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Getting a jump (UP!) on Spring

By March 21, 2016 Travel

Spring cleaning is a ritual in these parts, clearing space to make room for green. Tools are easiest to find near the equator, where they get a jump on these things.

Find me some ferns to whisk away winter gray…


some rainbow blooms to brighten any smudges…




and swaths of sea water for dousing doldrums.

Look sharp now. Spruced up and decluttered, you’re ready for all sorts of meditative practices.



Traveler alert: The Gros Islet Jump-Up in St. Lucia is held every Friday night year round. If it’s been awhile since you got down in the thick of it, the island of spectacular mango valleys and rainforest magic is also a very reliable source of spring cleaning know-how. All sorts of mental meanderings are possible. Rumour has it four Toronto students cleaned house by climbing to the top of the island’s iconic Piton peak.  Steep and just this side of dangerous? Phooey. There’s one way to shake your booty-from the top of the mountain.



Did they shout IN YOUR FACE, WINTER WUSSES ? Only the tropical breeze knows the answer…


Best spot to bury dreary thoughts: in the basket on a wire heading down to a private table on the rocks. Let the waves crash. You’re just getting started.


(View from The Cliff at Cap Maison, home of the divine passionfruit mojito and other heady delights)

Best way to determine if all your winter pilates classes have paid off? Get this guy to judge.


(Limbo show/fire eating entertainers at The Windjammer Landing 

Best reason to endure a long and bumpy road that gives new definition to hairpin turns, then a water taxi gliding past ginormous yachts that just might hide a Matt Damon or two? Dinner at the exotic Rainforest Hideway in Marigot Bay.


It helps to have the Most Interesting Man in the World on your next trip. That is, find your own. This one’s all mine.



Stop hissing, whiners. There’s other ways to get at spring. Get thee to a market and find some rhubarb.

HAPPY SPRING!!!! Time to dig out the polka dots!!!!

(yes, this is same island, same jump-up fans circa 1992)

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Colour shock

By February 26, 2015 Life, Travel

I flew to the tropics when the ground was frozen and the schedule wasn’t. If there was poetry to be found in winter, my ankle wasn’t finding it, healing from a fracture last fall.  Colour me snow happy when I can ski and skate. I’m not one of those who glom on to the winter hysteria either. It’s CANADA. We’re supposed to be cold. Yet, stuck inside to stare out at a relentless white, the mood withers. Snow isn’t the only thing that drifts.

Turns out I needed only a new palette and a punch, straw being optional.


Bring along my favourite crew and….

She’s back!


Travel the world and still, find spots stained forever in your heart. We tumbled onto St. Lucia as newlyweds and behaved in unoriginal fashion.

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Rainforest showers were brief, tropical backdrop resplendent.



A minute later, we were back with kids and memories.

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There’s been jaunts since, here and there, north and south, east and west-the world’s wonders are endless-but we knew we’d be back. You can’t say goodbye to old friends. You just plan for the next time.



St. Lucia is best seen from the water where the stunning coastline stretches for miles.




Or venture into the rainforest to spot native fruit trees of mango, banana, papaya, coconut, avocado, starfruit, soursop and hog plum. Flowering shrubs of hibiscus, bougainvillea, oleander that I long to grow inside back home but houseplants are for attentive lovers-I’ve only got eyes for the outdoors and my houseplants know it and behave accordingly with a big middle finger.


Friends who ski on their school breaks wonder what on earth do you do all day? I will concede there’s glory in family ski holidays too—my knees still remember—but sunshine restores my merry tribe to their best selves.

Or maybe it’s just as simple as a passionfruit mojito.


We need to quench ourselves in colour and wobble up and down in the warmth of the sea. A breeze floats by and with it, winter, wrinkles and worries.



I hoard moments in my beach bag, guarding time with these young adults that still like beads in their hair.

Can we read in the bed with you?  Will you come swimming with me?  





Just ordinary miracles, ordinary miracles
But all the same they’re miracles to me
The days that I’ll remember well
Have a simple kind of wonderful of ordinary miracles

Amy Sky



Tomorrow…a tropical dessert for those who can’t fly south but need to feel as if they did.




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Whale breath

By February 5, 2015 Travel

Winter snow, winter blue sky, winter dreams.

A recent video sparked this return trip, in my head anyway, to another blue sky on an eastern high point.

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Seeing a whale spout on the ocean from a nearby boat easily counts as a great thrill in my life. We were in the Bay of Fundy, sailing out from New Brunswick’s Grand Manan Island. As family travel goes, it was as good as it gets.





Our sailboat slowed down,  fellow sailors stopped talking. Seeing these great creatures in their natural environment will silence most, as I wrote in my poetry collection Holding Glass. 



