Archive for Travel Posts

Book Review: An Octopus in my Ouzo

 

“It takes years to know for sure if you’re in a good relationship; but I didn’t have years to get pregnant.”

– Jennifer Barclay, An Octopus in my Ouzo

Life on the Tiny Greek Island of Tilos

I read An Octopus in my Ouzo; Loving Life on a Greek Island over the summer. At the time, I loved reading the author’s detailed descriptions of island life…the swims in the sea, the long walks through the countryside, the goats, the villages and local characters…the delicious Greek food!

Now that a couple of months have passed since I finished the book, what also stands out in my memory is the author’s personal story of coming to terms with not being able to have a baby. Although she is living (and loving) one of her dreams – living full-time on a Greek island – she is struggling to accept the fact that another dream – motherhood – likely won’t be happening.

I appreciated the honest and eloquent way in which the author shared her journey. It can be incredibly difficult to accept that we are not going to get everything we want – or think we want – in life. And yet to be able to step back and look at all that we do have in our lives, and be thankful for that, is essential.

The Seahorse Moment

There is a powerful scene near the beginning of the book that involves a seahorse. It hit me hard. I won’t divulge much detail in case you read the book yourself. But for me, the seahorse moment spoke volumes about the importance of speaking up for what we believe in…even if it is something as small as a seahorse. I was reminded of this quote:

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

– Martin Luther King, Jr.

For how often do we hold back on speaking our truth about the “little things” because we don’t want to get into a discussion…don’t want to rock the boat?

More often than we care to admit, I suspect. For maintaining harmony in a household and peace in personal relationships are equally worthy objectives. But the “little things,” in my experience, are not always so little. They may, in fact, be tips of icebergs.

I highly recommend reading An Octopus in my Ouzo. It will warm your heart, whet your appetite for scrumptious Greek food…and quite possibly inspire you to spend some time on a Greek island 😊

My Connection to Jennifer

I have written about Jennifer Barclay before. I reviewed her delightful book, Falling in Honey; How a Tiny Greek Island Stole My Heart. And Jennifer was the original editor for my book, A Widow’s Awakening. Jennifer taught me how to write creative non-fiction. Sentence by sentence, she showed me how to transform a painful personal experience into an engaging story for the reader.

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. As a thank you, you’ll receive a short but saucy e-book entitled, Dive into this Chicago Deep Dish – Ten Bite-Sized Steps for a Yummier Slice of Life.

published in Beauty, Dogs, Inspiration, Nell Shipman, Pets, Travel by Maryanne | October 16, 2018 | 6 Comments

Pilgrimage to Priest Lake

 

“Many a trip continues long after movement in time and space have ceased.”

– John Steinbeck

Howdy from Okotoks!

I hope you’ve had a grand week. Sadie and I made it, safe & sound, to where we will be house-sitting (for my brother Doug and his wife Tracey) in Okotoks, Alberta. We will be staying put here (more or less) for three months.

Here’s a quick recap of our recent travels: after Sedona, I returned to Victoria, BC to retrieve the retriever.

MA & Sadie, on the road again

We took the ferry Sidney, BC to Anacortes, WA then went for a wee hike at Mt Washington Park:

 

We stayed the night at the McMenamin’s Anderson School Hotel (very cool) near Seattle.  Then we headed east towards Spokane with a pit stop at Easton Lake, WA:

In Spokane, we stayed two nights at the ever-so-lovely historic Davenport Hotel (Momma Pope loved it there!):

Then we made a pilgrimage to Priest Lake, Idaho – Nell Shipman’s old stomping grounds. As you may recall, Nell Shipman is the silent screen star I have been writing a screenplay about (God’s Country) over the past decade. This gorgeous beach is very close to where Nell and her filmmaking team built Lionhead Lodge back in the 1920’s:

And this is you-know-who testing the sand quality:

This is another shot of stunning Priest Lake…I can see why Nell was so smitten (but boy oh boy, is it ever remote, even today):

After Priest Lake, Sadie and I headed north to Canada and stayed the night in Cranbrook, BC. The next morning, I went to check the oil in my CRV…and the dipstick tube came out again! Yes, it’s a great way to meet guys 🙂 but back I go to yet another Honda dealership to get it FIXED, once and for all.

We received a very warm welcome in Okotoks from the neighbourhood kids (within an hour of arriving, both Sadie and I were playing back-to-back games of hide & seek) and are happy to be hunkered down in one place again…with a freezer full of yummy food, thanks to Doug & Tracey!

Take care and have a wonderful week.

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. As a thank you, you’ll receive a short but saucy e-book entitled, Dive into this Chicago Deep Dish – Ten Bite-Sized Steps for a Yummier Slice of Life.

published in Achieving Your Dreams, Beauty, Creativity, Inspiration, Travel, Writing by Maryanne | October 10, 2018 | 2 Comments

Showing Up & Tuning In to Sedona Magic

 

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”

– Maya Angelou

You don’t need to be surrounded by beauty in order to tap into your creativity…but it doesn’t hurt.

This past week, I was very fortunate to be able to return to Sedona, Arizona to focus on a single writing project for an entire week. No e-mail, no social media, no internet, no cell phone service. No people…not even a dog 🙁

All I did was write, hike, think, reflect, eat, sleep and write some more. It was a powerful and productive week…but not for the faint of heart. Sedona is a sacred center known for it’s vortexes – swirling centers of energy conducive to healing, meditation and self-exploration.

In my experience, Sedona doesn’t just inspire creativity, it also seems to open up a pathway to…some sort of source, if you will.

Whether I’m sitting quietly with my morning coffee, in the midst of writing a scene, mindfully putting one foot in the front of the other on the trail, or listening to music in the evening, the answers and insights – personal and professional – bubble to the surface, slowly but surely.

The key word, I suspect, is SLOW. Regardless of where we are (geographically or our stage of life) I think we need to slow down enough to be able to interpret what the universe – and/or the soft voice of our own soul – may be trying to tell us. And we may not always like what we hear.

When I was in Sedona (for the first time) seven months ago, I made a promise to myself to return again soon to work on a specific project…a very spiritual one, to say the least.

So this past week, I did just that and boy oh boy, did the magic happen!

“Show up, show up, show up, and after awhile, the muse shows up too.”

– Isabel Allende

Here are some more shots of stunning Sedona:

Check out that massive sink hole!

Evening light on the mountains behind my casita

 

MA & Serena in Flagstaff

On my last night, I went to Flagstaff (an hour north of Sedona) to have dinner with Serena, a student at Northern Arizona University. Serena is the great great granddaughter of Nell Shipman, the silent screen star featured in my God’s Country screenplay. (Hint: this is also a clue to the geographical location I will be blogging about next!)

Take care and have a magically mindful week 🙂

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. As a thank you, you’ll receive a short but saucy e-book entitled, Dive into this Chicago Deep Dish – Ten Bite-Sized Steps for a Yummier Slice of Life.