Sunday, 9 November 2008

O = Opportunity

Over the last few weeks, I have frequently found myself thinking how lucky I am.

I knew how lucky I was ...
  • as I walked the streets of London, savouring the delights of one of the world’s greatest cities, renewing friendships made in Bangkok in 1991 ... and trying not to think about the exchange rate
  • as I stood inside the House of Commons, celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Ectopic Pregnancy Trust (for which I volunteer). It was thrilling to look through the windows of the member’s dining room to the Thames, a view more commonly seen from the tourist boats on the river itself, and to emerge into the late evening in the grounds to see this sight.
  • as I shared time with friends met, made, kept and nurtured over the internet.
  • as I sat with a good friend in Geneva, drinking wine and planning our week to come
  • as I marvelled at the 360 degree view of the Alps from the top of the Nufenenpass, or earlier as we stopped on the side of the road, and listened to the sound of cow bells from across the valley
  • as I searched for George on the shores of Lake Como, sadly in vain, but not a bad place to search
  • as we climbed higher and higher above the Mediterranean, periodically catching glimpses of the Cinque Terre villages we had left or were heading for
  • as I licked a gelato, well-earned, after one climb and before the next
  • as we relaxed in what quickly became our "local," over a pre-dinner glass of vermontino and antipasto, and relived our encounter with some Italian wild boars and bores
  • as I drove through the magnificent snow-covered landscape after the Frejus Tunnel, and the next morning as I pulled my curtains back and was greeted with the sight of green fields and golden trees, chalets and snowy mountains, and a pony in the bottom of the apple orchard
  • as I pottered about a French market with one old friend and one new. On a sunny, autumn Sunday morning, we drooled over the cheese, fruit, 15 different types of mushroom, etc
  • as I enjoyed MY day in Paris, alone, to do what I wanted, with Paris putting on a perfect, autumn day, just for me ... or so it felt anyway
  • as I woke in Paris at 4 am to hear the results of the US election and listened to the President-Elect's acceptance speech
  • and as I arrived home, to a man who had missed me, and didn’t begrudge my adventure

I have had and continue to have opportunities many people can never dream of.

I do not take them for granted.


  1. you deserve all the 'luck' you have made: I'm still dead envious though. (While you were away I have been shovelling photos of London / Paris etc on to Flickr : I think you'll like them.....)

  2. I like your approach to life and you're my favourite world traveller!

  3. And I'm so glad we can live vicariously through you a bit. Do let me know next time you're coming through the states...

    We've missed you! (And indeed I found myself wondering, I wonder where Mali is now...?)

  4. Oh, wonderful. But sorry you met some bores and boars (did you really?!) instead of George.

    Would you recommend the Cinque Terre as a place to savour (or possibly mourn) one's 50th birthday?

  5. It looks like an amazing trip! Count me in as another who is enjoying living vicariously through your travels.

  6. Mrs S: I am loving your photos.

    D, IB, Joya: Thanks so much.

    Helen: Yes, I really did meet some Italian boars (and bores) - will tell that story sometime.

    Italy for a 50th birthday would be fantastic - Cinque Terre wouldn't be somewhere I would necessarily stay, although a visit and walking between the 5 villages would be a great way to celebrate being 50, fit and fantastic! The villages are tiny, and you'd feel a bit trapped there for anything longer than one night, but they are accessible by train. We stayed in Santa Margherita which was gorgeous, and only 7 euros return by train to Cinque Terre (about an hour), only 5 euros return to Genoa (which we loved) and walking distance to Portofino. I


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