A View Ahead: 2012

Happiness is a choice. Anyone can become, among a circle of friends, the “joy lightbulb,” as my friend calls people who seem to emote positivity. You may shine brighter than your peers, your boss, even your parents. I somehow resisted writing a 2011 wrap-up, but I have been thinking a lot about what’s going to unfold in my life in 2012.

No resolutions here, predictions about how many times I will use my passport, pounds I’m going to lose. I’m not vowing to stay dedicated to my job, or to leave it, or act a certain way or to stop a bad habit.

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Travel vs vacation

Nothing beats the sunsets — and happy hours — at Pacifico.

I am taking a vacation.

It is weird for me to have five glorious days off of work yet not be planning a Big Trip. I don’t have to research all of the sites or look into visa issues. Packing ahead? Nah – I’ll just throw a few things into a bag tomorrow night.

Finally, I am off on a trip that will rejuvenate me – I won’t need a vacation after the vacation. I often say that Big Travel revives and reenergizes me. Most of the time, it does. But lately, I’ve been run-down, trying to fit everything in. Work has been too hard, and I’m getting up when it’s still dark out just to catch up or work on my blog. My gym membership is a thing of the past, as is getting more than a few hours of sleep. On the weekends, I want to get all of my errands done – and then do nothing. I am just too tired and need to rest up to start all over again Monday morning.

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Let your “spirit” be your guide: hypnotherapy

©iStockphoto.com/Dimitris66

Halloween weekend in Las Vegas was graced with crisp, 80-degree sunshine, not a cloud in the sky. But I didn’t need stormy weather to get in the “spirit” of things — I had an appointment for hypnotherapy with a doctor known for past-life regression. Happy Halloween to me!

Whether or not you believe in past lives, fragmented spirits, earthbound spirits or spirit guides, I promise you that ….

 what I experienced was the best therapy I’ve ever had in my life.

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Public speaking anxiety, I will conquer you

On Fox 5 talking about our big event next month.

Not exactly the most gripping topic — but since public speaking anxiety is as crippling as it is to me, I bet there are others out there as well. In fact, last time I wrote about this (click here), a lot of you jumped out to say hello. And now is a natural time for an update!

Despite my own sometimes devastating public speaking anxiety, I jumped at the change to speak at Vegas’ Meet, Plan, Go. Part of the reason was the company: JoAnna of Kaleidoscopic Wanderings was putting on the event, and Diana of DTravelsRound was going to be my fellow speaker. No one could believe I had agreed to do this, but encouraging people with major interest in travel to get out there and do it? I was game.

Then my worst nightmare happened.

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Why solo travel is not for me

©iStockphoto.com/anouchka

I’m still walking on air after an inspiring night that came courtesy of Meet, Plan, Go and one of my guiding lights in Las Vegas, JoAnna Haugen, who herself learned a LOT by organizing the Vegas version of this national event. One of the most important ideas that I feel the audience soaked up like a sponge was that in the world of travel, there’s something for everyone. One person doesn’t like hostels, another is on a tight budget. Me? I can live in a very tight space or stay in a very modest room. But it has to have air conditioning. And… I do not enjoy solo travel.

There, I said it. I am not a solo traveler. I do not like solo travel.

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Remembering September 11th

September 11, New York

©iStockphoto.com/delihayat

September 11th changed the course of my entire life.

At first, it was too much to take in, although writing helped. Then, it seemed better to not think about it.

For years.

I don’t want to organize my thoughts, really. I just turned on the TV and saw it. I see the towers on fire, and it is a wound, an open wound. I feel like someone is about to come at me with a knife; it is scarier than anything I could think of happening to me. I will not turn on the TV again today, although I have the newspaper to read and will be thinking of it all day.

A reporter at the local paper here in Las Vegas recently asked me exactly how I learned about it, as if someone delivered the news of September 11th in an instant. It wasn’t that simple. Watching TV as I got ready for work, I started off thinking that someone’s plane had somehow, a freak accident, hit a building.

Then, slower than I can comprehend now, everything dove into darkness.

My morning, September 11th 2001:

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