Tag Archives: travel

Setting My Course and Sticking to It

The Baths on Virgin Gorda in the BVI [Nikki Tate]

Several years ago now (how time flies!), I joined my family down in the Virgin Islands for a sailing trip. I have been meaning to write about that in more detail ever since, but haven’t got around to it — until now!

Here’s a link to a post I wrote over on Medium (which is where I’m doing most of my blogging these days). It’s about a rather more-exciting-than-planned crossing from the BVI to Saba in the Lesser Antilles.

Over the coming months I’m hoping to be writing more about sailing adventures and destinations because I’m hoping to be doing a bit more sailing myself. I’ll try to remember to cross-post links here, but if you don’t want to miss out, you’ll be able to find all the stories over on Medium.

[Don’t know about Medium yet? It’s a blogging platform which is member-driven and supported. You can read three stories a month without becoming a member, but it’s not a bad idea if you’d like a way to support your favourite writers. It’s pretty cheap – only $5/month – and when you read and respond to articles, your membership fee is distributed among the authors you’ve read. If you’re a writer, you should definitely check it out.]

The times they are a changing…

One of my all-time fave critters… You can read a cool story about this cat over on Medium.

If you have been a regular reader of my various blogs over the years, I owe you an apology for having sort of disappeared. I haven’t actually disappeared, but I have mostly relocated my blogging efforts to Medium.

Because I wasn’t completely convinced that blog-readers over there would be interested in reading about things like the perils of duck-farming (and other such misadventures), I was a bit reluctant to move my entire blogging life from here to there. I don’t easily succumb to ‘grass is greener’ temptations, but in this case, recent changes to the way the Medium platform works have completely won me over.

You’d be amazed what can go wrong when attempting to breed ducks…
[Photo by Fábio Scaletta on Unsplash]

One of the things I love about Medium (and, I’ll be writing a post all about that very soon) is that I can write about anything I choose – travel, art, food, farming, climbing, writing – and there’s an audience. Things aren’t organized in quite the same way as a traditional blog, so people find and follow the topics they are most interested in.

And, yes, the platform is set up as a subscription service so writers actually get paid for their writing efforts! You can read up to three stories a month free, but after that, it’s $5. a month to subscribe. I LOVE the platform and find that modest charge to be more than worth the modest investment AND I know that when I comment on or cheer for the writers I enjoy, they benefit directly. There are no ads on the platform, which is another huge plus to my way of thinking.

Anyway, all that to say, come find me over on Medium. I will try to remember to cross post over here more often than I have been, but if you don’t want to miss out, pop on over and say hello!

Come! Let’s Get Creative in France!

Give Yourself the Gift of Time to Create

Writing, Painting, Creating Retreat in Provence, France

Think you might be interested? Have a look at the listing here.

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Amazing location (check out that pool!!) – nifty field trips (can you say wine? truffles? ancient markets?) – a chance to try your hand at watercolor painting, journal-writing, pen & ink, or drawing… Work on your novel… or, finally try your hand at writing a magazine article… outline a book of family stories for your grandchildren… Wherever your creative heart leads you, that’s where you’ll go… What about a scavenger hunt with your iPhone, honing your photographer’s eye? What would you do with a week (or two, space permitting, you can score a great deal if you book two weeks back to back) in Provence where we’ll feed you delicious local meals, provide you with space, time, and as much peace and quiet or inspiring workshops as you choose?

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We’ve structured this retreat so people can come and experiment, play, and create with as much or as little involvement from the facilitators as you like. We’re organizing some pretty nifty local field trips, which you can choose to participate in, or not. Everything is included – we’ve made it easy for you to change your mind on the fly, opting in or out of activities as the mood strikes you.tim-arterbury-126157-unsplash

Don’t let that blank page intimidate you! Join us in France and let your creative side come out and play!

Book Your Spot – Don’t Miss Out!

For more information or to book (spaces are limited and there is a discount if you register early), follow this link:

Book Now

And, watch the blog for more details…

Blissful Interlude (19/365)

My visit to Pender didn’t last long, but it was heavenly to enjoy the sun, water, beaches, friends and food at the Bluewater Cruising Association rendezvous at Poet’s Cove.

… and the dog, of course! I don’t have any grandchildren, but I sure do enjoy hanging out with my grad puppy Spartacus (Sparty). He’s becoming such a confident little boat dog!

My visit ended with a great potluck! The dinghy rode a bit lower in the water when the time came to shuttle me back to land to catch my taxi down to the other Pender Island (there are two – north and south).

I took lots of photos so I have more than enough reference material to get back to work drawing various things once I get back home.

I even managed to find a bit of time to work on my lines for Romeo and Juliet while hanging gout in the cockpit.

