Travels with Fran — The Continuing Saga!

Thank you to Donna for inviting me to write a second guest blog. For those of you who may have missed my first posting, you can find it here. I thoroughly enjoyed connecting and interacting with so many of you the last time. That was a treat I was not expecting! So thanks again to Donna for providing this opportunity on her blog.

The origins of my blog

Visiting Rustam Usmanov, a potter in the Fergana Valley in Uzbekistan

In the past, my blog focused on our travels to places that I had always longed to visit. Places like the United States, European countries, some African countries, China, Syria, Iceland, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam. As well, I also wrote about our lives in Uzbekistan where we had lived for six years. Our final farewell to the area took us to Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan for ten days as we tried to follow the old Silk Road across Asia. We were treated to some of the most incredible countryside and sights we had ever seen. All of these travels were facilitated by the fact that we lived in South Carolina, U.S.A, Germany, Egypt, and England, and finally, Uzbekistan, which we used as a base to reach some of those faraway places. Not only were the travels rewarding but the people we met along the way remain among our dearest friends to this day. These friends have also visited us either at home in Canada, or in whatever our latest home away from home was at the time!

That was then, but this is now

Then I retired from my long-time career in education, and now we have returned to our house in Canada. During our final year in Uzbekistan, we knew it was time to retire in our heads and our hearts. However, like so many people have said about their careers, I had loved my job and all the travel it facilitated. So to return to our house, that due to its age demanded so much hard work, was a huge change of mindset and pace. Initially, all was well, as July and August felt like summer holidays. But then September came and I started to look at job postings! All I knew was I was not prepared to replace my educational passion with pulling the stubborn weeds out of my extensive country gardens.

A husband’s wisdom

Continuing Saga
Grandson’s Hockey

Some people take right to retirement and my husband is one of those! He knew I was unhappy not working. He wisely encouraged me to either find a job, or join some sort of outside activity. Thank heavens for community-organized events! I joined a writing class, Tai Chi, aqua fit and pottery wheel throwing. Combine that with my grandsons’ hockey games, visiting family and friends and working on kitchen renovations I am now too busy to work! And oh, yes I am lined up to be a volunteer at the local art gallery. I now feel I am over my initial adjustment phase of needing to work. As a matter of fact, I sort of wince inside at the thought of working.

A new direction for my blog

continuing saga
Super Moon in Key Largo, December 2017

Travels with Fran will now record my thoughts on some of the following topics:

  • My travel goals for the future include visiting the eastern block countries like Poland, Bulgaria and Romania. For now, this will happen in fall 2018.
  • Consolidating our previous travel on topics such as markets we have visited, and World Heritage sites we have seen.
  • Memoir writing has finally kicked off and I would like to get feedback on topics like the story of my grandfather and the history of our current house.
  • How I am adjusting to retirement.
  • My new passion for pottery.
  • Thoughts on mortality.
  • Losing weight, engaging in healthy eating, and regular exercise.

The way I see it, I am still traveling. Travel has simply taken on a broader meaning reflecting upon the different facets of our travels through life!

Fran

Thank you to Fran for joining us once again and sharing some of the changes that she is currently making to her blog. I look forward to reading more. If you haven’t already checked out Fran’s website, you can find it here. I believe that you will enjoy it as much as I do! Up next week, please join us when we welcome back Lynn of Encore Voyage. Lynn will be sharing retirement tips from the ‘experts.’ If you are considering retirement (or are already retired), it’s a must-read!

47 Replies to “Travels with Fran — The Continuing Saga!”

  1. Hi Fran – You had me at “travels” and “continuing”! The new direction for your blog sounds great to me, and the activities you listed will keep your days full for sure. I had a similar idea of consolidating previous travel on topics, except that travel planning and traveling to new destinations have kept me away from doing the consolidation! I just returned from Chile, had a fantastic adventure there, and am planning to visit Warsaw, Poland in May-June so we can share travel stories. Thanks, Donna, for bringing Fran back.

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    1. HI, Natalie – Welcome home! I can’t wait to read about your trip to Chile. I am glad to hear that you had a fantastic adventure there.
      BTW – When you ever have time to consolidate your previous travel in your blog posts — I would love to read about them!

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    2. Hi Natalie,
      I would love to hear about your travels to Chile. South America has not been a place that we have done much traveling. I must admit that Equador and Argentina have fascinated me too.

