Category Archives: Inspirational

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Global Wanderings & Inane Wonderings: A Midlife Gap Year: Elizabeth J Clark, Lynne Atkins

In the midst of two successful and promising careers American, Liz Clark & Australian, Lynne Atkins, daring forty-somethings, set off on a trip of a lifetime! Join them on their adventurous journey traveling through approximately fifty countries and all seven continents. Where were they going? How would they get around? This all became part of the comedy and the adventure. With nothing but a rough outline of flights and a fleetingly glanced at guidebook the rest they would have to make up as they went along.

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Global Wanderings & Inane Wonderings: A Midlife Gap Year: Elizabeth J Clark, Lynne Atkins

In the midst of two successful and promising careers American, Liz Clark & Australian, Lynne Atkins, daring forty-somethings, set off on a trip of a lifetime! Join them on their adventurous journey traveling through approximately fifty countries and all seven continents. Where were they going? How would they get around? This all became part of the comedy and the adventure. With nothing but a rough outline of flights and a fleetingly glanced at guidebook the rest they would have to make up as they went along.

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“Global Wanderings & Inane Wonderings” Published

We know you thought this day would never come, but it has! Strike up the band and start the party •.¸¸.⋰˚★ The travel book of the century is available for your enjoyment!! … giggle, giggle. Go on… purchase your very own copy and please share this post with the world.
Amazon http://bit.ly/GW-IW
or Kindle Link available soon.

~ ★ ツ Travel On!

From the Back Cover:

-In the midst of two successful and promising careers Lynne Atkins and Liz Clark took the final step in bringing their travel dreams to fruition. It followed years of hoping and dreaming, dreaming of faraway places and exotic destinations. Within each of them was a longing for not only adventure but for understanding. Understanding of the nature of humankind and the expansion of civilization, of spiritual mysteries and their individual place in the world.

 -After a surge in the Real Estate market they bravely sold their home. It felt like they had just won the lottery and they were determined to treat it as such! Excitedly both Lynne and Liz quit their jobs, sold their cars and household belongings and with a spring in their steps purchased two “Round the World” tickets! It would be a grand undertaking that would last one year, which they spent two days planning. They purchased backpacks which were promptly filled with clothes and supplies to see them through diverse weather conditions and a multitude of situations. With all momentum (and no responsibility) these daring forty-somethings set off on a trip of a lifetime!

Where were they going? How would they get around? This all became part of the comedy and the adventure. With nothing but a rough outline of flights and a fleetingly glanced at guidebook the rest they would have to make up as they went along. 

 -Join them on their adventurous journey traveling through approximately fifty countries and all seven continents. Lose yourself in a commentary filled with historical and hysterical information. Experience the panic as they are nearly kidnapped in Bolivia. Feel the exhilaration and exhaustion of climbing Machu Picchu. Ride along on an impressive Christmas Antarctic voyage. Experience the wonders of nature in the Galapagos and Ballestas Islands. Step through history into the ancient cultures of Rome and Egypt. Sense the trepidation of walking with lions on Safari in Zimbabwe. Discover the mysteries of the Hill Tribes of the Golden Triangle.

But wait…. there’s more…. much, much more for the armchair travel/adventure reader. With Liz journaling their daily antics and Lynne’s guidance, photos and sarcasm you will soon become part of the adventure. 
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Complete with photos and maps so you can follow their journey!
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 -An excerpt from one professional critique stated… “I described this guide to someone who immediately said it sounded like ‘Eat, Pray, Love’, which was also one of my first thoughts. I think this manuscript is much more fun to read, though.”
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 -Another stated… “Global Wanderings & Inane Wonderings” recounts the inspiring journey of two adventuresome travelers; creating worldwide appeal due to the varied locations, unique destinations, and diverse cultural interactions. GWIW is a very exciting and humorous book with mass appeal.
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 –**GWIW is a zesty journey filled with a continual quest for unique encounters, as the two main characters, chase not only spiritual enlightenment but their dream of seeing as much of the world as possible in one year. This is not a leisurely walk but a roller coaster ride of excitement.**
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Go on… purchase your very own copy and please share this post with the world.
Amazon http://bit.ly/GW-IW

Life is extra good when you’re on a cruise ship! Episode Two…

 (click on photos to enlarge)Eastern-CaribbeanEpisode Two: The Eastern Caribbean

On September 20, 2014 once again we sailed, heading out from Fort Lauderdale, Florida this time to the Eastern Caribbean.

