Tag Archives wanderlust

Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone

by Tuesday, September 6, 2016

As I lie in bed on a dark and rainy September morning, my two Boston Terriers by my side, I feel numb. Earlier today, while many moms and dads have sent their kids on the bus for their first day, back to school, the day after Labor Day, I sent mine on a plane to travel the world for nine months. Without me!

I knew this day was coming. Hell, if it wasn’t for me, I don’t think it would have ever happened? You see, I am in love with travel. This is something I passed down to my daughter.  Being able to travel the world, visiting exotic places and meeting people from foreign lands, for an extended period of time, is something that many only dream about.  Many, including me. Now, my daughter is living that dream. This is her reality and the thought of it is so surreal that it  gives me goosebumps just thinking about it.

I am over the moon with excitement for her, knowing that she is able to see the world in this unique manner.  This traveling style will allow her to fully immerse in different cultures, will expose her to new people, new foods and new traditions, in such a way that is very rare for a person to achieve on a typical two-week vacation.  The program she is traveling with is called Winterline Global Skills  This program has created an extraordinary hands-on approach to learning.  Therefore, she is not just visiting 10 countries, hitting a few tourists spots and leaving. She is visiting places such as Costa Rica, Panama, Germany, Italy, Czech Republic, Austria, India, Cambodia,  and Thailand and while she spends time at each location, she will be learning 100 new skills as her journey progresses. The thought of how such experiences will positively impact her life in so many ways makes my heart sing.

So why am I so sad then?

After returning from the airport and driving up my driveway the first thing I see is her car with her Winterline bumper sticker proudly displayed on the back of her beat up Lexus RX300 SUV, that used to be mine, and used to be nice, but through the years it has aged, as did she, as did I. Thoughts ran through my head, “That car will no longer have Maddie coming and going in it”. “That car won’t move for months on end.” “It may even still be there when it snows and she still won’t be back!” My heart pounded and my eyes filled up again, right when they finally dried up from my drive home. “Take a deep breath Jess. She is going to be okay. You are going to be okay. She is so happy and that makes me so happy!”

But I’m going to miss her.

I proceeded to walk into the house, greeted by my fur babies, that thankfully “will never leave me”, I thought to myself,  and then saw her shoes by the doorway. I tried to ignore them looking at me, as they whispered, ” She is gone. It’s time to let her go.”  I contemplated on going in the kitchen for who knows what? I wasn’t hungry. I wasn’t thirsty. I decided to instead to go upstairs and lay in my bed. I did wake up at 3:00 am to drive her, so I was really tired, but in reality, it was more a feeling of loss than fatigue that I was feeling.

I made my way up the stairs with Gabby and Bernie following close behind and in my peripheral vision I saw her clothes hanging to dry on the railing from the night before. ” I don’t know why she washed them if she wasn’t taking them?” I thought, “but if I don’t put those away in her room after they are dry, they won’t be touched or worn by her for at least three months, and by then, the shorts, crop tops and rompers won’t be in season. “

I need to get away from her stuff. At least for today anyway. I don’t dare go near her bedroom although I project images of myself laying in her bed on days I’m missing her.

My husband knows how hard this is for me, so in between his jobs he came by the house to check on me and to bring me a pumpkin spiced iced-coffee from Dunkin Donuts to cheer me up. It did temporarily. He knows that I am genuinely so excited for her, but have to transition to the empty nest stage of life. He also knows that this will be especially hard for me because she is “my person” and he isn’t even remotely jealous in that fact. He thinks we are clones, especially when we sweet talk him into things. We always eventually get our way with him, but I know he secretly loves it.  I wonder if now I won’t get my way without her added persistence? She is good. Really good, but  I digress.

He is a man a few words. He shows his love by his actions and has a hard time expressing his feelings verbally.  Before she left he wanted to add patches to her backpack of all the places she has already gone.  This is something we talk about on every trip we take.  We buy the patches, intend to put them on when we get back home, but never get around to actually doing it.  His goal was to have hers complete by her trip.

