I recently retired after 16 years selling villa vacations on the exclusive island of St Barth in the Caribbean. I have two amazing sons and daughters-in-law, and four wonderful granddaughters. I live half the year in Fort Myers, Florida and the other half at Wakefield, Rhode Island. Since retirement in the spring of 2017 I’ve revived my lifelong interest in painting and mixed media art — and I’m still determined to learn French! However travel has been a passion since my first trip to Europe when I was 19.
I was born and grew up in Montreal, Quebec. After my senior year of high school my mother and I flew to Geneva, stopping along the way first in Ireland, then London and Amsterdam reach for two nights. I was in awe! The deep green hills and friendly people of Ireland, the history and overwhelming size of London, and the fascination of a different language and culture in Amsterdam, were thrilling for me. I was excited by it all and took it in like a thirsty sponge. I spent that year at school in Lausanne, Switzerland. I saw much of Switzerland and during Easter break we went by bus through the south of France into and around Spain. I had a front row seat as I saw places mentioned in my European history classes. I was actually seeing ancient Roman ruins and stepping onto the “pont” in Avignon; walking through the Saint-Paul asylum gardens where Van Gogh lived. Seeing firsthand the Moorish influence of the Alhambra, the excitement of a bullfight.
At the end of school year my roommate and I traveled by train through Italy before flying back home via London. We stopped in Milan, Florence and Rome. I saw so much that year and met people from all over the world. I had housemates from various European countries as well as Iran, the Philippines, Honduras, Brazil, Venezuela, Sweden, Japan, and many more, and I was fascinated by the cultural differences and histories of these women. I learned a lot about myself that year, I learned I am a traveler, not a tourist, and I will always find a way to experience new cultures and meet new people.
Fast forward to after college and child rearing years, in 1988 I had an opportunity to go to the USSR with a college group. Then in 1995 my newly widowed mother and I decided to take a trip together again. We chose Greece and Turkey, an area of the world we both were anxious to experience. That trip led to many more adventures and over the next 12 years we toured Israel and Egypt, spent three weeks traveling through China, drove through southern England, cruised the Danube. I made solo trips as well to France, Italy, Austria, Ireland, Alaska, Mexico, Hawaii, Peru and the Baltic countries. In the last three years I’ve delighted in visiting Scotland, Iceland, and Norway and closer to home beautiful Nova Scotia.
What I discovered is the initial delight of an 18 year old traveling outside her country for the first time hadn’t diminished, it had blossomed. I see the world in a different light because of my travels. Having experienced so many different cultures I watch the news with more understanding. I appreciate nature having seen so many amazing landscapes and rivers.