Archive for Dreams/Goals Posts

The Gift of Tough Love

“Today, I live where I want to live, do the work I believe in, and travel where I wish to go. I have a freedom I never thought imaginable. But not a day goes by that I don’t remember the tremendous cost at which this freedom came. John gave me everything he could in life and what he couldn’t, he gave me in death. As difficult as it was for our relationship to end with an argument, his tough love words turned out to be a tremendous gift.”

– Maryanne Pope

Need a kick-in-the-pants to get you back on track to achieving YOUR dream? 

You might want to read this article of mine that was recently published in Love What Matters:

What would you do if the death of your soul mate meant the birth of your dream?

‘I am so scared,’ I said to my husband, John, while walking our dog, ‘of waking up 20 years from now and still not having finished writing a book.’

John stopped, turned to me and said, ‘You’re probably right about that, Maryanne…just as long as you know that will have been your choice.’


Then he leaned back his head and laughed. ‘Geez,’ he said, ‘I can be a real jerk.’

But in all fairness, we’d been together for 12 years by that point. That’s a long time to listen to someone talk about writing—yet doing very little in the way of actual writing. John’s dream had been to become a police officer. It had taken him eight years to get hired and I had watched him every step of the way as he worked towards his goal. Little did I know he’d also been teaching me the perseverance it took to achieve a dream…

Please click here to read entire article.

A huge heartfelt thank you to Eliza Murphy at Love What Matters for sharing our story!

Maryanne & John, 1994

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her weekly blog, please sign up here.






published in Animals, Beauty, Dreams/Goals, Inspiration, Photos, Travel by Maryanne | August 15, 2019 | 4 Comments

Great Galapagos…is That a Giant Tortoise or What?! – Ecuador Photo Blog #4


Iguana pals on rock, Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change.”

– Charles Darwin, 1800 – 1882

Wow, wow, wow…

From sea lions, sharks and dolphins to iguanas (land and marine), Blue Footed Boobies, Darwin’s famous finches, flamingos and, of course, the giant tortoises, seeing the wildlife of the Galapagos was a dream come true.

Our five days there were jam-packed with seeing animals, swimming, snorkeling, eating, boating, hiking…and locking out my travel companion’s credit card. Oops 🙂

Let’s start with the giant tortoises…

The males can weigh up to 500 pounds. A giant tortoise can live up to 150 years.

Whoops…wrong end.

Tortoise love


Iguana in the mangroves, Tortuga Bay, Santa Cruz Island

Iguana crossing

“Each species is a masterpiece, a creation assembled with extreme care and genius.”

– Edward O. Wilson

Sassy Sea Lions…

Sea lion yoga on dock, Santa Cruz Island


Sea lions lounging on park bench, Isabella Island

Snorkeling Shenanigans (Homo Sapiens)…

MA & Lynne happy on boat (before the credit card incident)

Team Snorkel


A delightful lunch on board…


Back home again in Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz Island

Lovely Isabella Island…

White-tipped reef shark


Lone flamingo

And then we had crepes…

Right after this photo was taken, Lynne and I had a scrumptious feed of crepes and beer…possibly more beer than crepes, which might partly explain the credit card faux pas. When the time came for me to pay my bill, I cheerfully punched in my PIN. Wrong number. I punched it in again. Wrong number. I punched it in a third time, which is when I remembered that you only get three chances. Wrong number again.

“That’s odd,” I (finally) thought to myself then pulled my credit card out of the machine.

Except, of course, it was not my credit card. It was Lynne’s. No wonder my PIN didn’t work! So I casually handed Lynne her card back and said (rather softly), “Your card is probably locked out.”

“Pardon me?” she said.

“I’m pretty sure your card won’t work anymore,” I said sheepishly, then took another sip of beer (why stop now?).

It didn’t (which was confirmed after a rather panicky call to her credit card company). There ended Lynne’s access to her credit card.