It started out rough. Some of the places we visited, we didn’t get a patch, so he ordered it from Amazon Prime. (I love Amazon Prime btw! You can get virtually anything!)  We were waiting for them to arrive and it was getting very close.  Then, the patches we thought were iron-on were actually sew-on. Trying to sew these heavy-duty stitched patches onto a nylon Northface backpack seemed nearly impossible.  It was a grueling nightly task that he would make his chore for a week or so until it was complete, finger pokes and all. This was his way of saying good luck and a send off gift, “Brice-style”, not to mention the hefty contribution to this Gap Year he made. She loved it!


Maddie at the airport with her backpack adorned with country patches on her way to her Gap Year

It’s now the afternoon and I’m still here on my bed writing my thoughts as I hear my dog loudly snoring next to me. As I finish off the last sips of my melted down, now less sugary, pumpkin spiced iced-coffee, I allow myself a day to mourn.

Today, I am mourning the end of her childhood.  I am mourning our times chatting all night about all the drama at her school. I am mourning the unbearable wake-up calls for her before school meetings for FBLA.  I am mourning seeing her pretty face smiling at me as she walks in from wherever she was that day.  I am mourning the nights I couldn’t fall asleep until I knew she was home safe.  All these things and more, will no longer be.

However, tomorrow, I will be celebrating her journey into adulthood. I will be celebrating the amazing experiences she will have exploring the world.  I will be celebrating all of her accomplishments.  I will be celebrating the obstacles that she has overcome.

I will be celebrating HER.

As a mother, letting go is hard. So hard. But when you know that by doing so, you are giving your child wings to fly, it’s all worth it. This is what I believe that being a good parent is all about.  You can love them, nurture them, teach them, guide them, and hope you’ve done you’re best. BUT, you have to let them go. If you’ve done well, they will never forget where their nest is.


The first group has arrived in Colorado!






by Monday, June 20, 2016


This is that time of year when parent’s of seniors in high school start thinking about how it will be when their child goes off to college in the fall. Being a mom of a senior who is taking a different route, I’m in quite a different boat than most. I’m a gap year mom. I not only have to feel the empty nest stage that we all experience when our kids go off to college, but I have the extra unknown of where, what and how my daughter is doing while traveling the world, on a gap year.


We have selected an amazing program through Winterline. This gap year program has the students visit ten different countries and learn 100 new skills.  The itinerary of the destinations and planned projects they will be involved in look so well thought out and over-the-top awesome! However,  there may be times, due to weak wi-fi, or her being in a remote location, or the time change being so different, that I won’t be able to hear from her on a daily basis, as I’d like to. (kidding, not kidding)thewanderlustyogi.net

We have talked about her possibly taking a gap year off and on throughout her senior year, but we couldn’t find a program that had what she was looking for.  I even wrote an article about this, mainly due to the fact that when we talked about this to others, nobody we knew had done this, and many we knew, had never even heard of such a thing, nor understood it.  I wanted to explain what a gap year was and why it offers some genuine benefits for young adults.  Australians and Europeans have already embraced opting for a gap year-long ago, and has reaped its many benefits.  (Here’s the link: the benefits of taking a Gap Year )


In the fall, we did the traditional college tours and she applied to five schools. She got accepted into many, but not into her top choice.  This only made her start looking deeper into researching gap year programs.  “Maybe this was a sign and meant to be?”,  she thought.  She didn’t want to settle for a college and spend all that money on a school she wasn’t completely excited to go to, not to mention, her wanderlust was calling.  She wasn’t even sure of what program she wanted to apply? She went from thinking she wanted to do fashion, then considered business and marketing, now she is interested in global business and non-profit work.  Who knows what it will be the next week?thewanderlustyogi.net

For these reasons and more, it seemed like taking a year off to explore the world and learn new skills, might give her the time and self-awareness she needs to make these major life decisions. She just wasn’t ready yet.  Some kids know from the time they can talk what they want to do for a job.  Some kids, even adults, change their mind constantly. I’m guilty of this myself, but when you really contemplate that a seventeen year old has to decide their lifetime career choice at such a young and complicated age, its pretty crazy to think.