The name Caribbean comes from its people the ‘Carib’ who were the last group to rule the area before the Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, French, Danish and British invaded.

Life on Board
Lobster Tails & ShrimpIn episode one I described the many adventures and activities that can be found onboard a Princess cruise ship, but I neglected to discuss the FOOD! There is food aplenty onboard, not only in the amount but also in the variety of cuisine which tantalizes the palate. From extreme fine dining delivering seafood, steaks and soufflé to casual meals featuring pizza, burgers and ice cream, any culinary mood can be satisfied. Fresh fruit and veggies are always at the ready to keep your meal balanced and nutritious.

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Thankfully our early morning activities included a few laps around the walking track located on the Promenade Deck. Three laps equaled a little over a mile, but in the end, six laps each morning were not enough to keep me from adding additional pounds to my embarkation weight!

Eleuthera (Princess Cays)
Princess Cays, EleutheraThis thin sliver of an island is only 100 miles long and two miles wide. The Arawak Indians, who migrated from South America in the 9th century, were her earliest inhabitants. After being discovered by Columbus, a British group called the ‘Eleutherian Adventurers’ settled here in 1648 to escape religious persecution. They named the island Eleuthera which is the Greek word for Freedom.

As mentioned in Episode One, our destination, Princess Cays, is owned by Princess Cruises who bought 30 acres and created a beachfront resort. We were determined to explore more of the island during this visit! With government issued photo ID in hand, which is what we lacked on out last visit, we ventured outside Princess Cays compound. Although a favorite getaway for British Royalty we could find no way to get away from the Princess Cays area. What lies outside remains a mystery and something we are determined to discover, but this will take more research and planning. Returning to the Cays we immersed ourselves in crystalline waters where we engaged in spectacular snorkeling, followed by traditional rum drinking!

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St. Maarten

St. Maarten was also settled by the Arawak Indians of South America; the Carib Indians later followed and gave this island the name Soualiga, meaning ‘Land of Salt’. The island is divided 60/40 between the French, Saint-Martin and the larger Dutch section, Sint Maarten. This spectacular tropical destination offered plenty of opportunities to explore and discover, but wait, who are you kidding? I had only one thing in mind and could not be persuaded to do anything else…Maho Beach, of course!

Princess Juliana International Airport is adjacent to the beach and arriving aircraft must touch down as close as possible to the beginning of the runway due to the short length. The result is aircraft, on their final approach, flying over the beach at a breathtakingly low altitude! There is also danger for people, standing on the beach, being blown into the water because of the jet blast from aircraft taking off! It just doesn’t get much more exciting than that, if you ask me. Needless to say we had a BLAST!

Just take a look at these videos.

Well …only ‘Liz’ had a BLAST …Lynne had to document the mayhem.

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St. Thomas

SquirrelfishAlong with St. John, St Croix and Water Island, St. Thomas is part of the United States Virgin Islands. In the 1500’s buccaneers including Blackbeard, Bluebeard and Captain Kidd called this island, if not home, a safe pirate harbor. Despite the lure of tours to plantations, Blackbeard’s Caste and the Amber Museum Lynne and I immediately headed for Coki Beach. The snorkeling here was phenomenal! Having brought along several mini-boxes of breakfast cereal from the ship, we easy enticed schools of brilliantly colored fish to swim up close and play with us.

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Grand Turk

DSC_0082Not actually a part of the Caribbean, Grand Turk is the Capital of the Turks and Caicos Islands. It is believed that the name ‘Turks’ was inspired by the Turk’s Head cactus which can be seen throughout the island. Despite the attraction of the world’s third largest barrier reef we decided to take a break from snorkeling and jumped on a local trolley for an island tour. This Island Trams tour was being promoted by a small group hyping their contribution to the ‘local economy’, in contrast to the more popular tours.

