The Magic of Travel & A Gift For Toi

What a few weeks it's been. I jetted off with my family to Bermuda for eleven days and discovered a quirky country with the most sublime beaches and, crazier still, because it was still off season we had them mainly to ourselves. I felt like Robinson Crusoe. 

We toured around Bermuda and saw all kinds of interesting things, as well as spent time with the wonderful family who hosted my middle daughter for the past month on a school exchange. Every day, we spent at least a few hours on this beach just five minutes from our rental apartment. I could not wipe the grin off my face. See? 

 See the grin? Yup. 

See the grin? Yup. 

There were messy times of course. If you've read my books, you know I don't gloss over the imperfect stuff. I can't help it - I've always been far more interested in what's happening in the wings than on the stage.

Our three girls had to squeeze into two beds in our bare bones rental, so of course there were melt-downs and slammed doors. Our middle daughter was not entirely thrilled her parents and sisters crashed her exchange. Buses were often obscenely late and Franck kept confiscating everyone's cell phones...because, you know...family vacations...  

My philosophy when traveling is not to aim for the perfect trip, but to instead find and enjoy the perfect moments. There were lots of those. Climbing to the top of a local lighthouse. Playing in the translucent waves. Enjoying local Bermudian Rum Cake. 

Besides, after having a travel ban imposed on me by my doctors three years ago, I was just so freaking overjoyed to be on a plane for a vacation instead of medical appointments, tests, or, you know...a transplant.  

 Oldest daughter who complains of me never posting photos of her. 

Oldest daughter who complains of me never posting photos of her. 

Travel, I realized over the past three years, is a massive privilege. As long as I am well enough to travel and explore, I will do it. It is far from the most prudent financial decision at this juncture in our lives, but when Franck said to me, "Laura, we can't really afford to go to Bermuda," I responded, "I'm healthy right now, we can't afford not too."

In the past three days, right after we got back from Bermuda, Franck and I flew to Calgary (where it was -25 Celsius - whelp) so I could have my yearly transplant tests done - an MRI and a liver biospy (just about as fun as it sounds). The past week has been such a contrast of The Carefree (Bermuda) and The Dreaded Adulting (liver biopsies). I definitely want more of the former and less of the latter going forward.  

As long as my health holds we are planning an epic trip this summer to Burgundy, Paris, Rome, Apricale (a hilltop town in Italy), and Greece. It makes no sense, but at the the same time for us right now, it makes ALL the sense. 

Because I'm all about travel right now, I have concocted a travel-related contest for any readers who pre-order (or have pre-ordered) a copy of My Grape Paris before its publication date on May 1st.

I've collaborated with my friend Nicole Smith, who started the incredible company Flytographer. Her brilliant concept was to enable people to hire vetted, talented vacation photographers all over the globe. Check out her website at www.flytographer.com . Look at these Flytographer photos from Paris to get an idea of what they do - these were both taken by Krystal Kenney, one of Nicole's Flytographer's in Pairs: 

 Photo by Krystal Kenney for Flytographer 

Photo by Krystal Kenney for Flytographer 

 Photo by Krystal Kenney for Flytographer

Photo by Krystal Kenney for Flytographer

For anyone who pre-orders My Grape Paris before its May 1st publication date, you will be entered in a draw to win a 60 minute session with Flytographer, in any of the their 200 destinations worldwide. This prize is worth $350.00 US. 

To enter, just scan and send or forward any proof of purchase to this email: catherinebyng@gmail.com . 

I highly recommend travelling and capturing those moments...but it doesn't matter whether you travel by plane or by reading a book (another one of my favorite methods of transportation). Whatever you do, DREAM. 

 Beautiful Bermuda 

Beautiful Bermuda 

 My crew - on a family vacation for the first time since my liver transplant - yipee! 

My crew - on a family vacation for the first time since my liver transplant - yipee!