spain, these weren’t outside markets but housed in beautifully designed buildings where the stalls likely are passed down through the generations. In large cities, like Barcelona, each neighborhood as their own market which reflects the community.  I was staying close to the Sant Antoni neighborhood and their market had recently had a major renovation. As I visited the stalls, the owners were so patient with me as I pointed to items to find out more about them. Each area of Spain had slightly different specialty items.

I am glad that I started my adventure in Spain and was able to see so much of a country, that I have never visited before. All of my Airbnb hosts were gracious and inviting and added to my ability to really experience an area. I have been encouraged throughout this month that I’m on the right path, that traveling and exploring new places is what I need at this moment in my life. I am so very grateful for my loving family and friends that have offered encouragement and support. It is difficult not being able to just pick up the phone to talk someone, but I have found that being intentional about what you want to say can be just as rewarding via email. I am off to France today, first stop is Montpellier for 3 days. I’ll see how long it takes my brain to register saying Merci, instead of Gracias. Adios from España. 

Are Courage and Bravery the Same Thing

When people here about my journey, the most common reaction or word they use is how brave I am to do this, that and how envious they are of me for actually doing it. I am intrigued by the use of this word – brave. When I think of bravery, I picture refugees leaving their homeland with their children, leaving their possessions behind to risk everything for a better life. I envision soldiers on the battlefield fighting fearlessly for principles of liberty and freedom. I recall African Americans crossing the bridge in Selma facing gunpoint, attending college and putting themselves in harms way to fight for the right to be seen, heard and counted. I am a white, well-educated, American woman that has grown-up surrounded by love, acceptance, good schools, piano and dance lessons, food on the table and the ability to move freely throughout my country and the world I’ve traveled through, thus far. What do I know about bravery? I acknowledge that my life hasn’t been without struggle but show me a human being who hasn’t faced strife, hard times, sickness or adversity at some point in their life. 

I looked up the definition of bravery and it included courageous behavior or character, mental or moral strength to face danger, fear or difficulty. I don’t feel as if I’ve faced danger in my life and there it was – the inclusion of ‘courage’ in the definition of bravery. If you display acts of braveness does that imply you are courageous? Over the last couple of years, I have studied and practiced Brené Brown’s research on vulnerability and shame, specifically her statement that in order to embrace our vulnerability, we must cultivate courage, compassion and connection. She highlights that the Latin root word of courage, is “from the heart” and says that the original definition of the word courage was “to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart.” I connected so deeply to those three words, Courage, Compassion, and Connection that I tattooed three C’s on my arm to help me embody those concepts on a daily basis. I have made tremendous IMG_5758progress on embracing my vulnerability, living with compassion for myself and others and recognizing the power of connection, but I have a long way to go to tell the story of who I am with my whole heart. That’s why I set off on this journey in the first place.

I think that’s why I’m having a hard time connecting with the fact that people are telling me how brave I am. I’m associating bravery with courage and I’m not able to unravel that story of who I am – wholeheartedly yet. But I am certainly trying and after nearly four weeks of traveling, even in a very civilized country like Spain, I have had times of mental struggle. I have had to deep a little deeper to find the strength to keep walking, find my way, lug my bag up more stairs in a Metro station, figure out where I should go next and how I will get there. I’ve also found myself embracing the ability to sit alone while I eat and enjoy the surroundings I find myself in. I also acknowledge that I haven’t dedicated as much time to self-discovery as I was thinking I would have in this amount of time. I have filled the time with sightseeing, sitting in coffee shops and people watching. But those times have served a purpose, like every moment of our days no matter where we find ourselves. I need to be conscious and honor the bravery that it took for me to start this journey while also recognizing that cultivating the courage to live wholeheartedly will take a bit longer than a month to manifest. I know struggles await me and I will face those times with bravery but most importantly with a sense of humor and a vivid awareness that it brings me closer to living with my whole heart.   


In my posts, I have chosen pictures that I’ve taken that sparked a thought that either led to the writing in the post or that I feel speak to the content. This post includes a picture that I took from my tour of la Sagrada FamÍlia. Antoni Gaudí’s design of this cathedral was both brave and courageous. He wanted the “Sacred Family” to have a representation that didn’t exist before and dedicated his entire life to making it a reality. Even though the cathedral remains unfinished, it is inspiring to see how many people are continuing his dream today.

