I took last week off from the ezine. Hope you didn’t miss me too much. We took a two-week family vacation to Europe. Bob and I were last there in 2003 for our luna de miel (honeymoon) in Italy. Doesn’t honeymoon sound so much better in Italian?

We wanted our daughter to catch the Europe travel bug so that when she’s older she enjoys traveling. I think more can be learned in traveling than even school. But don’t tell her I said that or she’ll push me for home schooling again. Friends of ours are home schooling this year and traveling like crazy. I see the benefit. But shhhhh…

Travel is crucial for me. I’m not a staycation kind of gal. I don’t unplug when I’m home. I always find another pile of laundry to be washed. I end up cooking because takeout isn’t really my thing. Even in our happy place in Fenwick Island, there is always some update to the house – not every day of course.

To really rest and relax and spend time with my family, we have to jet off somewhere fairly far away where I can’t succumb to the DO temptation. I can just BE. Taking time for BEing is super important to productivity. Surrounding yourself with inspiration, taking yourself out of the day to day, enjoying places that are completely different. Those are the experiences that allow space for creativity and renewed energy.

Instead of a hard core “what to do” ezine (you can see my YouTube video here for that), I am going to share a few photos from my trip.

I like to “journal” my trips. So many folks post their photos to Facebook while they are away and that acts as their way of preserving them memories. But we don’t advertise where we are going until after we’ve been. So I came up with a fun way to keep my family informed of where we were, while simultaneously keeping a journal. It started with the five best photos of the day and commentary about where we had been, what we had seen, what we thought of the hotel and our great guides etc. Then we ended up on some amazing full day tours and choosing only 5 photos was darn near impossible. So I chose 5 photos from each city/town. It was a super fun way to keep track of everything. My family loved it. And I don’t have to remember everything now that I’m back.

 

 

 

 

 

In the spirit of my family journal, here are the top 5 photos of our two-week journey in Portugal, Spain and France. Can you imagine choosing only 5 photos from the nearly thousand photos I took? Wish me luck.

Our third “some-day” home, which I will call Casa Avery do Mar. Well it’s not likely to happen but maybe we can rent a place for a week in this sleepy fishing town of Salema on the coast in the Algarve Portugal. Or maybe I’ll go back by myself to write my book. A girl can dream…

Unplugged vacations are amazing. We’ve cruised as a family in Central America. None of us missed our phones. I think we made one phone call to family from Belize just to say we were alive and well. Otherwise we were busy meeting new people, trying new foods, swimming with the sea turtles and seeing the sights. If you can, try an unplugged vacation. See how your productivity and your creativity skyrocket when you get back to work.

The grottoes in Lagos. That was a very long trip down via stairs, but completely worth it. And the stone ledge was very narrow. We are crammed in together and I’m holding on to Bob, Caroline and the wall. The trip back up was vigorous. There was a gentleman who would run up the stairs, dive off the cliff (it had to be at least a hundred feet high) and swim back into the grotto before doing it all over again. That guy was in top sports shape. We nicknamed him Aqua Man. In seriousness, he is a world champion water sports person.

 

 

 

 

Alhambra – Court of the Lions. I loved this so much! This fountain was a gift from the Jewish vizier Yusuf Ibn Nagrela to Muhammad V at the Nasrid Palace. There are 12 lions representing the 12 tribes of Israel. This was a very special place and moment on the trip.

On the return from Alhambra our guide was kind enough to stop in the tiny hamlet of La Molinetta. This was where my great Aunt Mabel had a home for many years. It was amazing to see albeit briefly. I was too young to go before she sold it so I of course have so many questions. She would be 112 today and died just two weeks before our daughter was born. I like to believe that a part of her generous and lively spirit exists in our daughter.

In Paris we met the first kids along the trip. This was a wonderful family with four girls. The oldest was the same age as Caroline and the two got on like wildfire. It was the perfect way to end our time in Europe.

If you can, travel! You will be a different person when you come back.

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Catherine Avery
203-273-0898
Productivity by Design
357 Commerce Drive, 1104
Fairfield CT, 06825.

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