In the concluding days of 2019, I paused to reflect on the past year. I feel fortunate to have traveled domestically as well as abroad. Simultaneously, I set aside precious moments to share with our sons and their growing families, including five grandchildren. At times, I struggled to find the appropriate balance between being a wife, a parent, a grandparent, traveling to places near and far, and writing.
Each of my adventures has added another piece to my understanding of the world. So much is to be learned whenever I remove myself from day-to-day life. My life is forever enriched by what I experience in Colorado as well as other places. While many of my autumn stories remain a work in progress or are sitting on an editor’s desk, most of my earlier stories have been published.
Disappointingly, my ability to keep pace with consecutive journeys has been hampered by technology. Writers are dependent on computers and their professional websites. When both go off-kilter, life can become chaotic and extremely unpredictable. Had I known that Apple’s Catalina operating system would slow my computer to a crawl and compromise my ability to access my Word documents, the internet, and my precious photos, I highly doubt that I would have agreed to add it to my computer in October.
For over 2 ½ months, countless hours have been spent dealing with Apple senior advisors. I tried everything possible to avoid erasing my computer and then ultimately needing to reinstall everything. But in the end, I was left with no other choice. I held my breath as everything was being loaded from the cloud and from my external hard drive back onto my computer. Disappointingly, this strategy failed just like so many others. My last Apple senior advisor, James, arranged for an appointment at the local Apple store.
My Mac underwent comprehensive testing at the store for a couple of days. The Apple store technician called a short while ago, and I was left with two options— Consider replacing the logic and wireless hardware or purchase a new computer. It is indeed frustrating that the computer was working until Catalina was installed. It will always remain disappointing that Apple was unwilling to take any responsibility for replacing the hardware since the computer is considered too old.
I’m ready to start fresh and prefer not to pour any money into an aging computer (late 2013 model purchased in 2015) no longer covered by a warranty. I’m curious, has anyone experienced a similar problem?
Meanwhile, I’m typing this story on my portable laptop and accessing my photo library via a Cloud. As I scroll month by month through my images, I can see a plethora of memorable moments with my family as well as on the road. I couldn’t help but go back to the December 2018 images to once again refresh my memory of our bucket list trip to the Galapagos Islands and Machu Picchu. I’m not sure any other trip can top this South American adventure. I highly encourage everyone to find a way to these amazing places within their lifetime.
Starting in February 2019, we were back on the road every month. Here is a roundup of my year with links to TheTravelingBornsteins website showcasing PDF versions of my published stories.
LATIGO RANCH IN GRAND COUNTY, COLORADO (February)
Ever since I traveled to India in 2010, I have been on the lookout for first time experiences and situations that force me to step outside my comfort zone. When Grand County offered a getaway to the Latigo Ranch, I jumped at the chance. Winters at this Colorado dude ranch are filled with outdoor adventures in a tranquil setting. Winter dude ranch stays are rare since most ranches open in the spring and close in the fall.
I brought along my never before used snowshoes for a test run. Trekking on easy trails, I was able to enjoy the ranch’s property as well as the panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.
When I watched my husband, Ira, fall numerous times while attempting to cross country ski, my apprehensions mounted. Eventually, my downhill skier legs adjusted to the narrow skis and soft boots. I ended up having more than my own share of falls. By the time we headed back to the Front Range, I was happy that I added another two experiences—snowshoeing and cross country skiing— to my list of firsts.
If you’re interested in learning more about our Latigo Ranch experience, check out these two stories:
Latigo Ranch Adventure
Latigo Ranch Food
FRANKFURT, RUDESHEIM, ROTHENBURG OB DER TAUBER, MUNICH, & DACHAU (March)
When I became aware of the 80th anniversary of World War II, I approached the German Tourism Board to see if they would sponsor an independently organized media trip. As an American Jewish woman born after the Holocaust, I had previously chosen not to plan any German trips. While I had used Frankfurt as a stopover, I had never left the airport.
Our eight-day road trip focused heavily on Jewish history, culture, and the Holocaust. The highs and lows of the trip added to my understanding of post-Holocaust Germany and a new perspective. It is imperative that travel itineraries include all parts of history—both positive and negative. It is not wise to turn one’s back on history by avoiding the painful and disturbing aspects. Remembering victims of humanity’s cruelty is an important part of life’s journey. In 2020, I hope that our travel plans will include other segments of history.
