Sometimes life paints us as a hero, sometimes it paints us as villain. Sometime we are the artist, sometimes we are the canvas.
It’s funny how international adventures are planned. I start with something that has inspired my heart, research the logistics and narrow it down to what is practical and doable.
My Grandfather was born in Poland, and last year doing the DNA tests I found that my DNA was 38% Polish and Eastern European. When I was stationed in the U.K, due to the Iron Curtain, we were not allowed to travel to the U.S.S.R or it’s satellite states and during my other visits I preferred the mediterranean cities. So now, all of sudden I want to visit Central Europe!
I began with planning a 2020 trip to Krakow Poland, the area where my grandfather was born. However, at the request of two of my cousins who also want to go to Krakow, I have rescheduled for June of 2021. We also plan to visit Auschwitz-Birkenau and Schindler’s Factory but in general, we are going to soak up the culture, cuisine and drinks of Poland.
After seven nights in Krakow, I am going to spend a few days in one of these cities, Budapest, Vienna, Berlin or Munich, I have quite a while to decide.
After that, I am headed to Italy, I fancy a couple of weeks around the Amalfi Coast (Positano). I can already smell the lemon trees, can you at Limoncello?
This will be my first solo international trip since I was in my 20s and while I believe that what most of us long for is a soulmate to share adventures with, that the failure to find such a kindred heart and soul, is no reason to stay home!
Because I am home, wherever I am.
As I started planning my 2020 trip to Poland and searching for more details as to where my Grandfather was born, I started a family tree at Ancestry. I able to find most of the information that I wanted. I found my grandmothers maiden names, “Gonzales and Archuleta” and all sorts of interesting tidbits. When my grandfather was born, Poland did not exist as a nation as it was occupied by Russia, Germany and Austria-Hungary. He was born in Nisko which in 1897 was part of Austria and is east of Krakow, just about two hours by car. In 2020, I”ll spend a week in the Krakow area, soaking up the culture, food and drink before moving on to Italy.
Growing up, I was always told that I was 75% Spanish and 25% Polish. So I decided to have my DNA tested. I ordered a AncestryDNA Kit from Amazon. The kit arrived in two days courtesy of Amazon Prime. I filled the tube with saliva and mailed it to Ancestry and waited for the results.
Three weeks later, The results were in and I was surprised! Here what I found out!
Native American 21%
Poland was invaded by Sweden in the 1700s, thus most Poles have Swedish DNA.
I never expected to be part Italian. I call Italy my adopted home because out of the 20 countries that I have been to, Italy is where I feel most at home.
Good thing I never let my ethnicity define me!
“Surprise is the greatest gift that life can grant us.”
~ Boris Pasternak
It may sound like a bit of a joke but the reality is that becoming physically fit can affect your social relationships. Fitness is not just about eating a certain way or exercising a few times each week; it demands a complete change of lifestyle. This could make it difficult for you to maintain existing relationships and to form new relationships.
During my three year body transformation journey I looked forward to my new jacked body. After all, how many 59 year old men have abs? I’ve found that in my dating age range which is around 45 to 55, that most women are intimidated! While they might enjoy looking at a rock hard lean body, they don’t want to date one! A common feeling is that their bodies won’t measure up, that they would feel pressured to get into shape. While there are men who feel this way, I think that in this day and age that most men including your writer, do not see women as a collection of body parts but rather see women in all of their awesome entirety.
One of the most cited reasons for not exercising is that people are already too busy. Having to carve out an extra 30 minutes to an hour for exercise could be a real challenge for many people. While it is completely possible to do so, it will require you to make some changes.
Often, though, people find they spend a lot of time doing non-essential things – like surfing social media or watching TV – that could be converted to workout time. Or, your only free time might be at a difficult point in the day like before you go to work or right after work. Either way, you will have to rearrange your schedule.
I can assure you that the advantages of being physically fit far outweigh the disadvantages of not being physically fit.
“A dream without a plan is just a wish.”
~ Katherine Paterson
“Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
You fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way.
Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way.
Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain.
You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today.
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you.
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun.”
That’s the opening lyrics of “Time” by Pink Floyd. The anthem of my life so to speak.
What value can be attached to time? You can’t save it for later and time does not build up interest. Time can’t be purchased but it can be given freely, for example when someone spends time with you be aware that they are giving you something of high value.
My exhortation to you is to value every moment and take nothing for granted. The conversations, the moments of silence, the shared laughter. When you travel, try skipping the tourist sites where you’re running to and fro, a picture here and a picture there. In exchange spend time in local eateries and pubs, in vintage bookstores and shops. I guarantee that is not a waste of your time.
You are always only one decision away from a totally different life!
This year and next year I will be having fun doing short trips, usually in conjunction with the weekend while I wait for my 30 day trip to Italy, Poland and Croatia in 2020.
As I write, I’m sitting in the San Francisco airport waiting for my flight to take me home from one of these shorter trips.
I thoroughly enjoyed myself, flying out here for a family wedding as well as making some time for myself. Yesterday I did a 90 minute hike along the beach in Pacifica, CA. Got to watch the sunset on the Pacific. Quite amazing how fast the sun disappeared once it hit the water!
“To move, to breath, to fly, to float, to gain all while you give, to roam the roads of lands remote, to travel is to live.” ~ Hans Christian Anderson
I’m dancing with the beast and feeling less than immortal, finding that it’s much easier to train in the mornings on the days when my schedule allows for that. Training after work is especially tough now.Looking forward to a family wedding in California next month. Quick trip, flying into San Jose on a Friday then driving to Fresno for the wedding. Moving on to Pacifica on Sunday for seafood and wine, great little town just north of San Francisco then flying home on Monday.“All that is gold does not glitter; not all those who wander are lost; the old that is strong does not wither; deep roots are not reached by the frost.” ~ J. R. R. Tolkien