Turks Head CactusAlways wanting to support ‘the local economy’ we agreed to join. This turned out to be a very distressing decision indeed! In an attempt to fill their trolley, we were made to wait an hour passed our departure time, an hour sitting on a breezeless trolley under the hot sun! An hour not only sitting still in the hot sun but, having just walked a half mile out of the cruise ship terminal, to arrive at the very hot, breezeless trolley! You might thing this doesn’t sound too bad and well, for us it was but a minor inconvenience. For the little old lady, red-faced, puffing and panting it was a disaster! Although others grumbled and complained no one was offering her help, it was up to us! This lady was clearly overheated, scared and in distress. We gave her ice water we had brought along, Lynne whipped out her travel washcloth (carried for just such situations) doused it with water for her to pat her face and wrap around her neck. Poor old dear, she was so grateful and kept insisting to her helpless friend she would NEVER accompany her on an outing again. At our first stop we traded seats with her, affording her more shade and bought her lemonade stating “you need some sugar, sweetie”. It wasn’t long after that, the color returned to her face.

It was a sad state of affairs that helping a fellow human being, what should be normal behavior, turned out to be ‘the nicest thing anyone has ever done’ for her. Lynne and I both felt blessed for the opportunity to stand up and give this simple gift of kindness. Remember ALWAYS carry water, and wear a hat in the tropics! Another good idea for all of us would have been to discover the whereabouts of the trolley before handing over our money!

Other than the pristine waters which surround Grand Turk, donkeys, flamingos, a lighthouse and a spaceship were the highlights of our tour. Donkeys are allowed to roam free all over the island, I’m guessing as an alternative to mowing the grasslands. Happy for a pat and a treat these semi wild animals added a bit of excitement to our tour, over very bumpy roads…on this very hot day.

Wishing for an early escape, we talked our trolley driver into dropping us off at Jack’s Shack, a local bar and grill with lots of island character. We ended our day cheering the brave old lady who almost didn’t make it out of paradise! This seemed fitting as we were leaving paradise ourselves, tomorrow we would be back in Ft. Lauderdale.

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Cheers mateys and thanks for joining us on our Caribbean adventure!

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Travel On! Join us as we travel into the unknown.

¸.•♥ In-ƤЄƛƇЄ ~ ԼƠƔЄ ~ ԼIƓHƮ & ԼƛUgHƮЄr ☮ ♥ ★ ツ *。.☆

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Danger in Outback Australia!

Cattle Crossing

High Speed Cattle Crossing     (Click on Images to Enlarge)

Vast, remote and arid, the Australian Outback is a landscape which offers a striking contrast to the better known beach towns of Australia. Lynne and I left Mackay, Queensland, after completing our Quest for the Elusive Platypus. Our new quest for Aboriginal Culture and dramatic wildlife would take us from the sandy beaches of Queensland, through the bush, (land outside urban areas) and into the Aussie Outback, delivering us to the tropical Top End.

A new adventure had us in its grip and we were heading to Darwin, capital city of the Northern Territory. Darwin is located on the northern central coast of Australia, thus earning the name ‘Top End’ and is a location filled with danger! I think it should be called ‘Danger End’ because there are so many things in the area that can kill you! It’s rough as guts—but—a little thing like that wasn’t about to stop us! We had a long dangerous drive ahead of us; 1161m/1869kms west and another 599m/964kms north before we would reach our destination. We would be driving through some of Australia’s harshest and least populated land and stopping at a destination which boasted about all its dangers! 33 Tips on Dangers in Darwin  (Top 10 things that can kill you in Australia)

Mackay, QLD to Darwin, NT

Mackay, QLD. to Darwin, NT.

When setting out on this type of dangerous journey it is essential you have a reliable car, food and lots of water! We were traveling off the grid into vast areas with no electricity, fuel or mobile phone service and very few fellow travelers. To avoid as much danger as possible we had the car serviced, ensuring the spare tire was adequate and all systems were working properly. After loading up the cooler we bravely headed into the desolate Outback. Not wanting to take any chances we had carefully studied and mapped out our route. Running out of gas/petrol would have been a disaster! Because of the remoteness, we found ourselves paying $2.06 per liter which equates to $7.79 per gallon, for gasoline along the way. Did I mention it could be dangerous on the wallet as well?

