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Wanderlust Wednesday | Vatican Views

Worth every step and drop of sweat.

Photo courtesy of The Ultra Linx

Photo courtesy of The Ultra Linx

Copyright 2014, Once in a Lifetime Travel

Dreaming of Italy?  Follow me.

Wanderlust Wednesday | Nonna

If I could pinch her cheeks I would.

Photo credit Nick Zungoli

Photo credit Nick Zungoli

Copyright 2014, Once in a Lifetime Travel

Dreaming of Italy?  Follow me.

Worry then breathe

Quotation-Martin-Luther-world-change-Meetville-Quotes-88625I worry.  I’m a worrier by nature.  By design.  I come from a very long line of worriers.  I have learned that I must spend time every day focused on gratitude to help plant my feet in the present and keep me from anxiously looking too far into the future.

Worry isn’t always a bad thing.  As a travel planner it helps me anticipate potential issues before they ever become problems.   I map out not only Plan A but B and C.  My worry channeled appropriately and effectively becomes a powerful toll of intuitiveness.  Worry keeps me sharp and prepared.

Worry sometimes gets the upper hand though and begins to spill into my every thought, filling the corners of my mind and wreaking havoc in my dreams.  Writing helps to control and contain.  I once read, “If you want to change the world, pick up a pen and write.”  I’m happy to just change the climate of my thinking with my words.  So here I sit.

I worry about Ebola.  Just like everyone else in recent days.  Although around for decades, it has made a dramatic debut here and we are now painfully aware of how truly under prepared we are.

I worry about travel.  I selfishly worry that my plans for Italy next fall will be effected; that my business will suffer.  I worry that this will change us, isolate us.  Make us more distant and less trusting.

And I worry for nurses.  I am a nurse.  I’ve been in the ER and ICU for over 17 years.  I’ve worked from the barrios of Phoenix and the best trauma center in Seattle to small town Montana.

I can promise you that I’ve seen it all.

I have stories that ban me from dinner tables and ones that still leave me in tears.  I have worked under pressure so intense to this day I have no idea how I fought through.  I’ve held hands and whispered in ears that it’s OK to let go more times than I can count.  I’ve carried a tiny baby to the morgue.  I’ve been spit at, peed on, kicked and nearly choked during my pregnancies.  I’ve been called every name in the book.  And then some.  I actually know what brain matter looks like and I’ve watched two students pass out because of it.  I’ve fought for my patient’s rights and dignity, sometimes defending them from doctors.  Sometimes their own families.  I shared a hug with a man no one ever thought would survive.  I even borrowed a smoke from a bum on ER curbside.


I worry most because I am a nurse.  I know exactly what a critically ill dying patient looks like.  Nurses maintaining the ventilators for breathing while titrating a myriad of IV medications along with watching labs, giving blood, pushing fluids and keeping things clean.  Constantly cleaning.  Blood, vomit, sputum, drainage, pee and stool.  Endless amounts of stool.  Care of this kind of patient is tremendous, let alone if improperly supplied.  Are we expected to roll up our sleeves and do the best we can with what we have available?  Make due like we all have done so many times before.  Like those nurses in Texas?

I worry about fear.  Fear can be as great a danger as the danger itself.  Tweets, posts, rants and blogs all with more undertones of fear than fact.  How can one safely tip toe around the edges without falling in.

I worry about balance.  Finding a way to prepare for anything without letting my efforts become a obsession that destroys the one true thing I do have at this moment.  Now.  This day. The present to be with what is mine.  They sometimes wake me up at all hours in the night and hand me boogers but they are beautiful and full and my treasures.

I breathe now.  In and out.  Often.  I hold on to faith and hope while always keeping one eye on my Plan A.  And B.  And C.


Copyright 2014, Once in a Lifetime Travel

Dreaming of Italy?  Follow me.

Wanderlust Wednesday | Venice, Italy

Photo credit unknown

Photo credit unknown

The city that feels like a dream.  Venice.


Copyright 2014, Once in a Lifetime Travel

Dreaming of Italy?  Follow me.