Facing Forward

Yesterday while exploring Valencia I visited the Mercado Colón. A market that opened at the turn of the century and is now home to a “gastro market”. While concepts like this are finally making their way into American cities, like the Dairy Block, Stanley Market and The Source markets in Denver, this building is exquisitely crafted with an elegance that new buildings today cannot even come close to replicating. Inside, the market is filled with cafes, restaurants, heledarias (ice cream), and coffee shops built with modern appeal but situated within an open environment so that the historic presence of the building is very much intact and part of your experience, no matter where you sit to enjoy your visit.

After a long, hot day of walking the city, I  needed to relax and cool off with a tapa and cerveza. I sought out a place with a nice breeze and just took in the surroundings. It was early evening so the activity in the market was minimal. As I sat, it occurred to me that although this building was inaugurated in 1916 it has continually moved forward. Meeting the needs of the community and it’s visitors. These words came to me as I enjoyed my tapas and Valencian Marzen.

Sitting in a seat on the train facing backwards,
I stare out the window and watch
the rolling hills,
olive groves and
towns passing by
Eyeing not where I am headed
But what I have already passed

Much like this time I face at the present moment
Time filled with reflection
Time spent amongst
the plains
and the mountains.

Time filled with
and a wonderful life.

This current journey finds me in new places
Not looking too far into the future
Anchored firmly to the present

Digging deep to find the courage
To step into the unknown
Explore new cities
Lost amongst spoken words I do not comprehend
Filled with uncertainty but also hope

That I shall find the gem hidden inside
That wasn’t listened to
Unallowed to blossom
May she open fully in all her glory

The past shapes up
But does not define us
A new version awaits discovery
It will be found

Facing forward
With an open heart
A curious eye
Untainted perspective

Two Weeks Under My Belt

I have been traveling through Spain for a little more than two weeks now. Longer than most vacations Americans take yet I realize about half as long as the typical month long European holiday. Many of my friends and family have asked, “how’s it going”, “what’s it like traveling alone”? I thought I’d give you the rundown on my wanderings, what has worked well, what I have enjoyed the most, where I may have made a not so great decision, and anything in between.

Starting out at the pace of staying three or four days in a location at a time, and not having each of those locations fully planned out ahead of time has been exhausting. I wasn’t exactly fully rested and thinking with all my capacities when I left Denver on July 19th. I had been frantically packing, moving, transitioning my work duties, saying goodbyes to loved ones and honestly I was emotionally and physically wiped out. This was brutally obvious as I arrived in Madrid, but I recognized it and made a vow to listen to my body and allow for those moments of rest and rejuvenation to take place. It would have been much better to pick one location and stay for about 10 days to unwind, slowly acclimate to my new world and to gain the strength and courage to face this journey. But I didn’t do that and here I sit in Alicante, my fifth location since arriving in Spain 16 days ago. I woke this morning to a beautiful view overlooking the ocean and the peacefulness of the city was the perfect backdrop for my morning meditation and reflection on the patio outside my bedroom. 

All my accommodations, with the exception of Ibiza have been absolutely perfect. I stayed at a hotel in Madrid that had a metro stop right outside, and was walking distance to beautiful parks and museums, great tapas bars and shopping areas. My Airbnb’s in Seville, Málaga and now Alicante have been nothing short of 5-star! If you are interested in getting the links to any of the places I’ve stayed please reach out. Airbnb uses a term called Superhost to identify hosts that have superb ratings and really go above and beyond. Each place I’ve stayed thus far has been a superhost and they have lived up to that rating.

And now to Ibiza, great idea bad execution is the only way I can describe this experience. I was sitting in Seville and was getting a little nervous that I didn’t have my stop after Málaga planned. Looking at a map of Spain, I had originally planned on getting to the coast in Málaga and making my way north. As I looked at different destinations, I became very curious about the Balearic Islands which include Mallorca, Menorca, Formentera and Ibiza. I was craving some rejuvenation that comes from laying in the sun, preferably at a pool with the sound of the ocean nearby (not too picky, right). I really wanted to visit Mallorca or Menorca but couldn’t find any available accommodations and the flights from Málaga were extremely expensive. Maybe it was sleep deprivation, heat exhaustion or too much sangria in Seville, but I booked a flight, four nights hotel (that had a pool) and left bright and early on Monday, July 30th and landed at Ibiza airport at 8:30 in the morning.

I hadn’t done any research about the island and I figured that even though it IS the biggest party island in the world, there had to be some other redeeming qualities like beautiful beaches, great restaurants, you get the picture. And I do love electronic music, so who knows maybe I would visit one of those iconic Ibiza nightclubs and dance off a little steam. After a 30 minute cab ride to the opposite side of the island from the airport, the cab driver started winding through tiny streets lined with rundown buildings and dropped me off at the hotel. As I walked inside, the lobby was filled with twenty somethings all with British accents loudly rehashing their events of the evening before that I think had just ended a few hours before that moment. I made my way to my room and the halls reminded me of a college dorm, although much cleaner, thankfully.  As I plopped down on the bed, I thought I was going to burst into tears, but instead I just laughed. I had picked this part of the journey, I was here for the next four days and wasn’t about to let everything I was seeing around me get me down.

