I live in a small town. A town of about 9,000 people, one fast food restaurant and the owners of one stop light. But today I realized why I am a small town girl and I am extremely proud of my small town.

We had a tragedy in our town; a 4 year old autistic boy had gone missing. During the 48 hours of his disappearance the community as a whole came together to search for the missing child. Hundreds if not thousands of volunteers walked, rode bikes and drove around the community hunting and searching through the days and night on water and land to help find this child.

Unfortunately this incident had the worst possible ending, the child was found at the bottom of the lake. Lake Erie, our gem that can bring us so much joy and beauty also can be frightening and cause pain.
However maybe as terrible as the incident is maybe the young child fulfilled his mission for God (or whatever higher power you believe in) he brought a community together, strengthened a bond among a small town that they had not known they had. It had nothing to do with race, religion or politics, it was all about humanity.

Thank you to everyone that came together "United we Stand" and never think that you cannot make a difference because together we can.
Rest in peace Sidney
 
 
It has taking me a long time, basically my entire life, to learn that I don't need a lot of stuff. The more I travel the more I realize that stuff is a burden. I have met countless individuals that live with very little stuff to hold them down, consequently they have more freedom.

Stuff means that in your absence during your worldwide travels you need someone to take care of all of your stuff. That can mean watering, dusting, checking on or collecting. Or of course it could mean paying for storage. Sure a lot of the stuff is pretty but do I really need it especially if I'm not home to see or use it?

With this realization I have decided to start downsizing and simplifying by dematerializing. I have eliminated unnecessary magazine subscriptions and junk mail being delivered by snail mail to my house. I have eliminated live plants that need watering, pruning and attention. I have started to get rid and sell endless knickknacks that need constant dusting. (selling that stuff also gives me more money for travel!)

I haven't got a lot accomplished yet but somehow even with the small steps that I've taken I feel an increased sense of freedom.

Now I'm not saying that I'm ready to put all of my worldly goods into a backpack and a duffel (my cat would hate that) but I already feel as if a partial burden has been lifted from my life.
 
 
Decisions, how do you decide when and where you're going to travel? Is it a destination that is on your bucket list? Or do you go at the best time you're permitted by your workplace? Is it shoulder season, or at the time of year when you get the possible rate? 

I'm currently struggling with two possibilities or maybe three! 

Do I travel to a place on my bucket list during the shoulder season? It is a time that I will get the best rate but I will have weather conditions that are less than optimal. However I could take a later date spend about $300 per person more and have better weather conditions. Then there is another choice, more inclusive in the package but less days. Alternatively I could just go to a different destination altogether, one that is still on my bucket list and is a price based in between the other two prices.  

Decisions, decisions, decisions, how am I going to decide? 

Advice anyone?
 
 
According to my local meteorologist meteorological summer arrived on June 1, this is also the official beginning of hurricane season in the Atlantic. 

The predictions for the 2015 Hurricane season are for a relatively quiet season, but Ironically the first storm of the season occurred before the official beginning. 

Upon my recent arrival in Florida it was obvious that hurricane season has begun. The sunshine State was anything but sunny. At first it was gray and dreary then we had monsoon type of rain. Or I guess you could say hurricane strength rain. The powerful wind tore out the screens on the lanai.

The hurricane season is upon us and we have already had the second named storm in the Atlantic. While having dinner at a restaurant the power went out due to the strong wind; and then while driving home from a long weekend trip in Pennsylvania I got acquainted with Tropical Storm Bill. My home and eastern Pennsylvania are not in the normal hurricane zones but I am already tired of them!

As with all of the other recent natural disasters everyone should make sure that they have their emergency preparedness kit available and ready to use. It sure seems we are going to need them this year.
 
 
This is a public safety announcement. In the northern hemisphere summer is here the sun is shining and everyone wants to have that glorious tan. Don't do it! Use your sunscreen.

Recently in the news and on social media much as been said about skin cancer, melanoma, squamous cell and basal cell. All three conditions are caused by the sun. A precancerous condition called Actinic Keratosis, AK, is also caused by solar damage. 

Celebrities like Hugh Jackman, Diane Keaton, Anderson Cooper, Melanie Griffith and Cybill Shepherd just to name a few have learned about skin cancer the hard way.

Unfortunately I too have firsthand knowledge of AK, as did Brooke Shields. It is painful and unsightly but it was caught before it turned in to cancer.

