travel

Resolved: To Schedule Priorities

February 2, 2017
Scheduling priorities

A friend who traveled this road many years before I did said, “I am a better person because I lost my husband. I am kinder, nicer, sweeter. I have my priorities in order. I know what matters.” I had to agree. “Yes, you are. And so am I.” As she had, I re-ordered my priorities after Lev’s death. I asked myself the question: How do …

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Allowing Time for Serendipity

December 1, 2016
serendipity

My motto for widowhood is “Say Yes!” but in my frantic attempts over the past seven-plus years to stay too busy for sad and bad memories to take root, I have stayed too busy, too organized and structured, too proactive to react and say yes to last-minute invitations that promised joy-filled moments with family and friends. And sometimes I have said yes to things that …

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Want to Avoid the Holiday Weight Gain?

November 19, 2016
bathroom scales

When I first started gaining weight in my 40s, I commented to an older, fatter friend, “It’s only five pounds.” “Yes, and if you gain five pounds a year, in seven years it will be 35 pounds. Look at me.” For most of us, the Holidays are to blame for the typical annual five-pound weight gain. How can we enjoy all the parties and special …

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You Can Go Home Again

November 17, 2016
Jackson Square

Memories of New Orleans Thomas Wolfe titled his 1940 novel You Can’t Go Home Again, and my question was, “Can I go home to New Orleans without Lev?” No doubt I missed New Orleans, and I had gone back with close friends on his birthday in 2010, 11 months after his death. When he was still living, I went back alone at least twice; but …

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How Much Is Safe to Spend?

October 20, 2016
Pray for the best

The question raised in the headline nags at me. Should you save enough to live to 100? The subhead promises that “here are ways to insulate yourself against outliving your money”—everyone’s fear—but the recommendations are almost opposite those I received from my husband’s professional advisors after I became a widow in 2009. Instead, the writer seems to say, “Oh, chances are you won’t live that …

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Safe Solo Travel to London

May 12, 2016
Roosevelt & Churchill

Today, on my second day in London, I reread my 14 Tips for Safe Solo Travel, which I posted last September. I am surprised by how many items on the list I did instinctively as I prepared for this trip. Seven years later, solo travel comes naturally. Find a friend with similar interests and budget OR join a nonprofit organization with a strong travel program …

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Whatever Happened to Widow’s Weeds?

February 25, 2016
widow's weeds

A portrait of my great-great-grandmother Aurelia Smith Davis Ripley Smith Woodward hangs in the Cabildo at Jackson Square, New Orleans, part of the Louisiana State Museum collection. Neither Aurelia nor the artist was famous. The primitive painting hangs to illustrate a widow in lavender half-mourning attire in the mid-nineteenth century. Aurelia’s third husband and my great-great-grandfather, the father of her two children, was murdered in …

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Finding Community in New Places

September 24, 2015

Colonial Williamsburg was a familiar name, because my cousin married a girl from the area, and his parents moved here from New Orleans after they retired. My parents visited on several occasions, and I heard all their glowing reports. We planned at least two trips but never made it. Then, in 1997, we decided to celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary here. It was Christmastime, when …

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14 Tips for Safe Solo Travel

September 15, 2015

Since travel played such a large role in my journey from grief to joy as a new widow, I have blogged almost weekly on the subject in the five months since I created my website. I listed what I had learned from the past six years of travel, and I had few readers when I got started. I am concluding this series with a revision …

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Travel Tip #14. Sign Up for Global Entry

September 8, 2015

Travel Tip #14. Sign up for Global Entry, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States. If you are like me, just the possibility of missing a flight because of long lines at the airport is stressful. Some of my older single friends have quit traveling because “travel is just no fun any …

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