Travel. Yes, please.

My extensive and eclectic travel bucket list got reduced by two lines this year. And both were trips that have me running out of superlatives in attempting to describe them. I will give it a go here…

September 2013 found me onboard the luxury charter yacht Surfbird for a 17 day trip down the Inside Passage– Ketchikan, Alaska to Bellingham, Washington– with seven other dear friends. A trip that dreams are made of. (Full disclosure: my daughter is the chef on this boat!)  http://surfbirdcharters.com/

A more beautiful motor yacht would be hard to imagine. Surfbird is 120 feet long with four staterooms designed and decorated with ultimate comfort and taste in mind. The salon and dining area are both cozy and elegant at the same time, an effortless mix.

We fished, we kayaked, we hiked, we watched humpback whales, dolphins, and sea birds for hours. Sometimes we did nothing at all, but sit on the deck in a contented daze, watching the light play on the water as we motored along. Books were read and shared. Board games were played in the evening and laughter was the soundtrack.  Each night found us anchored in another quiet cove—us and the sunset. The food was beyond divine (remember the disclosure above!)– three meals served to us each day. The entire crew wanted nothing more than our  group to be fully engaged and happy.

Some of us initially thought the trip was going to be too long–Surfbird’s usual trips are in Southeast Alaska for 8 days–but when we arrived in Bellingham each and everyone of us could have just kept on going.

I was not home from this epic adventure for two days, still digesting the experience, when I got an email from an old friend who lives elsewhere now asking if I wanted to go on a rafting trip down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. What could I say, but YES!

He was putting together two motorized rafts of 10 guests each for an eight day trip of 279 miles through the Grand Canyon with a guide he knew who works with Grand Canyon Expeditions for April 2014. http://www.gcex.com/

I have just returned from this wild and wonderful adventure. I felt daring to take it on and dazzled by it all. The Canyon left me speechless and even teary at times. I was humbled and happy the entire time. Our 37 foot motorized rafts were the ultimate in both comfort and safety. Our guides inspired trust immediately, a must for the sometimes-intense rapids we got to run. They were experienced and enthused by their hundreds of trips down the river. Their story telling was captivating, their knowledge of the geology and history of the canyon was vast and fascinating. We floated quietly, we amped up for rapids, we took hikes up side canyons and swam in aqua waters, we slept under the stars and ate fabulous food prepared three times a day for us. The group was harmonious and upbeat and even included several musicians who serenaded us around the campfire at night. The canyon changed each of us in subtle sweet ways.

Something of note in both of these mind- and heart-bending trips was that we were all completely unplugged for the duration of the trip. No phones, no internet, no television. Just wholesome and fully fine fun. Plenty of time for personal introspection and interpersonal interaction.

I am not sure what trip is next for me. But, I know that the bar has been set mighty high after these two!

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