I am a grandmother paddling alone over 2,500 miles from Maine to Guatemala. Along the way I will be:
- telling the story of the children who live in the Guatemala City garbage dump community
- honoring their entrepreneurial mothers
- talking about the success of the Safe Passage model school and
- raising funds for additional grades for the school.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

The Villages, Florida: Rotary Speaking Tour and Christmas Trees Galore

Receiving a gift of a wine glass from The Villages Evening Rotary Club
Took off five days from paddling to travel to The Villages to speak at Rotary Clubs and visit with good friends Roberta and Gary Walker.  Then back to Pat Ellis in Jacksonville.
Gary and Roberta drove about 10 hours shuttling me between Jacksonville in north Florida and The Villages in central Florida.  They arranged a speaking tour for me at Rotary Clubs, as well as a newspaper interview.

It was great fun speaking at the Rotary Clubs.  I know I have gotten the message across about Safe Passage when I see men in the group wiping tears from their eyes.

There was some time to tour The Villages as well.  It's an interesting senior community with all sorts of activities from Dragon Boat racing to kayak clubs to bike clubs to card clubs to loads of golf courses and amazing club houses.  What a mecca for the active senior who doesn't want to shovel snow.
Inside the Eisenhower Center at The Villages
Back in Jacksonville, I stayed again with Pat Ellis, and went to her friend's Christmas party.  They really decorate for Christmas in Florida!  But I still don't feel like Christmas is near as it is so warm.

White Christmas Tree in Jacksonville
While at The Villages, I learned that my family isn't going to be able to come to Florida for the week of vacation we had planned at the holidays.  But there is a silver lining in every thing.  I had twisted my husband's arm so he would come to Florida for a month to serve as support crew during the holidays, as we hadn't been able to find Rotarians to help me then.  Since Chris didn't want to be in Florida for more than a month, I had crammed two months of paddling into one month.  I'd be paddling for 13 days straight, rather than my usual 2 days on and one day off.  I'd be camping rough for the first 7 of those days.  But once the family holiday trip was off, Chris agreed to come to Florida for longer, and I'll be back to the less stressful 2/1 schedule.  That is a great relief for me!  I was beginning to wonder if my body would stand up to the abuse.

Gratitude List:

  1. Getting to see another part of Florida and spend time with good friends
  2. Meeting lots of great people
  3. Seeing Christmas in a different culture
  4. Finally finding out about The Villages
  5. Great and constant food

Hosts at The Villages: Gary and Roberta Walker
Host at Jacksonville:  Pat Ellis

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