I also managed to find a bit of time to do a blind contour drawing of the Dragon Fountain from Butchart Gardens.

Here’s a photo…

The idea is to not look down at your drawing but to choose a line in the object and follow it without ever lifting pencil from paper.

About to board the ferry now and head back to Victoria for another couple of days before hopping back on another flight to Calgary.

Quiet (18/365)

A couple of quick photos from our sleepy anchorage… Poet’s Cove on Pender Island.

Glassy water and painterly skies…

Sea shanties by firelight…

Feasting, fun, friends…

…and now settling into my cozy quarter berth.

Looking forward to lots of fun activities tomorrow (and a more complete report when I have a bit more time).

Christmas is Here!! (Day 8/365)

Guess what was waiting for me in my mailbox after we got home from the BVI?

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It’s the Advance Reading Copy of the newest book!! Christmas: From Solstice to Santa will be out in September, 2018 – in plenty of time for stocking stuffer season…

 

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That’s a somewhat younger version of me sitting on Santa’s knee… 

 

As always, the book looks lovely thanks to the hard-working team at Orca Book Publishers! Also, a special shout out to Dani, co-author, daughter, and Christmas-lover who came up with the idea for the book waaaaaaaay back when… it’s so cool to see this inching toward final publication!

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Also waiting for me once I was back in regular contact with the virtual world was a message in my email in-box. What a relief to read the wonderful note from my editor, Sarah, who says the first draft of the book about medical assistance in dying is in reasonably good shape. By this I mean, it doesn’t look like I need to go back to the drawing board and completely rewrite everything, which is most excellent news. Of course there are all sorts of issues to have a look at, some things to move around, and a few gaps to fill, but overall, we are off to a great start with this book about our ultimate ending! (Tentative title: When the Time is Right: Choosing to Live, Choosing to Die)

All of that’s fine and dandy, but let’s get back to Christmas… and, art – which, if there’s going to be an over-arching theme to the posts over the coming months, it will likely be that… Art, I mean… not Christmas…

 

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Christmas at Home by Grandma Moses

 

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In case you have always wanted to know what Grandma Moses (1860-1961) looked like, there she is… Her full name was Anna Mary Robertson Moses and what is most inspiring about her is that she didn’t get serious about her painting until she was 78!! Which means I have decades in hand if I get my finger out and start doing some visual art now…

 

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I can’t say this is really art, but it probably counts as a decorative element  in my journal (or, a doodle). And, yes, we did get stuck in the Puerto Rico airport for a bit as a result of an unfortunate ticketing error that had us boarding a plane bound for Tortola while we were still in the air travelling from Chicago… Obviously it all worked out ok because I’m now back in Canmore, but we did have some sweaty moments while trying to sort it all out! 

 

I’m a bit too jet-lagged to write much more today (if you didn’t clue in based on the rambling incoherent  somewhat disorganized nature of this post), but it feels good to be back, unpacked, laundry done and looking ahead to what’s coming at me over the next few weeks. Hint: more sailing, some school visits, climbing, the Camino book, art-related projects, and a bit of Shakespeare… Stay tuned!

 

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Calendar – 1902 by Theophile Steinlen

 

Note: What the heck – given I’ve now passed the 40-days-needed-to-create-a-new-habit mark, I’m going to set my daily blogging goal at 365 days and see if I can keep this streak going. Though, I wasn’t actually going to count the blog posts in April. If I counted the AtoZ posts, that would make this #38 and not #8. But really, who cares? I feel like this is the start of a new challenge embarked upon without the benefit of the inherent structure of the alphabet… and that, for some reason, feels quite daunting.

En Route – Heading Home

Flying back from the BVI via Puerto Rico and Chicago after a week that was equal parts stressful (unfamiliar boat, mechanical problems, electrical issues, under-experienced crew, under-experienced captain, spicy winds, seasickness, sunburn) and wonderful (warm waters, quiet anchorages, beaches to explore, reefs to snorkel, shorelines to paddle along, the Baths for bouldering).

A strange, sometimes uncomfortable bonus was spending most of the week device free, which meant meeting and chatting with people on the dock, chatting with each other, looking at the stars, feeding fish off the back of the boat, watching the sun set over the islands, going to bed early and getting up when we were done sleeping – all without being interrupted by constant beeping and buzzing and vibrating.

The exceptions to that idyllic break came during times of crisis – engine alarms, blinking electrical panels, dead batteries, a dying engine a that triggered flurries of trouble-shooting messages on a cell phone that we kept alive with a solar panel and saved for navigation and disaster interventions.

All that said, I learned a lot this week and challenging though it was at times, can’t wait to go back for more. Not the problems, of course, just the good stuff!