As you pack for your travels be sure to pack your sunscreen hats and UV protected clothing. These protective items are as important as your passport, if you want to continue a long life of travels not to mention the prevention of pain and suffering.
 
 
Every day all around the world we are asked to donate or collect money for some type of a fundraiser for various disastrous events, some person in need or research for a cure. Often times multiple donation requests occur several times during one day. 

Throughout the years I have donated countless times to the Vietnam Veterans, volcano victims, earthquake victims, the American Heart Association, Boy Scouts of America and Girl Scouts of America  just to name a few. There are countless other charitable causes and organizations that I have also supported too.

Annually I participate in the event Race for the Cure in support of research for a cure for breast cancer.

This past weekend I participated in another walk/run fundraiser event, Miles4 Kyle. Miles4Kyle was an event to raise Hodgkin's Lymphoma awareness and to support my teenage nephew Kyle. Kyle was diagnosed on March of this year with the disease and is currently undergoing treatment.

I just want to thank everyone that contributed to the Miles4Kyle cause and encourage people to continue to support charitable organizations everywhere. There is always a need for charitable donations, please continue to be generous with your support if you are able.
 
 
Short and to the point....
 
 
Are you a Good Travel Companion? I guess first we need to define what makes s good travel partner.

I think a good travel partner packs the most important thing first, a sense of humor. Humor is needed because rarely do plans go as perfectly as expected, the unexpected happens. Humor makes the adjustment better.

A good companion is willing and able to stay on budget, regardless if the budget is high or low.

A good companion is considerate of time constraints and is punctual. They are able to use time wisely.

A good companion does not pack everything they own, knowing that added luggage is added burdens and often added fees..

A good companion has taken sometime prior to the trip to orient themselves to the destination. Knowledge is power and knowing in advance helps lessen disappointments of the highly anticipated.

A good companion is willing to try new experiences from food to cultural traditions.

A good companion is flexible and diverse. They are up for a variety of options from shopping to museums to religious icons to nature.

A good companion has energy to complete a full day of fun.

A good companion does not want to stay up late drinking all night and then sleep in the next day. They realize they can do that at home.

A good companion is patient. Everyone knows "a few minutes" in travel time could mean hours.

A good companion is a good communicator. They can listen but they can also seek information when necessary.

So are you a good travel companion?
 
 
And our Planet Earth and Mother Nature continue to challenge us. This past week the earthquakes have continued; the flooding, tornadoes, wildfires and heavy spring snows have all occurred, and that is just in the United States. Not to mention that the first spring storm Tropical Storm Ana formed weeks before the official start of hurricane season.

Since most of these events occur without a lot of warning today I have one quick message… emergency preparedness.

I have spoken in the past about being prepared for emergencies and having an emergency kit available to “Grab & Go”. For your sake and your family’s well-being please get an emergency kit ready.

There are many websites that have numerous recommendations of the items that should be put in your emergency kit. Please take the time to do some research and find the essentials that are most needed for your specific emergency kit for your area.

Do not delay because is certainly seems as if Planet Earth and Mother Nature are working together to keep us on our toes!

 
 
The earth continues to be shaking and baking. We are not only talking about the explosive volcano in Chile and the devastating earthquake in Nepal. But now we are also talking about an underwater volcano off of the coast of Oregon, a volcano in Indonesia and earthquakes in California, Michigan, Mississippi plus one in Papua New Guinea! Actually yesterday alone (Sunday May 3) there were 90 recorded earthquakes throughout the world!!!! Thankfully they were not of the Nepal magnitude.

Of course let's not forget the volcanoes that continue to erupt in Hawaii, Guatemala, Japan, Indonesia, New Zealand and Italy. And remember that's all within the past few days.

While traveling on a trip to Kenya as we entered the great rift travel companion that happened to be a geologist explained many things to me. He told me that basically when we have an earthquake and the plates of the earth shift downward to the earth's core. The plates start to melt causing more lava. The increase in lava then needs to go somewhere so we have volcanic eruptions. How he explained it actually made sense to me.
To all of the geologist out there I apologize if I did not have the exact terminology but I think that sums it up basically for those of us that are not scientist.

The photos below demonstrate the usual areas of concern, not that a really understand all of it but I do not see Michigan highlighted. 

So with all of that said do we all need to think more about emergency preparedness?