2019 in Review (a little late)

2019 was a tragic and heart shattering year.  It began with a trip to Chile, Argentina, and Brazil.  I was gone for 18 days with people I didn’t know, on an adventure tour through Intrepid Travel.  After a short introduction to Santiago, Chile…

We took a bus across the Andes

And spent a couple of days at a ranch in Argentina.  I took this time to recuperate from the worst intestinal bug I’d ever experienced.  I had a doctor come to my hotel room because I was so ill and dehydrated.  When you go through the loss of a loved one, it manifests itself physically in addition to emotionally.

We then moved onto Mendoza, Argentina (wine country), which was gorgeous.

Buenos Aires was next on the agenda.  Very vibrant and busy!

Next, we visited the amazing Iguazu Falls, from both the Argentinean and Brazilian sides.

Finally, we arrived in Rio de Janerio, Brazil…

It was an interesting trip, but I didn’t feel like myself.  A week after arriving home, I flew to Playa del Carmen, Mexico for the annual Urban Adventures conference, and was ill there also.

In May, I moved to my lovely condo with a beautiful view of the skyline of Cincinnati from the Clubhouse/pool.

I began online dating and was beginning to feel more settled, when my only child, my beautiful boy, Justin passed in July.  If you’re a parent, it’s your worst nightmare.  This is the last photo of he and I taken 3 weeks before his passing.

Unless you’ve lost a child, you can’t fathom the suffering, pain, and grief you go through. He was my universe, my heart. Eleven days later I went on a solo 1,000-mile road trip to Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Toronto.  I was trying to distract myself from the horrific grief.

Detroit, Michigan
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Toronto, Canada

I continued with the travels…next was Three Oaks, Michigan with my girlfriend for a long weekend, where we explored Indiana Dunes State Park.

I climbed Mt. Leconte (3,000 ft. elevation change – 11 miles roundtrip) with a friend

And on the way home, met another friend at Red River Gorge, where I spread my son’s ashes at Whittleton Arch Trail.  He used to love going hiking/camping there.

I led a group on a hike nearby my condo.  I found some solace in the woods.

My next trip was to Palm Springs, Joshua Tree Nat’l Park, and Death Valley Nat’l Park, California with a friend.

Palm Springs, CA
Joshua Tree Nat’l Park, CA
Death Valley Nat’l Park, CA
Death Valley Nat’l Park, CA

I finished the year with a trip to Cape Coral/Ft. Myers, Florida

I discovered the travel was a temporary shallow distraction, but I continued searching for beauty.

In between the travel, I was working hard continuing to build my company, Cincinnati Urban Adventures. We were having a great year – 2,500 passengers and I now had 7 freelance Tour Guides.

I grieved for my son and sometimes I would feel guilty that I wasn’t grieving for my husband as much. It’s odd that there’s a name for someone who has lost their spouse “widow” and lost their parents “orphan”, but the grief is so heavy and heart-wrenching, there is no word for a parent who has lost their child (only child for me – with no hopes of being a biological Grandmother).

Washington/British Columbia Trip – Day 8

A friend that I met a couple of years ago on a trip to Egypt met us for breakfast.  Up until a few months ago, she had traveled the world for a few years…stopping occasionally for a month or two somewhere that she enjoyed.  It was nice to see her.

I had booked a 4 1/2 hour bicycle tour of Vancouver through Cycle City Tours for the afternoon.  Originally, I couldn’t decide if we should just rent bicycles or spend more than double the cost to have a tour.  I’m so glad we did the tour.  There is no way we would have known where to go, even with the extensive research that I typically do.  This company was rated #1 by Trip Advisor.  We walked a mile or two along the sea wall to the bicycle shop.

Palm Trees in Vancouver??

Dan, with Cycle City Tours, was a knowledgeable and personable guy who led us on a wonderful tour that included Stanley Park (a 1,000 acre rain forest), Gastown, Chinatown, the Convention Center, and Granville Island.

We took a 30 minute break on Granville Island…so we decided to do a beer tasting!

If you’ve ever been to Pike Place Market in Washington…Granville Island is much bigger and nicer!


This wooden sculpture was somewhere along the bicycle tour…

We stopped at the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden.

Gastown was named after “Gassy Jack“.  You can read all about him here.

this was also in Gastown…the cobblestones and architecture reminds me of Europe.

Artwork at The Convention Center…

The trip was wonderful…if you haven’t been to the Pacific Northwest…I highly recommend going!  Have a wonderful day!

Washington/British Columbia Trip – Day 7

After a yummy breakfast at Rocky Bay Cafe, we boarded the ferry at Friday Harbor, San Juan Island for the 1 hour ferry trip back to Anacortes.  We picked up our car and drove a couple of hours to Vancouver.  We only had a 5 minute wait at the border crossing.  Since it was too early to check-in, we drove on to Squamish…about an hours drive North of Vancouver…towards Whistler, on the lovely Sea-to-Sky Hwy.

We ate lunch in Squamish…notice the reflection of the mountains in the glass.

….then drove to our condo in Vancouver.  The owner of the VRBO in Seattle recommended this place to us and it was in a superb location…on Beach Street…across from Granville Island.  It was a bit noisy for sleeping because they don’t have air conditioning and when you leave a window open…

After checking in, we boarded an Aquabus for a 30 min. Tour of False Creek.

I recommend dining at The Sandbar, where we had dinner.  This is the view from the restaurant.

It was cool to lie in bed at night and gaze out at the City lights through the floor to ceiling windows!