Easy to see then why this video stood out among a rash of orca spotting videos online. We didn’t see orcas nor were we as close as Laguna Beach paddle boarder Rich German. He encountered five orcas off the California coast recently and shot this beautifully serene video. What rings true is the quiet. It made me remember the magic.



An excerpt from Whale Breath


Motor off, we turn

knuckles tingling



A shout upfront.

We peer, cheeks raw

eyes squinting from the Fundy glare.

Suddenly a belly,

beyond the bow.

Storm blue,

great heart beating,

flashing us

through wave curtains.

I feel a squeeze.

In my palm, my daughter’s hand

feels smaller, pulsing.

We are soon surrounded,

ensconced in a great mammal ring.

I sense the graceful rumbles

under our rolling feet

and strain to see a whole

but catch mere parts.

A fin spray tantalizing close

grey streaked belly heave,

wet shiny wonders.

I lean back against the stern,

listening for the low hollow rasp

of a whale’s breath.

It is a sound from a child’s toy

a long plastic tube once blown

emits the same strange serenade

out here as we rock in the radiant blue.

We hear it again, again, again

amidst the splash and whip

of our humble boat.

The pod leave us.

adrift, savouring.


From Holding Glass, 2001

Copyright© Anne Langford


For more on family travel possibilities to this great Canadian island of puffins and the best homemade bread in the country, read here. Happy dreaming.


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Coffee break

By October 14, 2014 Travel

If Monday is get up off it ( the tush) and on it (the work) day, then allow me a brief meander on Tuesday.

My map has more pins on it than ever: Places I want to see.  Maybe it’s inverted from Places I’ve been but reminding myself of the world at my door is either masochistic or motivational, depending on coffee intake.


Successful or not, I’ll admit it: This clever and collaborative travel campaign has me that much closer to another land of ice and snow.


Earlier this year, Inspired by Iceland invited fans through Facebook to create a map of Iceland’s secret spots for the winner of the World’s Most Intrepid Tourist.

Here’s the result:


I know. Vistas of cold. Do we not have enough of these here?

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The cold there just looks better.



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School prep: riding the big one

By September 2, 2014 Travel

It’s over.

Best evidence of summer’s end is when somebody other than me in this household decides to clean out our kitchen command centre junk drawer (thanks honey) to line up the pencils.

I’m not quite ready but will be soon.

Who is?

Maybe the school kids itching to get on with it, to see who is taller, rounder, leaner, bolder… Me? I’ll be ready in a day or two, after I reset the frame, currently set at sky blue, thanks to our tenth visit to Prince Edward Island.

Read More

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Travel lust

By May 16, 2014 Travel

My vacation photo slideshows just got old fast.



Where are you going next?


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Take me back

By March 16, 2014 Travel

What are you doing this weekend?

We’re headed downtown tomorrow for the Toronto St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

The roots are green in my tribe so no surprise I wanted to go and sink my boots into that magical place. Three years ago, we fell hard for Ireland and have been planning a return visit ever since.


Look for us at the parade. We’ll be the ones in the goofy hats. Fat chance of finding us.

For more on our Irish trip, you may enjoy December Blues and Unthawing your frozen heart

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NYC Theatre Blitz

By January 28, 2014 Performance, Travel

I like the hit big cities deliver, each with their own energy and colour palette. If Toronto is still trying to figure out what colour it is, as it sinks lower in the wide chasm of Rob Ford vs The Elites, NYC presents a crimson sash that grips me by the collar every visit.
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Glory days

By September 21, 2013 Travel

I know you. I see you pining away over your flip flops, toes now shunning anything but socks; suntan on permanent fade.

You summer babies beginning the long huddle on the couch just about now: go ahead and whine about the cold coming.

This is my season, the season of chilly mornings that clear my fog and forests heated with their own colours.

I’m headed to Algonquin to this place:

Voyageur Quest

How fast can I fly there?*

I’m there to soak in the reds (foliage, bottles,) and see what’s cooking in the Voyageur Quest log cabin.

I might run into some trippers and just maybe, hitch a ride.

For other ideas on where to see the colour best this fall, see
Where to Watch Fall Foliage Change Colour

* See Take me up with you!

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Take me up with you!

By September 20, 2013 Travel

Would you rather be a fly on the wall anywhere you want?


Be able to fly?

Easy answer, in this age old road trip/canoe trip/bed time ritual game, “What kind of superhero skill do you wish you had?”


Fly baby fly.

My favourite ride at Disneyworld was Soarin’, an awesome flight simulator, the only ride that seemed devoid of vomit-inducing drops (left those for Daddy and girls) therefore safe for this wonky stomach. Tinkerbell did her magic and I went home, ravin’ about Soarin’. 

I guess the next step is to take up paragliding… or stay home and watch this video shot on a GoPro camera.
It’s a beauty.

Have a great weekend. Hope you get to soar a little wherever you are.

How about a man who really can soar?

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