For two days we drove on roads blistered by the heat, with the occasional head jarring ‘whoopdy’ as we bounced on the mini roller coaster made by flood damaged sunken culverts. It’s hard to believe this dry area, bare of vegetation, would ever have flood waters! We drove past creek after creek, dry and dusty, only identifiable by the sign posts giving them names. The danger of being caught in a flash flood was real, only so much water could be absorbed into the dry, rock hard land! The outside temperature gauge read 42 degrees Celsius or 107 Fahrenheit! If our car had broken down, the danger of dying from heat stroke or dehydration would have been a real possibility! Don’t ever leave the car when stuck in the outback!

We forged on, passing through random small towns advertising dinosaurs, flying doctors, livestock and mines, however, being populated by very few people. It’s fascinating to see the extreme measures that are necessary to live in this harsh, isolated, dangerous land, yet, humans insist on living there! The buildings were obviously lived in ~ so the people must have been somewhere.Livestock Road Train Road_Train_Australia

Very few vehicles passed us during the drive and the majority of these were Road Trains; huge trucks pulling 3 or more trailers and can be up to 53.5 meters–174 feet long, some even double decker—hauling cattle.

“Keep your eyes on the road Lynne, this is dangerous!” I nervously instructed while she was overtaking these road hogs. We tried not to stay behind the ones with livestock for too long; the potential for a very messy windshield was far too great! The novelty of the lack luster landscape wore off after the first few hours so we tried to entertain ourselves with a game of ‘spot the’ but all we spotted were carcasses and lots of them! We had avoided traveling at dawn and dusk for this very reason, too many hopping kangaroos made it very dangerous! Poor kangaroos didn’t stand a chance against big heavy vehicles and if you were in a small car, I think, sadly, both would lose.

Day three was filled with excitement from the get go! We saw foliage on the horizon and we dodged living kangaroos and an emu. Despite all the danger, we could see beauty in this ancient terrain in the way the colors of red earth and pale green vegetation played against the cobalt blue sky and occasional white puffy cloud. In some areas we were 200 meters (656 feet) or less above sea level and it was easy to believe that Australian was indeed, the flattest continent on earth! The danger seemed to be diminishing slightly.

In the early hours of our drive we came upon a temporary muster station; 1500 head of cattle had spent the night resting by the side of the road and were being readied to set off for a day of grazing. Thrilled with this discovery we pulled over for a closer look. A line of cattle dogs had been tied to a nearby fence, which also served as a makeshift clothes line and was draped in numerous pairs of blue jeans. The attentive puppies’ eagerness was apparent as they jumped and yipped, wanting to be released. Surveying the camp we noticed a man winding up the electric fence that had kept the livestock contained during the night. He welcomed us for a chat, introducing himself as ‘Matey’! How’s that for a proper Aussie name mate?

Matey TaylorMatey Taylor was the lead drover; in charge of keeping the cattle alive for a week while waiting for the road trains to arrive that would deliver them to an auction. His station at Camooweal, QLD. had been stripped bare of all food and they were forced to graze the side of the highway. As his name would indicate he was friendly and consequently up for a chat! Matey had us chuckling when he told us about the two German women he had helping him. He only had three ‘Jackaroos’ (Australian cowboys), which included the two ladies on horseback, (they would be ‘Jillaroos’) and a young boy on a motorcycle. Unfortunately the dogs would be riding in the truck; according to Matey it was far too hot and dangerous for them! With no water available they also traveled with a semi-truck hauling a massive water tank, which they managed to drain daily.

German Jillaroo

Matey told us, “Those girls told me they could ride but, you can’t put them on just any horse, too dangerous!” He explained, “They have a bit of trouble controlling them and if they get hurt we are a long way from help and they’re very far from home. It’s a big job for me watching out for them!”

He went on to tell us a story of one of the girls coming in one evening complaining how her legs were sore and hurting, so he told her, “Here—take this spoonful of concrete —and harden up!”

He laughed at his cleverness and so did we! On our way out we noticed one of the girls having trouble with her powerful steed, we lingered and I had the video camera ready for a ‘Funniest Video’ moment, but, she was able to gain control after a few wild circular spins. Disappointing!

More danger on the road once again as we carefully negotiated around wild girls on horses and 1500 head of cattle!
Small NT Termite MoundHours down the road, the landscape greened up even more, and anthills started to pop up like tombstones. They could very well have been the tombstones of travelers not so lucky during their outback crossing! Our backdrop was becoming tropical and the temperature even fell a few degrees. Danger peeked around every little shrub as wallabies and kangaroos decided to travel during all hours of the day!