Thankfully, she had a second card. So all’s well that’s end well. The moral of this story is be careful who you travel with. No wait…that’s not right. Always have a back-up credit card…yes, that’s the lesson here 🙂

Related Blogs by Maryanne

Surviving Inti Raymi – Ecuador Photo Blog #3

Magical Moran – Ecuador Photo Blog #2

Walking the Line – Ecuador Photo Blog #1

Celebrate Good Times – Saying Goodbye to Sadie Pope

About Experience International Study Tours

Experience International (EI) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational organization based in Bellingham, Washington. Incorporated in 1988, their mission is to embrace and create opportunities for international understanding and human resource development through technical and cultural exchange in a wide spectrum of disciplines including but not limited to agriculture and natural resources. EI also works with community and choral groups of all ages that travel and often sing to celebrate human diversity, peace, and social justice; to exchange and share with local groups and communities off the beaten track.  Please click here for details. 

About Altropico

Altropico is an organization committed to social and environmental causes in the binational region of Ecuador and Colombia. They collaborate with indigenous, afro-descendant and mestizo organizations, with programs and projects oriented to the good living of their populations. Please click here for further info.

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her weekly blog, please sign up here.

published in Change, Dreams/Goals, Fear, Gardening, Inspiration, Playwriting, Travel by Maryanne | June 18, 2019 | 8 Comments

To Be Happy At Home


“To be happy at home is the ultimate result of all ambition.”

– Samuel Johnson

Yes but now I don’t want to ever leave my home…

Just kidding. You can’t keep a good Gypsy grounded.

Not for long anyway 🙂

I am pleased to report that I am absolutely loving my new home, garden & community of Qualicum Beach on Vancouver Island. Yay!

Thanks to the previous owners, who obviously had very green thumbs, my garden is an explosion of colour…roses as far as the eye can see. And best of all, I can finally putter, prune, pot and poke around in my garden…without having to wear ear protection!

Instead of the thumping bass of a neighbour’s stereo, the screech of a band saw or the roar of trucks rumbling past, I get to listen to…birds chirping. And for this exquisite peace and quiet that I have so longed for – hoped for, waited for, prayed for – I am beyond thankful.

Not a day goes by that I don’t sit in my backyard and listen to the sweet silence.

I look back now to the seven LONG years of neighbourhood noise at my Sidney home and I want to smack myself upside the head for staying way too long in that situation. But I cannot change the past. What I can do, however, is write a play about the experience…which is exactly what my friend, Lynne, and I have been doing over the past few years.

The play, Bungalow by the Sea, will be a comedy – even though in real life the relentless irritations were anything but funny. That’s one of the great things about writing…we get transform our experiences into something useful (or at least entertaining) for others.

Although the play is about noisy neighbours, what it is really about is the danger of staying in an unhealthy situation – be that a marriage, a job, a home, a way of life – because the fear of the unknown keeps us stuck.

But this much I have learned: I would rather deal with the unknown than tolerate a lousy known.

I often wonder if my less than stellar experience in Sidney is helping me appreciate the peace & quiet I now have in my new garden?

“Sometimes you have to experience the bad, so that you can learn to appreciate the good things that enter your life.”

– Leon Brown

At any rate, here are some glorious garden pics:

And now I’m off to…Equador!

A tremendous last-minute travel opportunity (with a study tour group) recently came up and my friend, Lynne, and I are heading to Equador, including the Galapagos Islands and the Amazon. The Galapagos is pretty much at the top of my travel bucket-list so this gypsy gazelle is taking this opportunity and running with it!

And yes…I strongly suspect this experience IS on my path 🙂

I would love to hear what’s on the top of your travel bucket-list…where on earth do you HAVE to go? 

I won’t be taking my laptop with me to Equador, so no blogs until I return in mid-July…and then look out – here come the travel pics!

Till then, take care and enjoy summer!!

“The opportunity of a lifetime needs to be seized during the lifetime of the opportunity.”

― Leonard Ravenhill

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her regular weekly blog, please sign up here.