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If you've been to my blog at all, you know I LOVE to travel.  We host Art & Faith Creative Retreats around the world and we travel multiple times each year.  I think last year was a record for the amount of trips we took!  It was a crazy schedule, but we were so thankful for each trip the Lord brought us on.  

So I've been thinking about travel blogs lately and if that should be part of this blog.  

By the way, the photo at the top of this blog is from our 20th wedding anniversary trip to Europe in 2009.  It was our 2nd time to Venice and some time I will explain how that trip was paid for, because that was a crazy good story! Isn't Venice just beautiful... it's almost beyond our imagination.

I don't know how many of you follow any travel blogs, but if you do I would love to hear about them!  I am thinking with all the trips we take, I should be blogging more often about travel.  What do you think?  I have so many people asking me what to do, where to go... especially in Italy, that I didn't really realize how much information we could impart on a blog. 

Lance is such a FOODIE that everywhere we go he has to check out the restaurants beforehand and make all the arrangements so we are set on that.  I like to see what special things there are to do and always check if there are any flea markets or events going on while we are there. And it takes us days to research where to stay and I always go through all the Trip Advisor reviews to narrow down our search.  Even for my retreats when I need a place to stay or restaurants and things to do, I am constantly looking online for all of that.  So why not help YOU with that too?!

I think I'll check out some travel blogs and see what this world looks like...

It would definitely be different to have a faith aspect to a travel blog, but because my faith is an integral part of my life, it is weaved into every aspect of it.   Travel is where we feel the Lord calling us to step out more and more and GO, so it makes sense to share that as well on this blog.

So if this is what we are going to add to this blog, I can't start this new chapter without sharing some of our favorite places TO travel.  I'll go back in time to our early travels when we took a year off and traveled the world and then some more recent trips we took in the past few years.  Yes, we took a year off when our oldest two daughters were 3 & 7 and we decided to travel for a year around the world.  It was 2002 and just after 911, so needless to say our family was a bit nervous about this idea.  But we had a peace about it and set off on a journey we will NEVER forget.  Unfortunately it came to an end about 6 1/2 months into it, but that time we did have as just our family unit was truly priceless!  

Here's a few photos from the first time we traveled to Venice, Italy.  This was on our "trip around the world" in 2002/2003 and you will notice the photos from the digital camera/video recorder were not superior quality.

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This last one is CLASSIC in our family.  My husband will never live down the fact that he poured bird seed ON our daughters head to get this shot!  Oops... bad daddy moment. 

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Much better moment here with dad on the grass in front of the Eiffel Tower in 2011.  

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On of the prettiest staircases in Italy.  Love taking the boat over to Varenna and walking along the waterfront and getting some gelato right at this spot.

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This is such a FIND in Paris!  The lady who opened this restaurant is from the South... as in "good ol' southern" South.  She is so much fun, the restaurant is all southern food and a complete enigma in Paris, but so worth the visit!  She is moving locations (boo... going to miss this beautiful spot) but I'm sure her new location by Jardin de Luxembourg will be beautiful as well.

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A beautiful day in Monet's Garden.  This was only made MORE magical by the lovely bike ride through the countryside of Giverny.  I dream of having a retreat in this little village and just painting all day...

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Beautiful Brugge with it's canals.  I love this small city that is walkable and a great place to explore!  We can't wait to go back this summer with a group of ladies for our Paris & Brugge Creative Retreat.  

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Our favorite hidden jewel on Lake Como.  This truly is one of the most relaxing places to enjoy a few hours lakefront, with the most delicious meal of your life.  Just ask the ladies who have been here on our retreats... they will tell you about the most delicious lemon ravioli EVER.

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And if you're wondering if we just travel to Europe, the answer is definitely no.  We love our country and part of our trip around the world was actually spent half of the time in our own country!  Since that trip we have been to almost every state in the U.S. and plan to finish that list.  This is one of my favorite states in our country though... Montana.  I spent my summers traveling there with my family growing up.  We would usually go to Montana or Wyoming and I have so many memories there.  It was great to take the family back to the Bozeman area of Montana last summer and explore the Big Sky with them.

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Beautiful beaches are also a place close to my heart.  If you were to ask me where I wanted to go... it would most assuredly be close to water.  There is something about water, isn't there... something so peaceful, yet powerful.  We lived 14 years right by Laguna Beach and it still is one of our favorite places to visit.  But I also love lakes, and this beach is so quiet in the mornings you can have it all to yourself.  The picture above is from Lake Michigan and it's a place we go almost every summer to visit my brother. 

Isn't travel such a gift!  I LOVE home, but travel opens up your life is such unexpected ways.  To me it's about seeing and being in the presence of such splendor of the world that God created.  It's an amazing way to get a perspective on this big world.  I am in AWE of the One who created this big world we live in!

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Like this place.  This was a "bucket list" place for my husband.  Bora Bora was unbelievable!  I want to do a retreat here some day, because it truly is as amazing as everyone says.  The water is every color of blue and turquoise.

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This is us in 2015 outside of our overwater bungalow.  

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Look at these rays swimming right by our bungalow!  What an incredible moment.

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I can't talk about travel without mentioning my love of all things New England.  Covered bridges are some of the most beautiful pieces of architecture in my opinion.  They are so simple, yet so beautiful and nostalgic... a part of our history.  My husband and I planned our entire wedding around the fall colors changing!  Yes, it's true.  We wanted to go see the fall foliage and so we decided to get married on September 30th so we could go visit the New England states for two weeks in October.  This was almost 29 years ago... wow, I'm aging myself!  

Last fall we went back to some of the places on our honeymoon and Woodstock, Vermont will always be a place deep in our hearts.  This is such a beautiful little village that feels like you've stepped onto the set of Gilmore Girls!  I highly recommend putting this place on your list of travel destinations!

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And I can't end this post without mentioning our move to Colorado.  I was born in California and have only known California my whole life as HOME.  But something happened on a trip last summer that stirred my heart.  I've shared my story on this blog and why we feel the Lord has called us to move to Colorado and build a home and "Gathering Place," but it goes deep down into our souls and I think travel can do that to you.  It truly can stir your heart to something more.  Something I believe the Lord wants for you to do, for His purposes.  

So I encourage you to GO.  

Go travel.  

See what God has so beautifully made.  

Seek Him while you travel.  

Be still, and ask Him what He is stirring in your heart.

It's the WHY behind my retreats...

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My heart is to share that with you and I hope some day to meet you on one of our travels.

In the coming months we will be giving our website a fresh new look!  It will also make it easier to find blog posts on specific topics, like travel, or information on our retreats and art classes.

Have a BLESSED day,

Laura

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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