I quickly learned that while Ibiza is a relatively small island, it’s very isolated and each area is vastly different. I had selected a hotel in West Ibiza, the old town area is in the southern part of the island, the east side has a hippy feel to it and there didn’t seem to be much in the northern part of the island. Without a car, travel throughout the island is quite difficult. Unless you are staying at a four star resort, the happenings in Ibiza all center around the huge nightclubs or outings on the water. There’s a bus called the Discobus that departs the bus station at midnight and on the half hour after that, to take people to clubs. Some of these clubs hold 10,000 people and cost 60€ to 75€ to get into. All the big name DJs have shows in Ibiza and I imagine their sets would likely start at 3:00 or 4:00 AM. Instead of jumping into that insanity, I sought out the limited bus service and traveled to some of the best beaches, explored the old town and enjoyed the breathtaking sunsets available only on the west side of the island, just a short walk from my hotel. Good food was a struggle to find since most visitors in this area weren’t as concerned about quality as they were price. But the people watching was worth having to buy a bottle of Cava and eat a 16€ Caesar salad my first evening to watch the sunset at Cafe del Mar. My learnings from Ibiza are that I’m never going to go somewhere because I think it would be cool to say I’ve been there. I’m a planner and planning has served me well in life and while there may be some places where you can wing it and all is good, I recognize that other places may require a bit of investigation to be assured of a memorable experience, positive memories that is.

Traveling alone definitely has benefits and challenges. If I want to spend the hottest part of the day in my air conditioned room, cozy in bed reading a book – so be it. Exploring cities and seeing sights alone has been comforting too because you go at your own pace and see exactly what you want to see. At times, eating has been both a struggle and a joy. In some locations, like the lively tapas bars in Madrid, the atmosphere was so electric that it called out to be enjoyed in the company of others. In other spots, sitting and people watching was better than any historic sight I could have visited. I’m carry a small journal with me everywhere I go and have been capturing moments that bring a smile to my face, or make me think about something I want to explore. One of my dinners in Málaga, I was eating at a little cafe oceanside called El Cabra. One of the waitresses saw a friend of hers passing by with her toddler in a stroller. Her face lit up as she rushed towards them, and as she bent down to kiss the little boy in the stroller who was directly facing me, his face emanated bliss. He grinned the cutest grin you have ever seen. It was pure joy as the woman approached him. It reminded me that children have the purest souls and they know who and what brings them comfort, joy and love. I would have never seen that interaction had I been engaged in conversation with someone or had my head buried in my phone. As I jotted down the thoughts of that interaction in my journal it opened my heart and my mind to being more aware of those moments where I was feeling joy.

So here I sit in quiet Alicante, planning my day which includes storming the Santa Barbara Castle followed by a evening event of Spanish wine and cheese tasting. We shall see what unfolds tomorrow.

What’s Waiting on the Other Side

I greatly anticipated my visit to Seville, or Sevilla as it is known in Spain. Growing up in Kansas City, you are acutely aware of the fact that Kansas City and Seville are Sister Cities. There’s a beautiful shopping area of Kansas City known as the Country Club Plaza, (the Plaza) that was built in the 1920’s and was designed architecturally after Seville, Spain. It is commonly referred to as Seville Plaza by locals. The fountains around the Plaza hold wonderful childhood memories for me, including one in which my brother, always pushing the edge just a bit, got a little too close to the slippery stone edge and fell right into the fountain, fully clothed. After college, I lived and worked on the Plaza and walking those streets was like no other neighborhood in Kansas City.

As I got off the train from Madrid to Seville and was walking through the train station, I looked up and one of the signs was directing people to Kansas City Avenue. I got a smile on my face and instantly thought of those beautifully designed buildings and fountains on the Plaza and realized that I was about to be surrounded by even more beauty than those four miles that make up the Country Club Plaza. It wasn’t until I arrived in Seville that I began looking into the history of the Seville/Kansas City relationship and came across a great web article explaining the history and how the Plaza in Kansas City came to be.

