Escape The Winter in Your Life With a Shared Vacation in Paradise

It’s at times like this, when a nor’easter is plowing through the northern states, that I recall what it was like to hibernate during part of the winter in Connecticut, or at least, wish that I could.

Were it not for my battle with arthritis, and my parents’ health issues, we may have lingered there a year or two longer. However, we were feeling a sense of urgency the year that we moved, especially after several powerful snowfalls. So, we packed our bags and (like the birds) headed south for the winter, and never quite returned.

Now, fifteen years later, I’m still amazed that I survived as long as I did in New England. Don’t get me wrong. I still love the country scenes in the fall and the quaint coastal towns. It’s where I first fell in love with the sea, especially when visiting Martha’s Vineyard.

However, when it comes to finding healing, whether it’s for an achy hip, sore back, or the countless other conditions that often accompany aging, there’s no better place to do it slowly and gracefully than in sunny Florida.

It’s also a wonderful place to heal from life’s other formidable challenges, and specifically those which deal with the heart. This assessment comes, not from a cardiologist, but from a life coach who recognizes the benefits of enjoying a retreat in paradise.

There is one place, in particular, on the South West coast of Florida. Sarasota is a city which was long known as the ‘hidden jewel,’ but its many amenities have drawn increasing attention to it over the years. Internationally, it’s famous for the sugary white sands of Siesta Key, which was voted the country’s number one beach. The beauty doesn’t stop there, however, because its dazzling scenery gives it the aura of an Emerald City. With its wide range of water sports, festivals, cultural events and arts and entertainment, it’s now in a league of its own.

When it comes to healing, there’s no better way to nurture the inner soul than to be surrounded by breathtaking views and wonders of nature. Here, one can take a lovely cruise, and spot playful dolphins and graceful manatees in the bay. A fishing trip can offer a relaxing way to collect one’s thoughts, as well as a spectacular sunset viewed from the beach.

Sarasota, with all of its charming amenities, can thrill the soul and rejuvenate the spirit. The aroma of great food wafting through the air, offers culinary comforts that can echo back to visits to a Grandmother’s house. The vast selection of nearby restaurants is nearly mind-boggling.

These are but a few of the reasons why Sarasota is such a popular destination. Our visitors are offered the warmth and comfort of the city’s Five Star resorts, along with fun activities for those who’re ready for a little adventure. Arts and healing classes are available, as well as planned group activities and social events. For visitors who’d like to participate, they’re welcomed to Morning Prayer sessions, life coaching and meditation on the beach.

Our ‘shared vacations in paradise’ offer great opportunities to fellowship with newly made friends, especially other singles, in planned events which are being scheduled throughout the year.

Being very spiritual, I appreciate the enormous blessing that Sarasota offers, especially to someone who’s just faced a difficult season in their life. In an ideal world, one shouldn’t have to balance the pain of a recent divorce or significant loss, with the frigid winds of a brutal storm baring down on them. Of course, there’s no city that’s perfect, but there should be a place which offers a pleasant escape, at least, for a while. That place is Sarasota, Florida.

Camping Packing List – Don’t Forget These Essential Items

One of the most exhilarating leisure and fun-filled activities is camping. In order for it to be a great outdoor activity and a stress free vacation, you must be sure to pack all necessary equipment. It’s a given that we as humans tend to be forgetful at times. However, don’t let this fact of human-nature ruin your camping trip. It’s unlikely that you will forget the main gear like tent, sleeping bag, cooking gear, or food. However, there are some not so obvious items that are easy to overlook if you don’t have a good and complete checklist.

Tent Gear

As I stated earlier, people will remember to provide overhead cover with the tent but most people will tend to forget the cover under them. A plastic cover to place on the ground inside the tent can be the difference between a comfortable outing and a wet miserable one should water breach the tent. If you’re camping on rocky terrain, an air mattress may provide the additional comfort you need, especially if you are prone to back pain. If you do not want to bother with an air mattress, then you can use a foam pad to provide you more comfort on rough surfaces. The weather can be unpredictable, especially in the mountains, so an emergency blanket can really come in handy when it gets cool.

Small Tools

Small tools are gear that can easily be forgotten. This might include a mini shovel for digging a latrine or a rubber mallet for setting up your tent. A tent repair kit can really come in handy if a heavy rain comes and your tent has developed holes in it. Having one of these can help keep your tent sealed and dry. An extremely useful tool is duct tape. Duct tape is very useful in repairing other camping gear. The list of equipment you may need to take maybe long, but remember the whole point is to make your back-to-nature experience an enjoyable and unforgettable one.


Having some light when the sun goes down can be really useful, especially when you are trying to get settled in the tent, or if you find yourself having to wander off in search of a good spot to relieve yourself when the time comes. A camp fire alone is not enough lighting.

First Aid

Other essential items that can be easily forgotten are insect repellent and lotions for rashes. There are all sorts of bugs and poisonous plants in the great outdoors that can provide some nasty bites and rashes. Having a good repellant and lotion can save you from days of misery. A first aid kit is a must have on any trip where immediate medical services are not available. This can be one of the most important pieces of camping equipment that you can bring and you don’t want to be caught without one if something unfortunate happens to someone in your group.

A Quick Tour of the Regions of France Outside Paris

France outside of Paris is in many ways a “multiple feast” in much the same way that Ernest Hemingway described his experience living in Paris as a “Moveable Feast.” Each province, each city presents a different look and a different culture. It gave me a chance to get a taste of the life and customs of the locals, market to market, wine to cider, olive oil to apple juice, modest cafe in a tiny village to posh restaurant in Aix-en-Provence.

Alsace or Brittany, Loire Valley or Normandy, Provence or Dordogne, rental villa, bungalow or water view apartment, each had a unique flavor. For a small country, France has amazingly varied scenery: canyons, cliffs, beaches, mountains of all sizes, long fertile valleys and plains, cities small and large. Besides what they had in common, the people I met had been shaped by a long history and the way their forebears adapted to climate and geography.

The borders of France are close to 10 cultural identities, from Annecy to Chamonix, Nice to Brest. Vibrant Marseille sometimes feels like a North African port. Spanish tones shine through accented French from Perpignan to Biarritz and pays Basque. From Biarritz going north to Bordeaux and Cognac, Spanish undercurrents give way to British ones, thanks to common history. From the Atlantic coast, expats moved to North America, pushed by a love of adventure or economic and religious reasons. To me, France is the pulsing heart of Western Europe. Britons share roots with the Welsh and Cornish populations; Normans with southern England; Lille, Arras and Pas de Calais with Londoners as well as Belgians. Over the centuries, back and forth migrations mixed the gene pools leaving only language, French, as the common denominator.

From Belgium let’s move south east to Luxembourg, and Germany. Alsace is living proof of German influence in its architecture, dialect, wine and food, and in 21st century environmental concerns. French Alps and Swiss Alps are sisters, French being one of the three Swiss languages. Italian last names and physical features are ubiquitous in France, from Chamonix to Nice and the eastern half of the French Riviera, along the Mediterranean, from Nice to Eze-sur-Mer, Cannes to St. Tropez.

Rich human resources have thus been pooled into one country, France. The more rural areas of central France and cities like Lyon and Limoges cement and hold together the parts that make up that unified nation.