I Stand With Paris

Note:  This post originally appeared on The World According to Luke’s Facebook page on 14 November 2015. 


As many of you know, Paris is one of my favorite cities. It’s where I first fell in love with Europe four years ago, solidifying a desire for a lifetime of travel. She is a beautiful city with friendly and welcoming people, and has seen much worse in her history.

Today, my heart weeps for the people of Paris and of France, and for everyone who has felt a special connection with this city, which now includes much of the world. Cowardly terrorists chose not to attack tourist locations, but places where these people have fun and find enjoyment on a beautiful French Friday night. The solidarity and unity of the French people was overwhelming and swift, as will be the response of bringing those responsible to justice. The world is not safe anywhere – including here in America – where dangerous and violent people, hell-bent on killing the innocent, exist.

As many of you also know, I have travel booked to France in just over nine months, where I will help take student and adult travelers to this city that means so much to me. I could not feel more confident in traveling to one of the world’s greatest cities. We are not truly safe anywhere we breathe (we’re at risk now even going to the store or movie theater in our own hometowns), and I know Paris and the rest of the world will rebound from this. I’m also encouraged by our tour operator’s network of offices and swift actions in ensuring its travelers may do so safely, as they did last evening in Paris.

I choose to continue to travel, and to be an advocate for travel, because we cannot allow the terrorists to win or for fear to dictate how we live our lives. I refuse to live a life rooted at my home because of a fear exacerbated by a small number of radicals and promoted by ratings-driven media outlets.

Please join me in standing with the people of Paris as the rest of the world stood with us on 9/11. The world is filled mainly with good people, and together we will show that terrorism will not win and we will prevail. As travelers, I feel we have a particular obligation to show the world that we are willing to stand with one of our most shining examples of what a great city can be when loving and kind people unite against darkness.

“The more I traveled the more I realized that fear makes strangers of people who should be friends.” – Shirley MacLaine

“Stuff your eyes with wonder, live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.” – Ray Bradbury

The Land of Enchantment

I made it to New Mexico! I had some okay barbecue in Dalhart, Texas; saw a beautiful sunset just after crossing the TX-NM border; and thankfully extremely narrowly missed hitting two deer just outside Tucumcari.

I got a great deal on a cheap room and plan to grab a quick breakfast at a diner on Route 66 in the morning before driving to Albuquerque to meet my friend Laura and meet a couple of her friends for lunch and afternoon cocktails. Before that, though, I’m hoping to explore ABQ and see some Breaking Bad sites – my brother wouldn’t let me live it down if I didn’t! Car wash, anyone?

I’m in New Mexico for Jill Badonsky’s “Camp Creative Thunder,” a 4-night creative writing/art/meditation camp for adults in Taos. I’ll be visiting friends and reminiscing on a favorite chdhood vacation spot during a two-night stay in Santa Fe on the way from Albuquerque to Taos.

I am so relieved to have had a successful first leg of my trip and know I will make many memories and see lots of awe-inspiring natural beauty (some of it new to me) on this journey. I needed the break from work and want to get back to my creative side, which I’ve been ignoring for far too long. Can’t wait!


Saturday Breakfast – Simple & Delicious!


I’ve been eating pretty richly lately, and the scales have shown it! I’m not going into full healthy-eating mode just yet, but I’m going to make an attempt to integrate a few healthier choices when it comes to cooking and eating.

This morning, that meant chopping up some strawberries I got on great sale at a new grocer in town and assembling those with a small container of blueberries, vanilla bean Australian style yogurt, and a few drizzles of local Kansas honey. Yes, the yogurt and honey added some fat and sugar to an already delicious combo, but if it saves me from a bad sweet-tooth choice later, I’ll take it! 

Happy Easter!

We had a great day today at the Bunker House.! My brother, his girlfriend and their daughter came by for a light lunch and Zoe really enjoyed hunting for Easter eggs.  I hope everyone had a great day today, whether you celebrated Easter or just enjoyed a Sunday of being alive.  Because life is great, and we need to remember that.

Easter Rose Budgs

Easter Rose Budgs

Happy Easter from the Easter Bunny!

Happy Easter from the Easter Bunny!

The weather was perfect for today (dare I say "hot"?) in the 70s.

The weather was perfect for an egg hunt today (dare I say “hot”?) in the 70s.  I think it got up to 79, and although the air smelled strongly of it, most of us in town didn’t see more than a few drops of rain.

My Saturday!

I was in the cooking mood today!  Also, in the catching-up on Boss and starting Girls mood…  All of which made for a fun day!

For lunch, I sauteed a pound of ground beef with orange and red bell peppers, and – of course – onions (don’t worry, I didn’t eat it all!).  Delicious, and oh-so simple.  For dinner, I made my friend Laura’s Vegan Three-Bean Chili, but served it over broccoli slaw instead of corn chips – all the crunch with none of the guilt!


A few of our tulips have also started to bloom!  I wasn’t able to get great pictures, what with the sun beating down on them because I was too lazy to wait for the right light, but here’s a peek!  I’ve been seeing some of the trees around town start to bloom, so I might head over to the library tomorrow… redbuds and crabapples, oh my!

On Friday evening, before they really opened up...

On Friday evening, before they really opened up…

On Saturday, with mid-day brightness...  The tales of a lazy photographer continue...

On Saturday, with mid-day brightness… The tales of a lazy photographer continue…

Sandhill Cranes at Sunrise on the Platte

Sandhill Cranes at Sunrise on the Platte

My friend and I made an early morning trek on fresh snow to a bridge above the Platte River at the Fort Kearny State Historical Park (NE) a couple of weekends ago. It was nearly pitch black outside and you could see clusters of people on the bridge, wrapped tightly in blankets and gripping their cameras and binoculars. We heard the cranes begin their morning chatter before the sky began to illuminate and thousands joined the larger flock. I waited for more light and stabilized the camera on the bridge to get this shot. Thanks to an ignorant photographer who flashed (and, therefore, flushed) one group, we didn’t get the most dramatic flight scene, but it was still special to see this part of one of the world’s last great migrations.