Reflections, Resolutions and Renewal v. 2019 – Part 2

Happy New Year Everyone!

Welcome to the new year and the new decade of the 20’s! This week I continue to reflect back on 2019 and share some of my favorite articles and photos. But first, a little about renewal.

The beginning of a new year and even each new day brings the opportunity for renewal, to be a better person, to show kindness to self and others, to create and tell a new story, and to take a photo that has more depth, meaning and storytelling properties. It’s also a chance to try something new where one can either become proficient in a task or end in disappointment due to the lack of interest, practice, or commitment. As human beings, we learn from those disappointments and failures, it’s life’s great teacher that keeps us humble, creates resilience and experience to keep trying, and helps us grow. Renewal helps us to set new goals and take action to accomplish those goals.

With that in mind, let’s check in how I did on my 2019 resolutions. Last year I resolved to journal more, I did ok especially when I’m traveling but would like to do more writing/journaling every day.  I did meet my goal of continuing to write and photograph for my blogs with 52 posts in 2019. I resolve to keep that going in 2020. I also had a goal to walk 3,000,000 steps during 2019, I missed this goal again with only 2,484,608 steps, give or take a few thousand. I don’t have much of an excuse so I’m modifying this goal for 2020 to take 2,750,000 steps during the year. In 2019, I also resolved to take a writing class. I didn’t, however I’ve already signed up to take a class in early 2020, so not too far off. Maybe I can take two classes this year, a soft resolution that I’ll do my best to keep! I also resolve to take another photography class or workshop during the year to refresh and improve my knowledge and skill. To keep myself honest, I’ll report back at years end on how I did.

Now back to reflections.

After our time in Ukraine, we spent a few days in London before returning home. One day we visited Kew Royal Botanical Gardens located in West London near Heathrow Airport. We were fortunate there was a special exhibit of Chihuly glass art in the Gardens.

“But our overall favorite was the display of the glass art of Dale Chihuly, Reflections on nature, that were integrated into the landscape. The Gardens provided a handy map so that visitors could find all the glass installations. Here’s some photos of what we saw.”

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While some of our travels were outside of Wisconsin and the United States, we also had some experiences closer to home. In fact, I wrote one blog titled “The Trail Home” that proves we do have a home base! Here’s a little of what I wrote.

“After the seven hour plane ride followed by a nearly four hour bus ride, and a short ride in our neighbor’s car, we arrived at our modest home in Madison, Wisconsin. It felt good to walk in the front door to feel, touch, and smell the familiar, the known, the security of home.”

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We took part in some of the many activities that Madison has to offer, especially during the summer. Here are a few.

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Opera in the Park
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UW Memorial Union Terrace
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The Dane County Farmers Market on the Capital Square
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The Sessions in Madison Central Park

During the summer, we camped near Hudson, Wisconsin located on the St. Croix River that creates the border with Minnesota. Our goal was check out this community as a possible place to spend our more “senior” years nearer to The Youngest.Hudson-9935Hudson-9954

“We were blown away by The Phipps Center for the Arts just off Main Street that is the area’s premier performing and visual arts center. Opened in 1983, the Center has a theatre that features plays, musical events, and other artistic performances. There is an art gallery and the Center offers classes in music, theater, dance, painting, photography and other visual arts.”

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In late August, we traveled with our camper to the northeast part of the state. We stayed at a campground in Kewaunee located on Lake Michigan, the closest campsite to Green Bay we could find on a holiday weekend. Our main purpose was to attend a preseason game of the Packers at Lambeau Field. Here are a few photos and notes from our excursion. A City and a Town-0107

We entered the stadium and headed over to the 1919 Kitchen and Tap, the wait was long so they directed us to their outdoor grill. We had a filling meal and great conversation with a group of out of town first time visitors to Lambeau Field. They were loving it!

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After the evening at the Packer game, we enjoyed a few days exploring the area with visits to Alaska, Brussels, Denmark and Poland and beyond! Here’s some photos to prove we were in these places in Kewaunee and Door Counties!We traveled to-0153We traveled to-0089We traveled to-0098We traveled to-0091

In October I traveled to Australia for two weeks of homestay with Friendship Force Clubs in New South Wales. Prior to the homestay I spent three days exploring Sydney, one of the finest cities on earth and another three days at Uluru in the Northern Territories of Australia. The following is a little about my experiences in those iconic places.

“It was a beautiful, sunny day although a little on the cool side when John (the guide I contracted through cityunscripted.com) and I met up on my first full day in Sydney and Australia, it is spring after all. My goal with the walking tour was to get a good orientation to the city and learn about sites I could see in my remaining time in Sydney. I learned that John is a life long resident of Sydney and has been guiding for about a year or so since retiring from full time work. He also enjoys traveling especially to London and the UK as well as taking photographs.”

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John took me to the Sydney Opera House and and the Harbor Bridge, two of Sydney’s most popular destinations.A walk with John-5604Last Day in Sydney-5854Last Day in Sydney-5810

The flight to Uluru from Sydney takes three hours, it’s a big country. While there I rode the hop-on hop-off bus to Uluru (formerly Ayers Rock) and Kata Tjuta, the easiest and most economical way to travel for someone who doesn’t know their way around the Red Centre. Here’s a few photos and narrative from my visits to both sites.

“The driver made the full route around the base of Uluru picking up a few passengers before pulling into the sunset viewing area. There were a few buses and some cars in the parking lot but it was by no means full. The driver suggested taking the path leading to the top of the dunes for the best photos. He was right. While waiting for the sun to set, I struck up conversations with some of the other travelers, a couple of young ladies from Germany, a guy from Japan and a couple of photographers. But I was always keeping an eye on the sun and guessing when the best light would shine on the big rock. Below is the progression of my photos that evening. Some were taken with my DSLR Canon 7D II and some with my iPhone 11 Pro.”

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This photo was taken at the sunrise viewing area the morning after the photos above were snapped. A beautiful site to behold!

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After the sunrise photo shoot, I rode the bus to one of the stops encircling Uluru for a base walk around part of the rock. The climb up Uluru was closing in a couple of days, that news brought out mobs of people as shown in the photo below.

“As I neared the Mala Carpark, I looked up and saw the many “ants” (as they were described by the indigenous peoples) making the climb, one after another. I talked with a woman that said her friends were making the climb and one dropped her sunglasses, asking her friend to look for them as if they would survive the fall!”

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That same evening I partook in an evening tour to Kata Tjuta. Here’s a photo and brief description of what I saw.

“Our first stop was at the sunset viewing area where we would return later in the evening. The viewing platform gave us the broad view of this huge formation that consists of 36 dome rock formations spread over 20 kilometers or about 12 miles. Kata Tjuta, in the aboriginal language means “many heads” and is considered sacred by Anangu peoples especially for men. The highest dome in the chain is named Mt. Olga after Queen Olga of Wurttemberg. These domes are believed to be created over 500 million years ago from sedimentary rock including granite and basalt, cemented together with sandstone. Here was our first look, the first photo a panorama with my iPhone 11 Pro and the second with my Canon 7D II with a Canon 24-105 zoom lens.”

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Well folks this completes my Reflections, Resolution and Renewal blogs for 2019. Next week, I return to ordinary time and new post from Australia. Stay tuned!

Until then, happy travels!

Tom

 

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