Loch Ness

30 of My Best Adventures

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One of my favorite WordPress blogs is Bucket List Publications by Lesley Carter.  She has the right attitude and the get-go to live a full life that she’ll never regret.  Recently, Lesley challenged her readers to make their own “Top 5 Bucket List.”  Something short and doable in a hectic world.

As someone who’s never actually sat down and put pen to paper on a bucket list, I thought that I should first recall some of the most exciting experiences of my life before I look to the future.   So, giving leeway for my memory, here are my top 30 of a lifetime! (Not in any order of importance!)

1. Did touch-and-goes in a Blackhawk on a snow-top mountain, Kosovo

2. Admired the Mona Lisa, The Louvre, Paris, France

3. Climbed a rock, only to rappel back down a cliff leading straight into a kayak, L’Al’Legne, Belgium

4. Slept inches from the home of a monster, Loch Ness, Scotland

5. Played on a glacier, Briksdalsbreen, Norway

6. Took an off-road jungle tour, Kualoa Ranch, O’ahu

7. Watched Old Faithful let off some steam, Yellowstone NP, Wyoming

8. Went to the top of a mountain, Gstaad, Switerzerland

9. Ate pirogues in Boleslawiec, pasties in Newquay, enchiladas in Juarez and drank hefeweizen at the Brauhaus and gluhwein in Wiesbaden.  Too many are the gastronomical delights!

10. Petted an alligator, Beaumont, Texas

11. Saw the musical Grease performed live, London’s West End, England

12. Cruised a river aflame, Rhein River, Germany

13. Watched the ‘boys ride the bulls, National Finals Rodeo, Las Vegas, Nevada

14. Drove on a dangerous mountain pass, Macedonia to Albania

15. Hydroplaned on the open water, English Channel, Calais to Dover

16. Rode bareback in a desert monsoon storm, San Pedro River Valley, Arizona

17. Glided on a bullet train, Thalys, Brussels to Paris

18. Sailed on a Catamaran, Honolulu, Hawai’i

19. Became a United States Marine, Parris Island, South Carolina

20. Hiked along the North Rim, Grand Canyon NP, Arizona

21. Got my first tattoo, Budingen, Germany

22. Looked down on the Colorado Rockies from the cockpit of a C-130, Chicago to L.A.

23. Rode my horse in a PRCA Grand Entry and Rodeo Parade, El Paso, Texas

24. Collected rocks and minerals 1,000+ feet under the surface of the earth, Meikle Gold Mine, Carlin, Nevada

25. Cruised a BMW on the German Autobahn

26. Bouldered the day away, Coronado National Forest, Oracle, Arizona

27. Lived in an extinct volcano, Aliamanu, O’ahu

28. Rambled the Scottish Highlands

29. Rode the coasters, Roller Coaster Capital of the World, Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio

30. Spent an entire year traveling fulltime in an RV

Wow, that was more difficult than I expected!  So many more locations and countries and experiences are bouncing in my head–far too many to list here.  My life has truly been an adventure thus far!

And now, to accept Lesley’s challenge …

Co-posted from Dusty’s Musings, Writing my own Bucket List.

Whiskey, Monsters and Peace: General Assembly

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In the late 1990s I was attending college in Belgium and volunteering with the American Red Cross overseas by teaching and working in volunteer leadership.  During my stay I was lucky enough to receive a regional award granting me free ferry passage from Calais, France, to Dover, England.  So with nothing more than a small Toyota pickup, a cheap $40 tent, and a cooler full of food in the back, my husband and I headed out with a very small wallet and a big dream of a wonderful new experience.

UUA GA Chalice, Kentucky International Convention Center
UUA GA Chalice, Kentucky International Convention Center

Tent camping our way from the White Cliffs of Dover, to the bustle of London and then north into the heart of a purple hazed heather-covered Scotland, we experienced the countryside as intended.  We weren’t burdened by hotel check-ins or event schedules, we just followed the road, living amongst the scenery rather than viewing it from afar.  We tasted Scotch Whiskey, searched for traces of Robin Hood in Sherwood Forest, and rambled among the ruins of walls and castles from long ago.

Brave and young, we found ourselves south of Inverness in the beautiful valley of a famous monster.  Chancing at a campground on the shore, we pitched our small tent with only a foot or two of space from the front flap to the drop off that became the cold waters of Loch Ness.  I remember going to sleep that night as the thick fog slowly enveloped the space before us and around us.  So thick was the fog that I dared not even step out in the small spot of land in front of us for fear of slipping into the water that I could no longer see.  In that moment, I looked at my husband and jokingly said, “Well, we’ll know if Nessie is real if we wake in the morning alive and not eaten.”  While we shared a laugh and settled in, I felt a deep peace as we floated amongst the fog and clouds of an endless sky and land.

This peace returned to me at General Assembly in the fleeting of a thought.  I stood amongst Unitarians at a precipice—a place where only things begin and never do they end.  In a moment and at a place where Rev. Dr. Peter Morales, UUA President, spoke of the Spirit of Life and Love that we hold true as the catalyst in our personal lives and in our religious practices.

My hope is that at some point in our lives, and our earth’s future, we will all find that Peace.

Peace within.  Peace amongst.  Peace be with you.