Gypsy Journey travel blog

Forever Adventure Tours

Peek-a-boo Slot Canyon, beginning of hike

Inside the slot canyon

Harder than it looks!!

Me and the pups

Brent, our tour guide

Brent gave me a cheesecake with candle on the hike

A hidden gem Brent threw in on the tour

Georgetown cupcakes delivered to my door!!

Colleen Tomlin with the pups

I turned 54 this week. 54. I don't care what anyone says, no one in their 20's or 30's ever says, "I can't wait until I'm 54." No one. Ever.

I found myself in a deep doldrum on Tuesday (the day before my birthday). Absolutely nothing went right that day. Was it the age thing? I never really thought of myself as being vain. Alright, maybe a little (or I wouldn't be coloring my hair, no?). But I see people that can't live without surgical assistance, and I just don't get it. Age, as in life, happens.

No doubt the brown spots showing up on my hands; the lines around my eyes, lips and forehead; the tummy pooch; the inability to get up off the floor at times...yeah, no doubt, those are having an impact on me. So, is that what got me down?

Me thinks partly, but I think it was more about seeing my year of #53 come to an end. I look back over my life and I can think of some incredible experiences and memories I have had. But, I can't think of one entire year that I loved so much...until #53.

A quick snapshot...

- My retirement is announced the week of my birthday, 2016

- I take a dream retirement trip with buddy Cathy to Italy

- I retire!!!!

- I sell the home and all my belongings in California

- Purchase of Gypsy Red

- Traveling in Gypsy to Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina, Florida, Louisiana, Texas, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, Colorado, OK, California, Nevada, and Utah

- Great trips with friends...San Antonio with Jules & Bec; New Orleans with Cathy, Dodd, Brian Gaskins and friends; Destin, FL with Kaymon; Wimberly, TX (joined by Kimmie and Cathy); Monterey, CA with Ryan/Shannon and the guys; and Lake Tahoe (joined by Dodd, Nolet, Cathy, Ang, Glynie, Ryan and Shannon)

- Reconnection with long time pals Kimmie and Kip Harm

- Time with my family

Quite frankly, it was an awesome year! I did NOT want to see it end. How on earth could another year top it??

Then, Wednesday, birthday came. Me and the pups got up early, had a great breakfast at the Kanab Bakery, then took off for one of the best hikes ever with Forever Adventure Tours to Peek-a-boo Slot Canyon. The only way into the canyon was with a 4 wheel drive (Gypsy could have never made it), so the ride alone was worth the tour price as the sand was deep and difficult to maneuver. On the hike, the canyon got a bit narrow at one point with a large boulder in the pathway. Presley struggled a bit, but Ossy couldn't get over it. Thank goodness for Brent, the tour guide, as he took one end and I took the other and we lifted Ossy over the boulder. As momma would say, "bless his heart!"

Along with a great hike was the texts (starting at 5:00 a.m., thank you very much!). I do love Facebook for the ability to see the Happy Birthday's from so many people you rarely get to see or hear from. But, the texts blew my mind. It was glorious. Texts from folks I had not talked to in almost a year. But, it was one text, in particular, that was truly uncanny.

I got a text from the last boss I had at AT&T. A guy named Randy Tomlin. It was short and sweet...happy birthday, where are you? I responded with "hiking in Southern Utah". He replied, "Colleen is in Kanab". What? I reply, "no way, so am I".

A little background on Colleen. Colleen is Randy's daughter. Two years ago, while in California working for Randy (who lived in Dallas), I saw a painting Colleen drew for Randy. It was amazing. I mentioned I wanted something like that of my two dogs. He replied, "she specializes in pets". He gave me her contact info. Long story short, she took a picture I sent her and did the most incredible watercolor painting of my dogs for me. (Her website is, in which the painting of Ossy and Presley is prominently displayed).

When I paid Colleen, she said she always donates 5% of the fee to a charity and asked which charity I would choose. I said, Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. She had never heard of it, but after looking it up for the donation, she became intrigued. So much so, that 3 months after she finished the painting for me, she took a trip to Kanab, Utah to volunteer at Best Friends. She was living in Austin, Texas at the time and just starting her painting business while teaching school. Three months after she visited Kanab, she quit her job in Austin and moved to Kanab full-time.

She now works at one of the Best Friends co-founders gallery in Kanab, and is doing quite well through her website. We met for the first time today at brunch at the Kanab Bakery, where she also met Ossy and Presley.

Colleen told me she discovered Best Friends because of me and has since found her passion. She loves living in Kanab and has found a steady boyfriend here as well.

#54. Started with an awesome hike, time with the pups, some great Georgetown cupcakes (thank you Cathrina), calls and texts from loved ones and friends, and a story of how small a world it truly is....and how connections can change a life!

Ain't a bad start, even if I did have to age a bit more in the process...

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