      I understand that its hard to consolidate when you are still traveling. We have taken almost a year now to kind of stop and look around to see what we want to do next. It is during this time that I was able to make connections and consolidate. For example, today in southern Ontario we are boiling down maple sap for maple syrup. A year ago I was in Uzbekistan helping to make their sweet treat at a samaluk!

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  2. Looking forward to reading Travels with Fran. I have not traveled much and love reading other people’s adventures. I am working my way to “retirement” which for me means continuing my transcription business and increasing my “Creative Business” so I can quit working outside the house. Hopefully next month that will be possible. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Hello Janet,
      Good luck with your trip to retirement. It is an interesting journey indeed! I hope that you are successful in reaching your goal of not having to work outside the house. That will bring you a whole bunch of freedom!
      Cheers!

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  3. Great to read about your new direction, Fran. I always enjoy reading travel stories from fellow bloggers. During my early 20’s , 30’s and 40’s, I traveled a lot. These days, family responsibilities keep me close to home, but I’m okay with that…as long as I have my laptop.
    Thanks for hosting Fran, Donna!

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  4. I like the sound of the new mix on your blog, Fran. I have done some retrospective blogging on past travels but not for over a year now – I find I just don’t have time! Too many new adventures. However, I still have stories I want to record while I can remember them quite clearly.

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    1. Hi Anabel
      It’s always a pleasure to hear from you! I understand completely when you say you don’t have the time to do the retrospective blogging. For me right now I am at a stage where we are doing a major kitchen renovation so it is forcing me to stop the traveling for the moment. However, that is not stopping me from planning our next trip!

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    2. Hi, Anabel – I love how we all have different posting styles for our travel write-ups. I admire your reflective posts with outstanding photos (from both you and John) once you’ve settled in back home. As much as I can stress myself out about it at the time, I am best at writing and posting my travel tales mid-journey. If I leave it until I get home (like I have with my Singapore trip) I quickly get busy with other things and find it hard to recreate the ‘at the moment’ experiences of my trip. So while I love reading retrospective travel posts, writing them myself is currently out for me! 🙂

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  5. Hi Fran,
    I love the new photo of you at the bottom of the post. Partly because you look so happy. And partly because it shows you’re back in Canada and I’m very happy about that.
    I’m reading a book right now called The Five Stages of the Soul. The author talks about outer travel and inner travel. He talks about the idea that pilgrimages can happen without ever leaving home. While I will continue to be a happy reader of your outer travel posts, I’m especially looking forward to reading more of your memoir, hearing about your passion for pottery, applauding your efforts at self-care, and discussing thoughts on mortality. All wonderful examples of the important inner travel that is central to life’s third chapter.
    Karen

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    1. Hi, Karen – ‘The Five Stages of the Soul’ sounds like a very intriguing book. I love the concept of inner travel and “pilgrimages taken without ever leaving home”. I too look forward to reading Fran’s new directions for her blog. They are very inspiring!

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  6. Hi Karen,
    As usual, you give me a lot to reflect upon! Yes, I must get on with writing more memoir and writing more in my blog even though the emphasis is changing at least for this year. Right now, my passion for pottery is taking over my life and I am glad of that. As well, I am taking the time to explore different kinds of exercise and eating healthily. Thanks for the tip on the book. It sounds great!

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    1. Hi Fran and Donna,
      Don’t rush out to read the book. It’s not that great. It just had a few profound thoughts; lots was a snoozer.
      Fran, it’s good that the passion for pottery is taking over your life. Whatever you’re doing now is the next right step for you. Just enjoy it is what I think.

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  7. The new direction of your blog sounds just perfect – so many of us can relate to your retirement journey. I can understand why it must have been difficult to leave your job, it sounds fascinating. That being said, retirement gives you so much flexibility and the time to explore all of your interests. I look forward to reading more about your adventures – near and far.

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    1. Hello Janis,
      You are absolutely right when you say retirement gives you flexibility and time. I continue to be amazed how the time goes by so quickly and time is filled with so many things I want to do.

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    2. Hi, Janis – I agree that Fran’s retirement journey (or…her ‘second retirement journey’) is very relatable. I too ADORE how retirement gives us flexibility and the time to explore. How did we ever manage when we were working full time? 🙂

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  8. Hi Fran, what an interesting life you’ve led and you’ve visited some fantastic places too! I smiled when I read you ‘winced’ at the thought of returning to work as I know that feeling well 😊 Retirement isn’t all that easy to adjust to and you’re right to get out there and try a few new things. All the best with your blog updates and your continued travels. Thanks Donna for another interesting guest 😊

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    1. Hi, Debbie – I know that feeling too! Recently I had a dream (a nightmare, really) that I had accepted a part-time teaching job (3 full days per week) and had to go home and tell Richard that I had done this. When I awoke…I was immensely relieved that it was just a dream! 🙂

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  9. Hi Debbie,
    I feel really lucky I have been able to do so many things that in fact are a passion. I appreciate you stopping by and leaving a note of encouragement to keep my blog going!

