map showing Ecuador Galapagos home and San Diego

The original plan for the second quarter was to stay at home to be with my girl Holly with the exception of one trip to the Galapagos and the ECUADORIAN AMAZON.   This trip was originally supposed to take place in 2020 but due to covid was moved to this year.

Unfortunately, I made the very difficult decision and helped Holly cross on April 27.   See her tribute here.   Because of this, I really just want to run away to the ocean and let the sounds of the waves sooth my soul...but I still have 3 canine house guests to care for (not my dogs).  

I've never been to the Galápagos Islands and I'm really excited to explore.   I am going on a photo tour and we will be doing this trip from a catamaran and visiting multiple islands with naturalists with opportunities to snorkel and swim with the wildlife.   Afterwards, I'll have a few days in Quito to catch up on sleep and work on images and then off to the Ecuadorian Amazon for another few days of explorations.     This part of the trip has an opportunity to do a tree top walk - as you may know, I am terrified of heights but I am determined to bring out the adventurer in me and experience everything I can.

I won't be posting anything while in the Galápagos Islands...but I should have time in Quito to post - so be sure to follow my social media for updates.   Here for FaceBook and Here for Instagram.

I purchased a new macro lens for the trip, so it may be interesting to see what kind of critters I can capture with the macro.  Maybe it will even help me get over my terrifying fear of spiders.

If you've been to the Galapagos or Ecuadorian Amazon before and have any tips for me, please be sure to let me know!     

When I return from Galapagos, I am meeting a few friends in San Diego to play with our cameras and hopefully find the seals with new pups.   I've never been to San Diego - so I'm excited to actually see what I've heard is such a great destination.  (Update:  this trip was postponed and so my plan is to stay home and work on articles, images, and videos).   The first article is published - Journal Day 1 for Galapagos Islands.   

The rest of this quarter, I will be at home. 

The World Map with a red pin in Illinois - USA and the Caribbean

A slow start to 2022 for good reason.   

In 2020, I had 3 beautiful dogs.   Shadow- a Newfoundland, Holly - a Mix girl (Newfoundland, Springer Spaniel, St. Bernard - with probably some Pyrenees mixed in), and my baby, Rocky - a Golden Retriever. 


My Newfoundland passed about 2 weeks after his 13th birthday in August of 2020.    See his tribute by clicking here.  

Four months later, in December of 2020, Holly was diagnosed with bone cancer and they gave her 2-3 months to live.    The ex still lived in our old house and the dogs were super comfortable there and he watched them while I traveled.   As time progressed, she was doing great and beating the diagnosis.

In May of 2021, Rocky very unexpectedly passed while I was in S. Africa.   He was my baby and still young and it was a massive blow to lose him so unexpectedly and suddenly.  You can read his tribute here.

Holly continued to beat the odds and since the ex was moving out of state and I had no one I could trust to care for Holly, I did not book any travel.    The only travel for the first half of 2022 is travel that was booked 1 - 2 years ago that was bumped due to Covid.   Holly's health is declining and her physical therapy / pain management vet, Dr. Christine at Tops Vet Specialty, and I do not believe she will make it through spring.   Every day has been a blessing and when it's time, I'll help her cross so that she doesn't suffer.

In March,  we took our annual cruise that was supposed to happen in 2019.   It was a cruise with my mom and my sister to the Caribbean.   We had a blast and met some amazing people.  We had so much fun, we are all planning on meeting again in 2024 on another cruise.

Besides the cruise, I've been staying home and hanging out with Holly and the ex's 3 dogs.   Holly was never alone before and as her health declined, we decided it was best for her to have some canine companions.   Once Holly passes, his dogs will go live with him permanently and I will be pet free for the first time in 45 years.

I've also been working on my physical health.   In October 2019, I had 3 brain hemorrhages.  (To make my 2nd, 3rd, and 4th traumatic brain injuries).   The neurologists have no idea what caused them.   I was in neurological ICU and in 4 different hospitals.   For weeks all I could do was sleep.   I couldn't read, look at my computer, or watch tv.   Gradually my strength increased and in January 2020, I went on 2 trips -- they were very difficult with my strength and stamina so compromised.    Through all that time, I gained a bunch of weight and then with the loss of the 2 dogs, I turned to sugar and gained more weight.    I tried hard to lose it and the doctors told me that it could take up to 2 years for my brain to completely heal and that could effect my ability to lose weight.  That and hormonal changes have taken their toll.   Then with Covid, I took the "vacation mentality route" for a while and binge watched a lot of Netflix.   So, now, I've been working out hard trying to get my strength and endurance up so that I can easily carry my camera equipment through the airports and hike with gear.   I'm also trying to build my swimming endurance for a trip later this year.

I've been working on my mental health as well.   Taking classes with Tony Robbins, Kary Oberbrunner and Igniting Souls, and Rebecca Davison - an energy / light worker.   I have hired a personal coach - Gerry van der Walt, and a photography coach - Andrew Danckwerts, and things for me are moving forward with lots of clarity.

I am enjoying spending my days at home (although I must admit I hate winters in Illinois and plan on never spending an entire winter here again) and working on myself and hanging with the canine companions.   I miss traveling and look forward to starting again later this year.  I have some awesome trips planned for the second half of the year.  Be sure to subscribe to the newsletter below so you don't miss any updates.

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