Cinque Terre weather alert continues

Cinque Terre remains under Weather Alert 2 until midnight tonight.
Visitors are asked NOT to come today. The rains have been held at bay, probably due to the wind. My thoughts are with everyone in the area and those that suffered tremendously in Genova. Photo credit L. Castrucci


The problem with commitment

The reality of the difficulty in committing to travel really hit home as I re-read an article I wrote years ago.  I felt like I was reading the words of someone else much wiser than myself.  At the time I penned that article I was full to the brim with the heartfelt intention of traveling within the year.  I remember feeling it in my bones.  Life had other plans for me though.  And the year after that as well.  And the year after that.  Three full years later I am finally set to fulfill my promise to myself.  Three extremely full and challenging years later.  During that time I caught myself feeling defeated at times, wishing for things to play out differently.  Or for a huge trust fund.  I realized soon that attitude was truly the only thing I could ever control and so I took a step back for a better perspective.  I found I have nothing to be disappointed about nor discouraged.  My babies were now well on their way through toddler-hood and they knew what it felt like to have a mommy who was always there wrapping them up in love.  All the pieces had finally fallen into place and we were putting down roots in a place I’ve been longing to call home.  I had personally grown and learned how to put myself out there, get comfortable with being uncomfortable and take chances to obtain what I wanted with my business.  I have the satisfaction of standing by my husband and watching his dreams come true after taking the terrifying leap into self employment.  My wanderlust heart may have ached for adventure but the framework of my life had been solidified and I am now right where I need to be.

just go travel bozemanAlmost everyone I talk to gets misty eyed when the topic of travel comes up.  Everyone has somewhere that calls to them.

They also have bills, jobs, kids, family and responsibilities that call louder.  Taxes, tabs and a dishwasher in need of replacement.

I don’t want anyone to think that I don’t understand the reality of life when I push to travel despite obstacles.  I’m in the trenches too and I can honestly say that I am knocked down backwards more often than I am able to pull myself up.  My war cry remains the same.  Just Go.

If you can’t swing a flight across the ocean I understand.  Believe me.  Grab the keys instead and discover what is lurking next door.  I may have missed exploring the back roads of Tuscany but I discovered the jaw dropping beauty of Glacier National Park (and the heart pounding terror of a grizzly encounter).  My little kids have yet to play in the piazzas but they can name their favorite forest service cabins and we have hiked nearly every local trail.

Just Go.  Travel anyway.  Any where.  Travel to grow, to learn, to heal, dream, recharge, teach, change.  Travel to become a better version of yourself for yourself.


My original article posted in 2012 ‘Commit to Travel’

Dreaming of Italy?  Follow me.

Copyright 2014   Andi Brown,  Once in a Lifetime Travel

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Wanderlust Wednesday | Seaside Sunset

From the amazing Renovating Italy.renovating italy

Travel with me to Italy

It’s time to put my money where my mouth is.  Practice what I preach.  Or as we somewhat crudely say in Montana, shit or get off the pot.


italy travelI’ve written about the importance of traveling; how to make things happen even when it feels nearly impossible.  I have articles to help budget; ways to pinch pennies and stretch those euros.  I’ve shared my secret places and best times to travel.  Ways to skip lines and save on time.  Where and what to eat.  Even how to flush a toilet.  While all my written information and guides have helped many travelers, nothing beats showing someone.  Actually going through the motions visually.  That is what I intend to do.  I want to take you all with me to Italy.  OK, not in my suitcase but as close to that as possible.  I want to show you how I will prepare and plan through my posts, photos and videos.  I want to create a discussion; an interactive place where ideas are shared.  I want to infect as many people as possible with the travel bug.  And wanderlust.  Fernweh.

I intend to inspire not just others but myself.

Dreaming of Italy?  Follow me.

Copyright 2014   Andi Brown,  Once in a Lifetime Travel





Wanderlust Wednesday | Capri, Italy

A new series for the Wanderlust in us all.

Capri, photo credit unknown

Capri, photo credit unknown

Living Locally | Relax and Enjoy

I have talked about four of the five steps to my Living Locally philosophy so far:   putting yourself in their shoes , making the first attempt at communication , blending in and keeping an open mind.  Now for the final and most important!

STEP FIVE:  Relax and enjoy

You will have already created the time to experience encounters that you have been dreaming of because of good preparation and smart traveling choices.  This will not be the perfect trip because traveling (especially in Italy) is never completely predictable, but this will be the absolutely most amazing adventure.  Remember to roll with the punches and always be on the look out for an opportunity to get to know Italy personally.  A rainy day may mean a missed bike ride but instead a glorious little cafe otherwise overlooked.  Travel, like life, is full of ups and downs.  The trick is to be prepared for the worst while enjoying whatever is thrown your way.  Traveling is fun, but Living Locally is pure joy.

I’m obsessed with feedback, let me know what you think.

Love it??  Pass it on!

Copyright 2012   Andi Brown,  Once in a Lifetime Travel


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