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  10. Hello Fran and what an interesting life you have lead and continue to lead. Like you I felt completely lost after 2 months into retirement. I started my blog for Women Over 50 to encourage them to embrace life. It is wonderful to see that you have found some new and exciting ways to keep learning and be fulfilled. Life is a journey itself isn’t it? I look forward to reading about your new phase of life and the travels you take on that path. Thank you Donna for another great article. Have a wonderful week both of you xx

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    1. Hi, Sue – I never understood blogs before I began trying to research for the ’emotional side’ of my upcoming retirement. Since that time, I have learned (and continue to learn) so much from fellow bloggers. It is great to know that whatever stages of life we are going through, we are not alone — there are like-minded souls ready to share and dialogue with us. Life is a journey and it is great to have friends all over the world to share this with!

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    2. Hi Sue
      It is an interesting and exciting time of life, isn’t it? There is so much to explore and do. There also doesn’t seem to be the constraints and responsibilities that we had at other times of our life. So far retirement has been great!

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  11. I love that you’ve re-invented retirement to suit you and to fill the gaps left from not working 9-5 any more. I also really like that you’re keeping your blog going, but morphing it into something that reflects your new normal. Wonderful to read another of your posts x

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    1. Hi, Leanne – I love how we motivate and inspire each other in this corner of the blogging world. And you and Sue have inspired me (again). After reading your recent posts, I have just taken the leap and signed up for the ‘A to Z Blogging Challenge 2018′(insert deep breath here). See you there!

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  12. Hi Fran – I love the way you summed it up at the end …. that you’re still traveling, but now it’s taken on a broader sense and reflects our travels through life. That very accurately describes where I am too at this stage of retirement.

    “Travelling” means different things to different people, and my perspective has grown. It no longer just means getting on a plane and flying to a foreign country.

    I too like your photo at the end. It shows a face full of joy 🙂

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  13. Hi Joanne,
    I had an amazing photographer and he was really good at putting his subjects at ease. It was taken at the back of the school in Uzbekistan.
    Thanks for the vote of encouragement in defining travel as I see it now.
    Cheers!

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  14. Hello Fran. It sounds like you’ve been to some amazing places–both literally and figuratively. I’m happy to hear you have adjusted to retirement and found so many rewarding activities in which to participate.

    Happy “travels” to you!

    ~Christie

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    1. Hi, Christie – I agree that Fran’s story is very encouraging for both current and future retires. There are many rewarding activities out there for retirees – we just need to be open to them! Thanks so much for stopping by.

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  15. Hi Fran, welcome back! I love that you are allowing your blog to “evolve,” rather than dumping it altogether! And at the same time, you are allowing your “travels” to evolve – just think of it as your next ‘Encore!’ I saw something this morning that said that the keys to happiness are 1) relationships, 2) contribution and 3) growth. Sounds to me like your next travels will accomplish all three! ~ Lynn

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    1. Hello Lyn,
      I read recently that retirement was “me time”. I hadn’t thought of it that way, but when I reflect upon it that is in fact what it is all about. New relationships are forming, I am contributing in a number of different ways and I am doing things I didn’t have the time for before. Thanks for summarizing everything so succinctly!

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  16. This is such good and heart-warming news that you have made the shift into retirement successfully, Fran! I am not surprised that you are now as busy as ever, since I have seen this change with many retired people (not in the least my mom). They are now busier than they were when working. The grand-kids usually have to do with that! And, the development of new hobbies and fascinations, like you are experiencing. Yes, you are now focusing on different travels on your blog, or, as I like to call them: adventures. So many things resemble new adventures and they don’t always need to pertain activities outside of the house!

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  17. Fran, an interesting thing about retirement is that I didn’t know what it would be like before I did it; I actually had to experience it. Like you, I have discovered that: “I continue to be amazed how the time goes by so quickly and time is filled with so many things I want to do.”

    Jude

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    1. This is so true, Jude. You can (and should) do your research, get your finances in order, discuss with others, make your plans……but ultimately you need to take the leap of faith. Since Richard and I jumped off of the ‘Retirement Bridge’, I have not looked back!

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