That’s when we found Winterline.  She couldn’t stop thinking about world travel and wanting to be able to do it before she has all the responsibilities of a job, bills, a car, an apartment, etc. Adulting is hard! She knew this and knew if she waited, she might not have the time or funds to do this after college.  She felt as though this experience would not only benefit her in so many ways, but it would give her a starting point to what kind of impact she wants to make in this world. This was it! After many long discussions, our family all felt it was a perfect plan for her, and knew she would thrive in this unique, alternative experience.thewanderlustyogi.net

She began the rigorous application process with Winterline.  She went through all of the steps; writing essays, Skype interviews, getting recommendations and sending her transcripts, to finally get accepted to this competitive program.  She also was awarded scholarships for video and blogging.  You can follow her travels on her YouTube channel: Maddie Meets the World



Now that I am officially a Gap Year Mom, I don’t know what I’m feeling? I am so excited for her to be able to have all of these experiences, but also know I will worry, a lot, and will miss her profoundly.  How I choose to manage these emotions and feelings is to blog about it.  I figure this is way to get things off my chest; the good, the bad, the ugly. In addition, I think this may be a great resource for other moms/dads who are considering letting their child go on a gap year. I wish I had something like this to read right now. Although I did meet a Gap Year Mom whose son just got back in May, that gave me her card and offered for me to call anytime for advice.  We are a rare group of parents and need support, lol.


My plan is to blog about what she is doing, which from the itinerary, looks amazing! For example; she will get scuba certified, Thai massage certified, be building a house, learn to sail a boat, learn to make a Bollywood movie, study mindfulness and meditation for a month, take driving school at BMW, learn robotics, work on a farm and many other unbelievable things. I also will give you feedback of how things feel back at home in her absence and how I cope with it.  I plan to interview her dad, her brother, her friends and possibly other gap year moms and dads.  Furthermore, I have two potential planned visits with her. The first one being in Costa Rica, during her first semester, which my husband and I already had to re-visit to finish his dental work.  (Here’s the link to that story:

How I Saved $7,000 For Dental Work in Costa Rica

The second one will be during her last semester, where I plan to visit her in Spain. I’ve always wanted to go, now, what a better excuse than this? Maybe even one of her friends can join me? That’s  not for a while so I’m not sure what will exactly happen, but the plans are in the works.

I hope that my Gap Year Mom series will not only help me, but others too.  It also will be a great way to look back on this amazing life-changing journey for my daughter Maddie, but will also be a life-changing journey for me too!

She leaves in September, so watch out for updated posts to follow. If you are interested in her sending you a post card from one of the ten countries she visits, leave a comment with your address or email me privately at strikeaposeyoga@gmail.com and we will pick one randomly per country.thewanderlustyogi.net


by Monday, October 12, 2015

If you are reading this blog, you probably are really into travel and anything that has to do with it? Welcome to the club. Like the rest of us in this group, we yearn to travel all the time, but the reality of it is, to most of us, that this isn’t always possible.

So, what can you do in the meantime, between your highly anticipated travels, to fulfill this empty space between adventures ?

  • Watch movies that inspire your wanderlust

Some movies have a knack of showing a location in such a way that you feel like you’ve teleported into the screen and visited first hand. Others show you places that you didn’t even know existed and now is on your bucket list.  Then, there are the very special one’s that not only inspire you to travel but inspire personal growth.

Here is a list of my favorite travel inspired movies that are my go to (between trips)




THE GIST: A lady at a turning point in her life decides she doesn’t want to be married anymore or have children and leaves for a year-long solo trip to Italy, India and Bali to go on a soul-searching journey.