To learn more about Frankfurt, Rudesheim, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Munich, and Dachau, click these links:
Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Grandchild number five arrived in February. In Mumbai, India, we were blessed with our first granddaughter. Per our son and daughter-in-law’s request, we waited a month before traveling to India. Our media trip to Germany was planned in conjunction with our travels to India. Stopping in Europe broke up the arduous journey to the other side of the world.
In India, days were spent hovering over our infant granddaughter and going to a nearby park or seawall with her preschool brother. We also shadowed many of our grandson’s daily activities and became familiar with current kid’s songs like Baby Shark.
To give our son’s family some space, we toured a couple of places previously seen and also spent lunchtime at a variety of ethnic restaurants. My story about the local cuisine is pending publication.
PASSOVER & END OF MONTH TRIP BACK TO CHICAGO (April)
After being abroad for almost a month, we returned to Colorado. As I quickly prepared for Passover, I simultaneously recovered from jetlag. Traditions surrounding this Jewish holiday offer time for families to come together around the Seder table. For our family, this holiday will always be tied to a profound sense of gratitude. Ira’s near-fatal ski accident occurred just days before Passover in 2010.
Here’s a link recalling that scary day.
After coming out of an induced coma, Ira miraculously led our Seder. We came together in a small conference room adjacent to his hospital and celebrated the holiday. In 2019, we happily sat around our festive dining room table with all of the accouterments associated with the holiday. My thoughts wandered back and forth as I remembered how precarious life can be.
My mother-in-law’s 90th birthday celebration brought the Bornstein family back to Chicago. A small gathering of Ira’s parents, brothers and their respective families came together in my in-law’s Highland Park, Illinois basement. My time was divided between the happy moments of this milestone and a handful of visits with my elderly mother who was living in a nearby care center.
At that time, I did not know that my brothers had decided to stop my mom’s dialysis treatments shortly after I returned to Colorado. In retrospect, I wish my brothers would have been more forthright with their intentions.
COCHISE COUNTY, ARIZONA (May)
In mid-May, I was honored to be the guest of Cochise County, Arizona. The non-stop itinerary focused on outdoor adventure, history, and food. Our stop in Bisbee showed us how small towns can continually reinvent themselves and create an interesting history. In Willcox, we strolled through the booths at the Willcox Wine Spring Festival and also learned about Rex Allen (1920-1999) at the Arizona Cowboy Museum. We explored nature at the Chiricahua National Monument, the Coronado National Memorial, the Nature Conservancy’s Ramsey Canyon Preserve, and Kartchner Caverns State Park. The Fort Huachuca Museums in Sierra Vista increased our understanding of the Buffalo Soldiers’ legacy and the history of military intelligence.
To learn more about Cochise County, open these links:
Food and Wine
I honored my mom’s request and did not return to Chicago until after she had passed away. It was not an easy decision as I watched her wither away on FaceTime. To this day, I will never understand the hospice philosophy of stopping food and water in the final weeks or any of my brothers’ end of life decisions.
After coping my entire life with a mother who preferred criticism over praise and with brothers who never respected me, I knew it was best to keep my distance. For most of my life, I had longed for a caring and compassionate family. Sadly, those chapters were never part of my story
Burying a parent is never easy. Decades and decades of dealing with a totally dysfunctional family reached a crescendo when her casket was lowered into the ground. While it is inevitable that parents who give life will one day die, it is an emotionally charged moment when that day arrives.
As the only one of my mother’s offsprings capable of reading Hebrew and reciting the Mourners Kaddish, I adhered to my traditional beliefs and recited the prayer and will continue to do so weekly until the mourning period has concluded.
CARIBBEAN CRUISE (June)
This Caribbean cruise was planned to coincide with our wedding anniversary. I was reluctant to travel so soon after my mother’s passing. Two rabbis and a cantor told me to enjoy life and the special time with my husband.
To date, only one story about a shore excursion has been published. More will hopefully follow in 2020.
BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION IN SUMMIT COUNTY (August)
Each year, our eldest son travels with his growing family to Colorado. In 2019, his visit coincided with Ira’s 65thbirthday celebration. We gathered for several days in our Summit County mountain home. Our sons fulfilled Ira’s birthday wish to be surrounded by his adult sons, their significant others, and their respective families.
Switzerland Tourism invited me to a Hiking in Style Media trip. I joined five other international journalists on this incredible tour which included visits to Locarno and Lenzerheide. My travel colleagues came from Australia, South Korea, Czechoslovakia, Russia, and Ukraine. After I completed the Hiking in Style itinerary, I explored Jewish history in Zurich, Endigen and Lengnau. This was the best media trip I have experienced so far in my career.
