Making Sense Of It All

A New Year of Travel

Location: Around the World

Why do we travel? I get many, many questions about our travel life, everything from how do I make coffee in my French Press to how do we afford a life of travel? Some people find it hard – making sense of it all – my travel life.

But the questions I like the best are when someone asks me to describe the way a place smells? Or what are the sounds I hear when alone sipping coffee in the morning? I love it when someone is astute enough or interested enough to ask a meaningful question like how does travel make me feel? What are the sensory elements of travel? How does a handshake feel from a Masai warrior, a Mayan weaver or a Chinese fisherman?

Door knocker in Oman

Because as we tumble into 2020 and our fourth year of travel these are the moments that linger for me. I am long past being impressed by tourism kitsch, fancy restaurants or hotels and shopping deals. Travel is now about the senses and mine are more alive than at any time before in my life.

A Sense of Adventure

Adventure is a key part of our travel life. In fact we are much more adventurous in our fifties and sixties than we ever were in our twenties or thirties. Living a life with a sense of adventure creates remarkable moments – moments that are often difficult to describe – but are part of this person I have become through travel. This reality of being someone different than who I was before is part of our grand adventure, a part I never planned or expected and yet, here it is. And it makes sense.

Sailing in Seattle

A Sense of Space

No one is more surprised than myself about how I have become a minimalist. Learning that I can, quit easily, live with very little has created a sense in me of openness. A sense of space. And I like that space. It feels good. It feels healthy. I feel lighter and more free. I don’t want to fill that space with anything more than moments. For now that is what makes sense.

Balloons over Bagan Myanmar

A Sense of Time

Starting 2020 I also make the transition into my Fabulous Sixties (more about this in a couple of weeks). And this monumental birthday brings with it a lot of feelings, most significantly the feeling of waning time. I am accepting of the fact that there is a lot more territory in my rearview mirror than in my windshield ahead. As I have mourned several dear friends these past few months my sense of time has been sharpened. Each individual approaches this sense of time differently, but for me and my husband filling our lives with a travel life of memorable moments brings us joy and a sense of happiness. This makes sense to us.

Arabic clock Tunisia

Common Sense

You might think that travel and the frequent stress it can create would make me high-strung and irritable. But it’s actually the opposite. Travel has instilled in me more common sense than I have ever possessed before. Learning to navigate the world while loving the experience and just going with the flow is a learned skill – one you cannot do without common sense. Serving as a self-appointed ambassador for my home country – showing a big and beautiful world that Americans can be nice, thoughtful, tolerant and understanding has provided me a greater sense of being…and a well rounded repertoire of common sense. Nothing could make more sense.

Bridge in Hanoi Vietnam

A Sixth Sense

Maturity more than travel is what I credit for my own awareness. A sort of sixth sense has developed in me as I have aged. I’ve learned to read my own intuition and act on it, rather than regret it later. I’ve learned awareness of my surroundings, and my place in it, and my impact on it. I have tried to be a better steward for our planet, a better representative for my generation and a better American towards other cultures. In my own little way, I am here. This is how I make sense of it all.

Temple in Hua Hin Thailand


So here we go again. We look forward to another travel year. Our travels in 2020 will take us from Armenia to Zimbabwe. From oceans to mountaintops. From jungles to cities. From beaches to glaciers. It’s all there. Waiting to fulfill us and our thirst for sensing how the world turns and what makes it’s people tick. A full and fabulous experience. A Fabulous Fifties Life.

Taj Mahal India

We post a new blog every Friday…with some fun things coming up in the weeks a head including our annual travel awards. Sign up to receive our blog via email so you don’t miss it! We appreciate it when you share our blog.

Happy New Year to all!

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  • Reply Ann Hedreen

    Laureen, I’m in Orizaba, Mexico (a charming mountain town Rustin and I had never heard of before we planned this trip!) as I read this, and so your reflections really resonate for me. You and Arne are an inspiration. Now, more than ever, America needs good ambassadors like you! Happy New Year,
    xox Ann

    December 28, 2019 at 5:00 am
    • Reply Laureen

      Your comment means a lot to me Ann. Thank you and Happy New Year!

      December 28, 2019 at 5:52 am
  • Reply Roxane Van Datta

    Enjoyed reading the heartfelt and deep thoughts you shared. The journey your lives have embarked upon together, with intention to experience our world in depth for yourselves as well as others by sharing the real culture, beauty, sadness and intriguing experiences via pictures, posts, articles and blogs is truly more than a gift to all! The opportunity of travel you two have been blessed to experience is incredible. As representatives from America you both are a shining stars. The talent you embrace in the methods you use to share your experiences with all of us provides opportunity to explore! Enjoy the Ride!

    December 28, 2019 at 7:52 am
    • Reply Laureen

      Love you dear friend and thank you for such kind comments.

      December 28, 2019 at 8:34 am
  • Reply Amy

    You put our thoughts about travel into words. Thanks. It’s so hard to explain what we get from travel and what our adventures add to those we meet along the way.

    December 29, 2019 at 12:33 pm
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