Walking the cobblestone streets of Seville with their intertangled routes, I was astounded by the streets themselves and the artistic heritage throughout the city. Parts of the city are expansive, filled with lush gardens, palaces and government buildings that resemble museums. You can walk along the river which has various historic traditions depending on which side of the river you venture into. In other barrios it seems as if you could wander through the streets for hours at a time, lost in the beauty of the buildings, the lively music playing and endless cafes calling you to stop in for a tapa, glass of wine or beer. While Madrid is a thriving city filled with diversity and everything that comes with housing the capital of a country, Seville embodies a mystical presence to me that carries a juxtaposition with it that says, yes I have history, culture and monuments but I also have passion, evident through Flamenco dancing, mystery in my winding streets, and as it states on the official Seville tourism website, a city full of life and possibilities.

On my last day in Seville, I visited the Plaza de España, built within the beautiful Maria Luisa Park, and marveled that this magnificent structure was built in 1929. Not in the 16th or 17th century as much of the architecture would suggest. This structure is six years younger than my house that I just sold in Congress Park in Denver, Colorado yet you feel as if you’re stepping back in time as you walk through the tiled alcoves, eye the exquisite Vicente Traver fountain in the middle of the courtyard and walk across one of the bridges that crosses the canal.

The photograph in this post is one of those bridges. And while the majority of gathers at this grand sight take their picture from atop the bridge, I was enthralled by what lie on the other side. Tucked within the flowering trees, the iron benches calling you to rest in the shade. In life, we have so many bridges that we have the opportunity to cross. If we stall mid-span at the bridge, we must decide, are we moving forward or retreating to that which is familiar? I spent most of my life thus far, in that “familiar” zone. While I love exploring new places, and I especially love taking new jobs, it has always been in a calculated, well planned manner. One in which I am firmly in control and can easy retreat when needed without appearing in the least bit to have failed. But now on this journey, I can only move forward. I know I will stumble, I will make mistakes, and in the absence of more poetic language, shit will happen.

But I also know that I will gain a strength I didn’t even know was possible, I will gain knowledge to see the world from an entirely different perspective, and that in the words of my hometown band, the Flobots “retreat is not an option”. Moving forward means embracing the unknown of what lies on the other side. It means being alright with leaving behind some things that may have served you well in the past, feeling confident that what lies in front of you is greater than you ever thought possible. It’s time to move forward. If there’s something that’s been holding you back, I hope you’ll move forward with me. 

Starting is the Hardest Part

It’s quite easy to say the words, “I want to…”. But we all know that actually starting “that whatever” is the hardest step to take. A little over six months ago, I got the courage to utter the words, “I want to quit my job and just travel for a year”. The anticipation grew, the challenges mounted, gut wrenching decisions were made, tasks completed, hard goodbyes were said and planning turned into reality. Check in time had come on that one way plane ticket I purchased many months before. 

As I landed in Madrid not quite a week ago, and made my way to my hotel, I felt like I was watching a dream. Not the ecstatic, fairytale “my dream came true” scenario but a mystical, somewhat foggy reality. I had actually walked away from my marriage, from my career and from my precious daughter to pursue this new endeavor. I wasn’t necessarily overwhelmed with grief but I wasn’t grinning from ear to ear either. And you know what I did, I slept. I took a three-hour nap as soon as I got to my hotel, showered and drank an excessive amount of water. The next morning, I got up and went for an exhilarating run, came back to the hotel, showered and took another 3 hour nap. I traversed around the city, sampling delicious foods and wines but made my way back to my hotel in hopes of sleeping most of the night.

While I was planning this grand adventure, I wasn’t sleeping that well. This first week abroad has made me realize that this journey is a marathon, not a sprint. As two of my friends are training for Ironman events next month in France and I witness the dedication to their training they are undertaking, I’m reminded that I’m training for a long haul event as well – life!  

This journey is not about the stamps from countries that will soon fill my passport, the masterpieces that I will see in museums, breathtaking cathedrals that I visit that line the streets in so many cities across the world. It is about whether I am willing and open to experiencing these adventures with honesty and integrity for myself. That I can have the courage to explore myself as deeply as I explore a city. It is embracing learning to strike up conversations with strangers that speak in languages I don’t understand. Even feeling comfortable enough to ask someone to take my picture. Can I melt away the walls I have built around myself that falsely make me feel safe? Will I embrace slowing down when my brain tells me there is more I should see and do?

If taking much-needed periods of rest and mid-day naps this first week is any indication, the slowing down has commenced. The canvas has been primed and as I finish this first week of travel, I am recognizing that my courage and strength to not only utter those words but to live out that reality will profoundly shape me in ways I could not have imagined. I am embracing each day as it comes. 

“Lo que está para ti, nadie te lo quita.”  – Anonymous

What is meant to be for you, nobody can take away.


