Tulip garden in front of Claude Monet's home in France

Meditative Muse: My Tour of Fondation Claude Monet

Pathway of the Monet gardens leading up to the house

On my overnight flight to Paris, I watched Francis Ford Coppola’s cinematic remake of one of my favorite childhood books, The Secret Garden. Reminded of the purity of children’s love as the characters tended to an enchanted garden while healing their own delicate traumas, I lay down on my pile of small pillows as the movie lulled me into a haze of patchy sleep – the kind that leaves you wondering if you’ve slept twenty minutes or three hours.

In the same way that I was transported to a childhood memory of being engrossed in this classic tale, I entered a dreamlike state when I stepped into Monet’s garden – a wondrous world of flowers and trees that welcomed me into its lush embrace. Giant patches of petaled beauties greeted me with a rainbow array that made my soul dance with delight. I breathed in the cool, spring air fresh with the morning’s rain. Aaahh – a dream come true!

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White swan on the edge of Seine river in France

Who Moved My Passport? Travel Predictions in the Age of Uncertainty

In July 2020, I was asked to speak at a Stanford alumni event where I sat on a panel of experts to talk about our predictions for the future and what awaited after the pandemic. I was the travel expert, and in my company was a real estate agent, an employment attorney, and a medical doctor. While the other panelists shared some pearls of predictions for their respective industries, I felt like the messenger of doom. I was hesitant to give any specific date forecasts on when travel would “return to normal”, and felt awful when one attendee asked me if she thought she would be able to go on a cruise that Christmas. I knew that December 2020 was definitely too soon for a cruise to be considered safe, and at the rate we were going as a society, I wasn’t sure if she’d be safe going on a cruise in December 2021 either. 

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