THE GIST: A young man after graduating college realizes that the American dream is a scam and he wants no part of it. This all came to head after a traumatic event of the discovery that his father had another secret family. He heads off to the woods of Alaska with no money, no credit cards, nothing but the clothes on his back.




THE GIST: A young guy is looking for adventure and travels to Bangkok,Thailand. He meets some backpackers who show him a map of a secret island off the southern coast of Thailand. He is determined to find this island for himself.



THE GIST: A man finds out that his grown son died on the Camino de Santiago during an avalanche. He is guilty of not understanding his son’s wanderlust and decides to set off on a Camino pilgrimage himself. He brings his son’s remains to finish the journey in his honor.




THE GIST: After losing her mother to cancer and going through a divorce because of her shameful ways of cheating on her husband many times, a women goes on a more than 1,000 mile hike through the Pacific Crest Trail alone.




THE GIST: A women goes on a 1,700 mile trek across the deserts of West Australia with her four camels and her faithful dog.




THE GIST: A man goes on a global voyage when his job security and personal life are both lacking. His adventure takes him on an extraordinary journey.




THE GIST: A female writer buys a Tuscany villa in hopes to change her life.




THE GIST: A young girl about to get married at her mother’s Greek Island guest house wanted to find out who her father was so he could give her away at the wedding. The only problem is there is a possibility of three men that it could be.  All three men join them in Greece to put an end to the question and to have the real dad walk her down the aisle.




THE GIST: A young naive girl in Paris helps others by being a matchmaker. Along the way she falls in love herself. (side note: this movie was filmed in the Montmartre neighborhood of Paris and I stayed in the building where she lived through www.airbnb.com and ate at the restaurant she worked, every morning while visiting. It was amazing!! If you want to find out where?-contact me and you could rent it too.)




THE GIST: This is a true story of an Austrian mountain climber who became friends with the Dalai Lama at the time of China’s take over of Tibet. Getting to watch a young Brad Pitt makes the movie worth watching. Sorry guys. In all seriousness, the movie is great regardless, with amazing scenery of the Himalayan mountains and Tibetan villages.




THE GIST: This documentary is a mesmerizing meditative journey that transports you to sacred grounds, disaster zones and epic natural wonders of the world. The film took over five years to make and is shot in 25 countries. If you have an HD ultra 4k tv-this is a film you want to watch on it!



THE GIST: While on a trip to Paris with his fiancee and her parents, a screenwriter finds himself mysteriously time travelling back into the 1920’s every day at midnight.




THE GIST: British retirees move to India and take residence in this so-called newly restored hotel, that ended up being not as luxurious as advertised. The charm of this run down place slowly grows on the new tenants nonetheless.



THE GIST: Two women from Arkansas shoot a rapist and then take off in a 66′ Thunderbird. Ironic that Brad Pitt makes his film debut in this oldie, but goodie. Its just a coincidence, I swear!



THE GIST: Two strangers meet on a train in Europe and have an instant connection. They decided to spend one evening together in Vienna, knowing that this will probably be the first, and last night, ever being together.  This one is older too, but started my whole obsession with traveling, so I had to put it on the list. There is a sequel called Before Sunset, but it isn’t as good. 




THE GIST: A movie star that has lost his fame and a neglected young woman form an unusual bond while crossing paths in Tokyo. This movie will make you want to sing karaoke in Japan!




THE GIST: Two elderly men who are terminally ill decided to escape their hospital beds and go on a road trip with a bucket list of things they want to do before they die.



THE GIST: A young man who survived a shipwreck at sea, takes a magical journey. While cast away, he forms a connection with a Bengal tiger on his epic adventure.




THE GIST: A small town girl tries to fulfill her dream of becoming a flight attendant. This movie is super corny, but I love it! After watching it, you won’t be able to stop saying, “first-class international!!”


So, the next time you are home, bored, and indulging in a NETFLIX binge, but also craving travel, check out these titles of my travel pornwww.netflix.com

Let me know what you think or if you have any other travel movies that inspire you. I need more!


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