I Will Always Love Colorado

Seventeen years ago in June 2001, Jeff, Jordan and I moved to Denver, Colorado. Our first six years as a family was filled with love and laughter but also pain and worry as Jeff and I watched our little girl come into this world two months early and fight for her life. And then 10 short months after her birth, Jeff went into end stage renal failure and needed three times a week dialysis treatments to stay alive. We couldn’t have survived those first 6 years without the love and support of our family in Kansas City, but after Jeff received his first kidney transplant in 1999 and we both completed Masters programs in 2001, we headed West to launch into a new life together.

Colorado quickly became our home. We watched Jordan thrive in elementary school, surrounded by wonderful friends and teachers. Singing in school choir programs, playing the piano and always listening to music. She then went on to high school and attended college in Denver. All the while, thriving with her love of music, curious spirit and warm heart. It filled my heart with immense joy to see Jeff in the classroom teaching science to kids where some would go on to be the first in their family to graduate from high school. He was healthy and riding his bicycle and fully thriving from his kidney transplant. I embarked on my career in healthcare that led to many exciting and engaging jobs that brought new learnings and many new friends, many of which are still in my life today.

Colorado is a state filled with glorious mountains and breathtaking views around every turn. The beauty of this state has a way of amazing you no matter how many times you’ve seen a view. Whether on bicycle rides, drives from Denver to Creede, sitting on the deck in Evergreen with a gorgeous view of Mount Evans or simply driving around town it was easy to say “we freaking live here!”

This is the place all three of us grew and transformed into the people we are today. When you stop to think that the Rocky Mountains developed over millions of years to get to the breathtaking peaks, valleys and streams we enjoy today, it’s sobering to think that as humans we have such a short time on this planet to fully develop ourselves. As I set off to explore the world and experience many beautiful places, in my heart, Colorado will always be home for me. In this place, my heart opened, my eyes widened and my spirit awakened. My curiosity to explore myself and the world deepened. While I won’t have a place to truly call home during my travels, I know that the world welcomes me. The next phase of life awaits. Tomorrow I leave Colorado and head to Spain to begin again, to expand, and to explore the courage to journey deeper than I ever have before. 

Rise up nimbly and go on your strange journey to the ocean of meanings. The stream knows it can’t stay on the mountain. Leave and don’t look away from the sun as you go, in whose light you’re sometimes crescent, sometimes full.


Finding Serenity Amongst Chaos

At this moment, I am pondering why when a momentous occasion occurs in our life, we use the saying “a new chapter” is beginning. Today doesn’t feel like a new chapter, it feels like a whole new story is being written, an outline in my head that I didn’t think was possible is unfolding. I am currently homeless but was lucky to spend the last week in a friend’s beautiful house with the most serene backyard you could imagine. My husband of 23 years packed up and headed West a few days ago to start a new phase of his own life. As I prepare to stay in three different locations over the next three weeks before I leave on my journey, I am living out of bins of clothing and sorting through the last few stacks of papers of what still exists of my belongings that are not currently residing in a 5’x7’ storage unit, have been sold or given away or will accompany me on my travels. 

The events of the past week were overwhelmingly difficult, both physically and more so, emotionally. Each day seemed to bring a new level of chaos and challenge from signing the closing documents on our house that I loved so dearly. Dedicating the time to my responsibilities at work to ensure that my team and all our accomplishments have the ownership to continue to flourish. Packing up every last item in my tiny kitchen that provided such joy to me as a created meals for my family and I over the last eleven years. Spackling holes and touching up paint from the paintings and photos that filled our walls with our adventures and reminders of a life well lived and full of love. To awkwardly saying goodbye to my husband who so kindly supports this decision of mine to embark on my journey. I walked out of my house for the last time last Wednesday evening, tears filling my eyes. The freedom of this new start is exhilarating but this heaviness in my heart will take some time to heal. I am committed to taking the time to find serenity and to remember that spirit of awakening is a journey. And so the story unfolds.

The Journey is About to Begin

Thanks for joining me! I am about to embark on what my friends and I are calling, my mid-life gap year. I have given my notice at work and have only two weeks left in the corporate world. We sold our house in less than 48 hours and now I’m sorting out belongings of my first 49 years of life. I’m visiting family in Colorado and other parts of the country to prepare myself for saying goodbye and to fully launch into a world of self-discovery, new beginnings and amazing adventures. I hope you will join me as I document this journey through pictures, thoughts and experiences. The liftoff begins July 19, 2018 as I leave Denver and travel to Madrid, Spain. See you soon!

“Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” ― Miriam Beard