Another story is set to be published in 2020
Endingen and Lengnau
ROAD TRIP TO SOUTHERN COLORADO, SANTA FE, & TAOS (September)
Right before the Jewish High Holidays, we drove to the Great Sand Dunes National Park and to two cities in New Mexico—Santa Fe and Taos. This was the first opportunity to visit this off the beaten track national park. By using Ira’s senior citizen national park pass, we gained free access to the national park. We combined the visit with a complimentary stay at the Zapata Ranch.
Both New Mexico cities sponsored our multi-day stays where we indulged in delicious food and learned about the local culture and history. We especially enjoyed our visit to Meow Wolf in Santa Fe. To date, only one story has been published. Several more are pending publication in 2020.
Great Sand Dunes
Twice we have canceled trips to Japan and then rescheduled. In 2019, we finally fulfilled our private wish to explore this Asian country. A self-guided walk around Nagasaki in 2015 hooked us. We started planning another trip shortly after we returned home.
To get a taste of Nagasaki, open this link.
While having the honor of being on the bridge with Captain Theodoros Zakkas when the ship entered the Kobe harbor, I was presented a delicious cake with the title of my book, May This Be the Best Year of Your Life. We especially enjoyed our special dinner with the captain and Mihai Oaleriu, the Hotel Manager.
Our entire cruise was indeed a sweet experience that will be difficult to top.
All of the Japanese content is a work in progress or pending publication.
With several United Airlines vouchers due to expire, we chose to use them to book a flight to Hawaii. A Luxury Escapes promotion caught Ira’s attention. It was a better deal than the media rates I was negotiating with several hotel brands. None of the hotel or destination representatives could match the offer.
We kicked back and relaxed. After a hectic year, I enjoyed the chance to read a couple of books. Blustery winds and shpilkes (impatience) kept us from sitting too long on the beach. Snorkeling and a day trip to Hawaii Volcanos National Park rounded out our visit.
Once my computer issues are fully resolved, I anticipate being able to complete my remaining stories.
MISCELLANEOUS TRAVEL STORIES PUBLISHED IN 2019
I periodically contribute 3rd person stories to Far & Wide. These research-based stories look at travel through a different lens. If you are planning a cruise or will be visiting a national park in the coming months, read these stories:
I was asked to interview Jill Daly, the Director of the Midwest Region of the Israel Ministry of Tourism. During our conversation, she shared “what’s new” in Israel.
ADDING BOOK REVIEWS & INTERVIEWS IN 2020
After publishing May This Be the Best Year of Your Life, I chose to help other authors publicize their books by writing book reviews and interviewing authors. As a former educator and lifelong learner, I enjoyed the opportunity. I also wanted to give something back to the writing community since so many people had helped me during my journey to become an author.
A series of orthopedic injuries and surgeries caused me to stop with this endeavor. Recently, I decided to reinstate interviews and book reviews to the sandrabornstein.com site. In November, I was approached by a publisher and an author. Sylvia Rouss’ interview has already been posted. A book review will be up soon for To the Edge of Sorrow.
If you are an author or a publisher interested in a book review or an interview, read these posts.
I look forward to sharing book reviews and interviews in 2020.
2020 TRAVEL PLANS
This winter, I will be focusing on boomer ski adventures and returning to India to visit our expat grandchildren. In the spring, I will head back to Europe. Eventually, I will plan the second half of the year.
MAY 2020 BE THE BEST YEAR OF YOUR LIFE
CAN YOU SHARE?
I’m always looking for feedback and questions. If you have traveled to any of the destinations mentioned above, can you share the best part of your visit? Are one of these places on your itinerary for 2020? Do you have any questions or concerns? Please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or question.
When Sandy isn’t trekking or writing in the Colorado Rockies, she is traveling. She has visited more than 40 countries and lived as an international teacher in Bangalore, India.
Sandy shares her lifestyle and travel experiences with international and domestic online sites and print media. Her stories have appeared in Hemispheres, Destinations Magazine, KUHL’s Born in the Mountain blog, Grand Magazine, Wandering Educators, Golden Living, One Travel, Miles Away, Canadian Jewish News, Getting On Travel, Far and Wide, Colorado Parent, Traveler Confidential, Family Circle- Momster, and others. As the content coordinator for Golden Living, a Best Version Media publication mailed to Golden, Colorado residents, she writes family and business feature stories and a monthly travel tip column.