Reaching the end of our westward journey, we took a right turn at Three Ways, NT and headed due north to Mataranka, and the Elsey National Park, with soothing thermal pools, refreshing swimming holes, the Roper River and spectacular waterfalls. With the new danger of snakes, bats and insects on the increase, it was nonetheless, an astonishing contrast, breaking through the desert into this lush tropical paradise. We soaked up the healing energies of the warm water and dined in the local pub, very grateful we did not have to make this journey on horseback and have a spoonful of concrete for dinner.

We are now in Darwin, settling into the hot, humid, dangerous conditions derived from being so close to the equator. Wish us luck, for it is a rugged dangerous lifestyle. A lifestyle we will eagerly embrace. We’ll keep our spoonful of concrete handy – we just might need it after all!

snapshots from the road

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Travel On! Join us as we travel into the unknown.

¸.•♥ In-ƤЄƛƇЄ ~ ԼƠƔЄ ~ ԼIƓHƮ & ԼƛUgHƮЄr ☮ ♥ ★ ツ *。.☆

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The Land ‘Down Under’!

Australia's Got TalentThe name Australia comes from the Latin word, ‘Australis’ meaning ‘southern’. As the name would indicate we are now in the southern hemisphere, where the water goes down the drain backwards* and cars are driven on the left side of the road. Feeling flipped over, upside down and backwards we hit the ground running!

On the list of necessities for any traveler is accommodation, transportation and communication. Fortunately during our first month in Australia, family and friends opened their homes providing us with beds, couches and even a camper, parked in a front yard. After visiting a few used car dealerships, with no luck, we spotted a Subaru Outback for sale on the side of the road. An Outback in the outback, brilliant! With the first two essentials crossed off our list we easily acquired a mobile phone and a portable wi-fi device, we were all set to begin our Aussie adventure!

Huge Aussie Prawns

Of course food is also an important necessity and we were both devouring some of the best seafood in the world! Not to mention the Aussie meat pies and other culinary wonders only found in Australia like the thick, yeasty Vegemite and the yummy sweet desserts; pavlova and lamingtons.

After we arrived in Sydney, we had no plans of what to do or where to go but, family and friends lived along the coast further north so this seemed to be our next logical step. All the while we kept our eyes and minds searching for whatever presented itself as a guide towards the future. Trusting in the journey is a skill Lynne and I have fine-tuned during our world travels. Looking for synchronicities and whatever shows up in our proverbial headlights, is how we roll!

Kangaroo MaleThe koala, kangaroo, emu, kookaburra and platypus are all animals found in no other country than Australia and in the first few weeks of our adventure we saw them all. Except that is, for the elusive platypus! When the early explorers first revealed this unique semi-aquatic monotreme, (mammal that lay eggs), to the world, it was thought to be a joke—Aussies having a go at the English by sewing a duck bill onto a rat—but it turned out to be authentic! The search for a platypus seemed like a lofty goal and a good reason to head further North, in the direction of their habitat. Well, that and a job offer for Lynne in Mackay, Queensland, which could help fund our expedition. Lynne’s brother, Peter, and his family also live up north in Mackay which cemented the platypus idea, that was ‘showing up’ as to how we should proceed.

Spy HoppingOff we went, driving north from New South Wales to Queensland. As luck would have it, whale season along the east coast was in full swing, (July through October). We stopped in to visit some longtime friends who live near Brisbane and were treated to an ocean adventure in their boat, to search of Humpbacks! It was a phenomenal success and not only did we spot over a dozen whales splashing, breaching, spy hoping, tail wagging and flipper flapping, we also saw a huge sea turtle and a heap of flying fish! We had been on whale watching charters before but nothing can compare to this smaller boat which afforded us an up close and personal encounter, on the same level as these majestic beings!

We now find ourselves in Mackay; sugarcane and coal mining country. We have moved into a fully furnished studio unit at the Ocean Resort Village (not as flash as it sounds). We seem to have it all, tropical gardens, swimming pool, air-conditioning, cable TV and wi-fi, all this and beach front access to boot! What we don’t have, however, is a platypus sighting! Not yet anyway! Bless Lynne’s heart for working, but, it seriously cuts into our platypus discovery time! Rest assured, we will find our platypus and moving towards this end, we are certain to discover additional adventures here in northeast Queensland!

