Carolina: Cruising Past 70

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Telling Stories Better than Words Can Ever Weave

Category, Landscapes & Seascapes: Emerald Lake, Yoho National Park, BC, Canada

Little did I know that I would be thrown into a never-ending honeymoon when I married Bill in 2008.  I even published a book about our RVing fulltime across North America (Carolina: Cruising to an American Dream). He had the foresight of buying not just a GPS but also a Nikon DSLR.as necessary tools. I surely became a wife, on this my third try and my passion for telling stories through photography grew as strong as blogging. As someone said: "Once you learn to care, you can record images in your mind and film. There is no difference." 

Category, Birds, Bees, and Butterflies: Healesville Sanctuary, Melbourne, Australia

But in 2013, our bodies told us to find more convenient ways of traveling. Age was catching up with us. After completing forty-nine continental US states, nine Canadian provinces, and six Mexican states, we opted to be snowbirds in Phoenix, Arizona during winter. And the rest of the year, faraway lands beckoned. In the last four years, I blogged about the 30 countries (and 12 US states, 3 Canadian provinces, and 2 Mexican states) our itchy feet reached. And the honeymoon continued.

Category, Architecture: Kansas Center for the Performing Arts, Kansas City, Missouri

When we were not on the road, resort living became our lifestyle. Four pools, 6 hot tubs, a sauna, 10 tennis and 4 pickleball courts, 2 golf courses, a billiards hall, many hobby and crafts rooms, a dance studio, many meeting rooms, 3 clubhouses, 3 ballrooms, a Pub & Grill. etc. made sure of that! So the inevitable happened. We sold our RV and bought a home at Viewpoint. Part of the draw was some 50 clubs. One of them, the Viewpoint Photography Club, became a favorite. 

Category, Red: Guthrie Castle, Angus, Scotland

On my first year of joining the annual Viewpoint Photo Show, I won Best of Show, People’s Choice and Judges’ Choice in the Bronze Division with my photo of Tunisian Blue Doors. I was immediately bumped into the Silver Division and competition became stiffer. Still, in the following year, I won first place in two categories, Black & White (The Salisbury Cathedral Close) and Street Photography (The Brighton UK Wheel). Seeing that my passion had grown, on my last birthday in November, Bill gifted me with a Sony mirrorless digital camera to replace the bulky Nikon DSLR of 8 years.

Category, lack & White: Healesville Sanctuary, Melbourne, Australia

This year, I had a quite a heyday. There were so many photos to choose from the thousands I took on those trips we made in the last four years. The process of selecting what to enter was tricky and hard. Bill and three professional photographers helped me sift the best of the bestIn this post are the ten photos I finally submitted. By the time you are reading this, official judging would have been completed but we will not know the results until the March 8 Banquet Night. The Photo Show itself will be on Feb. 25 at the Grand Ballroom. There my past three winners will be on sale and all entries will be on display for the public to judge. Each one tells stories better than words can ever weave. 

Category, Flowers: Sonya's Garden, Tagaytay City, Philippines

But it is sad that I will not be able to do it again next year and all the years that follow. Beginning 2019, we will make Mexico our second home through our El Cid Vacations Club timeshare. Every January to March, when it becomes a little "cold" in Phoenix. Arizona, we will stay at one of their resorts in Mazatlan or Cancun. We will still use our Arizona base eight months in a year. During the hottest weeks of summer, we will travel to colder places in Europe, South America, or Africa. Or visit our children in Calgary, Melbourne, San Francisco, Anchorage, Boise, and Denver. 

Category, Street Photography: Buckingham Palace, London UK

Yes, we are making this second shift, just like we did our first from RVing to snowbirding. This puts us into the third phase of our cruising lifestyle. It will be slow, immersive travel between our two homes. Galloping around the world will be cut down to a month. Visiting our children will take another month unless they visit us more. And we will no longer string those trips together like we used to. We will just hop on a plane or a car and be wherever we want to be in a jiffy.


Category, Wild Animals: Healesville Sanctuary, Melbourne, Australia

This cruising lifestyle will be so relaxed that I will probably have the time to learn more about photography. As I polish my writing into travel essays, I hope my photos will tell deeper stories, too. To prepare for my seventieth birthday in November, I have rebranded my blog Carolina: Cruising Past 70.”And, in the steady march of time, I will stay true to what Ansell Adams said: "When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence." Because most probably, on our fourth phase, I will still be traveling from an armchair.

Category, Food & Drink: Bonifacio Global City, Philippines
Category, Macro: La Ceiba Resort, Cozumel, Mexico