Some interesting facts about Australia:

The Australian Coat of Arms has a kangaroo and an emu on it. The reason being they can’t go backwards, they can only walk/hop forward, similar to the country’s forward movement into the future.

Most of Australia’s exotic flora and fauna cannot be found anywhere else in the world.

Australia is known as the ‘island continent’ and is the only continent on earth to be occupied by one nation. It is also the flattest continent in the world.

Some of Australia’s most prolific inventions are the bionic ear, black box flight recorder, clothes line, notepad and stubby (beer) holder.

The land masses of Australia and the United States America are comparable, however, their estimated populations are not. The United States of America has approximately 313 million people, while Australia has approximately 23 million, 90% of whom live on the coast.

*You find both counterclockwise and clockwise flowing drains in both hemispheres. Some people would like you to believe that the Coriolis force affects the flow of water down the drain in sinks, bathtubs, or toilet bowls but, it’s not true! The Coriolis force is simply too weak to affect such small bodies of water. The Coriolis Effect is the observed curved path of moving objects relative to the surface of the Earth. Hurricanes however, are affected. Hurricane winds move counter-clockwise in the northern hemisphere and clockwise in the southern hemisphere.

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Travel On! Join us as we travel into the unknown.

¸.•♥ In-ƤЄƛƇЄ ~ ԼƠƔЄ ~ ԼIƓHƮ & ԼƛUgHƮЄr ☮ ♥ ★ ツ *。.☆

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An Unassuming Hero!

by Liz Clark

Montana Spartan Race, May 2013

Montana Spartan Race

An unassuming hero, 23yr old Melinda Juell from Missoula was a participant in the Montana Spartan Race, May 2013. We first noticed Melinda as she was nearing completion of this rigorous challenge, a three plus mile, fifteen obstacle mountain race set up in the Montana wilderness. The obstacles required, climbing, crawling under bridges and barbwire, and fire jumping just to name a few, with plenty of mud mixed in for excitement. She had just completed an obstacle which required her to carry a heavy sandbag up and over a steep muddy hill.

Spartan Racer Melinda JuellDropping the sandbag to the ground she looked up with the smile of a champion.

Melinda lost her left forearm due to blood clots in 2010. It was a traumatic time for her which she turned into a positive life changing event, stating, “Losing my arm has made me want to start doing things that I never would have tried before…” Moving towards this new vision she began a weight-loss journey and has now lost an impressive 60 pounds. Playing down the loss of her limb, she feels many things in life are equally hard, with or without limbs.

“I do not look at my lack of limb as anything to overcome. It is just part of my daily life that I spend far less time thinking about than anyone around me does.”Spartan Racer Melinda Juell

Melinda’s sister suggested they participate in the Spartan Race and with no idea of the actual details she agreed. After beginning the race she soon discovered it was much longer than anticipated, stating, “In hindsight, it was a fun event to participate in. During the race, I was just ready to be done!” Believing that there is nothing special about her completing such a daunting race, Melinda is quick to give equal credit to all participants. Diverting attention from herself, she shared a story about a leg amputee and his struggle, her description filled with positive affirmations that would inspire any self-doubting person; she concludes, “Never let anyone make you feel as if you are not capable.”

Melinda may be humble about her achievements, but the impact she had on me and countless others—even before we spoke—will never be forgotten. My heart was touched and uplifted by her blatant joy and commitment. Continuing on with the race after dropping her 20 pound sandbag, her good-natured countenance shown with inspiration and determination, Melinda feels, “Participating in the Spartan Race was much more about strengthening my soul than anything else,” and in doing so she helped empower many others. Her example shouts out to the world; determination will take you wherever you want to go!

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Travel On! Join us as we travel into the unknown.

¸.•♥ In-ƤЄƛƇЄ ~ ԼƠƔЄ ~ ԼIƓHƮ & ԼƛUgHƮЄr ☮ ♥ ★ ツ *。.☆

To keep up with our Global Wanderings ~ Like us on Facebook & Twitter

OR sign up to hear about our Global Wanderings Book Release

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